2
0
1
9

The year of the loyal reader

“For years, we’ve seen news websites chasing bigger and bigger traffic gains. But the truth is driveby traffic is basically worthless.”

2019 will be the year of the loyal reader.

For years, we’ve seen news websites chasing bigger and bigger traffic gains. But the truth is driveby traffic is basically worthless. It’s time for newsrooms to focus on the shift from just pure growth to focusing on retention — or answering the question: How do we get our audience to keep coming back for more?

It’s great to get big traffic spikes (who doesn’t love to see their story on the front page of Reddit or the top of Drudge?) and see big pageview numbers. But in 2019, newsrooms have to grab the reader and keep the reader. That loyalty is earned, which means news orgs need to put time, commitment and resources (ahem, staffing) into this strategy.

At the end of the day, bigger may not actually be better when it comes to an engaged audience. Instead of chasing pageview goals this year, I’d love to see more teams focusing on how to increase time on site or pages per visit. I’d love to see more newsrooms talking about how they deliberately plan to move a user from a mobile app to a podcast to a newsletter and back to the mobile site all in the same day or week.

Declining social traffic for everyone, plus the shift to more organic/direct traffic, means loyalty and retention are increasing in priority for publishers. This could mean embracing a paid audience through subscription or membership programs. But it could also mean focusing on habit-forming products like podcasts and newsletters.

Either way, successful news publishers in 2019 and beyond are the ones who aren’t just looking to grow their audience by driving traffic, they’re looking to build an audience and cultivate a real relationship with them. For many of us, this will mean true engagement between audience, journalists, and the journalism.

Emma Carew Grovum is a product manager at The Daily Beast.

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Simon Galperin   After capitalism’s fire, journalism’s secondary succession

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Adam B. Ellick   Video forensic reporting goes mainstream — and local

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Robin Kwong   Tech shouldn’t be the only field pollinating “news nerds”

Tyler Fisher   This is journalism’s do-or-die moment

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Efrat Nechushtai   Journalism wants to be your friend, not your teacher

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Jesse Holcomb   We’ll get better at making the case for local journalism

Whitney Phillips   Our information systems aren’t broken — they’re working as intended

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   The most beautiful sentence in 2019 is “No.”

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Carrie Brown-Smith   Advocating a healthy civic life is no journalistic crime

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Amy Schmitz Weiss   Local news isn’t where you thought it was

Kjerstin Thorson   Time to get mad about information inequality (again)

Cindy Royal   For journalism curriculum to change, its faculty needs disruption

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Axie Navas   The traffic hunt, CMS battle, and magazine identity crises loom

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Tshepo Tshabalala   Ahead of African elections, unlock partnerships with fact-checkers

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Mike Isaac   The old exit doors for digital media companies are closing

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Manoush Zomorodi   Tech will do for information overload what it did for mindfulness

Angilee Shah   The year news orgs say “yes” to real leaders

Heather Chaplin   Agree we’re partisan — for the democratic system

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Millie Tran   There is no magic — you’ve got this

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau   A more sincere definition of “community”

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Zainab Khan   Publishers whose products can stand up to social media giants will win

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   A long, slow slog, with no one coming to the rescue

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Glyn Mottershead and Martin Chorley   When a tech company pulls the plug on your story

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Matt Karolian   Publishers come to terms with being Facebook’s enablers

Steve Myers   From trying to cover it all to covering what matters

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Hossein Derakhshan   The news is dying, but journalism will not — and should not

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Elisabeth Goodridge   Yes, they signed up — but our job’s not over

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

An Xiao Mina   The death of consensus, not the death of truth

Alyssa Zeisler   We expand what (and how and who) we serve

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Jonathan Stray   More algorithmic accountability reporting, and a lot of it will be meh

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Hearken   Pivot to people

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

james Wahutu   Think 2018 was bad? Wait until you see 2019

Amy King   We should listen to the kids (especially on Instagram)

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Stephanie Edgerly   It’s time to understand the un-audience

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Jenée Desmond-Harris   It finally sinks in that some people aren’t white

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Sarah Stonbely   Mapping the local news ecosystem — with scale but detail

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Jennifer Dargan   You don’t build diversity through one-off training sessions

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Claire Wardle   Forget deepfakes: Misinformation is showing up in our most personal online spaces

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Frank Chimero   Leave the phone at home and put news on your wrist

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Alexandra Borchardt   Newsrooms need to build trust with their journalists, not just the audience

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Pia Frey   You can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis

Matt Waite   “I went to Node.js because I wished to live deliberately”

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Seth C. Lewis   The gap between journalism and research is too wide

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Raney Aronson-Rath   We learn “digital” doesn’t have to mean “short”

Rebecca Lee Sanchez   We are all actors in the running rampant of political theater

Cristi Hegranes   A year to invest in the security of local journalists

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Tushar Banerjee   Interactive ads will be the new face of display advertising

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Umbreen Bhatti   The story doesn’t end for the people we quote

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Frank Mungeam   Tonight at 11: News, sports, and climate change

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Mike Rispoli and Craig Aaron   Government funds local news — and that’s a good thing

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action