2
0
1
9

There is no magic — you’ve got this

“It was and always will be about serving your readers and now viewers, listeners, users and continuing to do so by adapting journalism fundamentals to ever-evolving contexts and challenges.”

The Pareto principle, which is also known as the 80-20 rule, states that 80 percent of your outcomes come from 20 percent of your inputs. It’s named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto, who helped develop the field of microeconomics. He observed that 80 percent of land in Italy was owned by about 20 percent of the population. Another example can be how 80 percent of a company’s revenue is generated by 20 percent of its customers.

But the numbers aren’t important here: It’s about the vital few and how a small number of things you do account for the majority of the outcomes.

“Personal wellness is 80 percent behavior and 20 percent knowledge,” Rebecca Shern writes. “And here’s the secret: we already have the necessary information. Stop searching.” As someone who goes down productivity rabbit holes, I found this statement life-changing. It’s not only about seeking more knowledge, but improving our daily choices.

You could replace personal wellness with doing good journalism. We know the best practices and what the tools are. It’s about the day-to-day doing, the actions and behaviors driven by your values that become good habits that become the foundations of a sustainable business.

I started my career launching a membership model, then moved to podcasts, newsletters, and apps, with some other stops in between. That was almost a decade ago now — and if you’ve been in this longer, time can feel like a flat circle. Homepages are back again after being dead, and back again after another death. Things change, but slower than you think, and mostly cyclically.  

“True innovation isn’t just some magic carnival of invention, like a Steve Jobs keynote with a pretty toy at the end. It is a continuing process of gradual improvement and assessment that every institution and business experiences in some way,” writes David Sax in The New York Times. “Often that actually means adopting ideas and tools that already exist but make sense in a new context, or even returning to methods that worked in the past.”

It was never about putting all your eggs into one platform basket, or chasing every new thing. It was and always will be about serving your readers and now viewers, listeners, users and continuing to do so by adapting journalism fundamentals to ever-evolving contexts and challenges. That means also adapting how you reach them, whether that’s through search, social, an email, app, or ideally directly, and in whatever the best format may be. And finally, that also means constantly experimenting and diversifying your revenue streams to adapt to ever-changing market conditions.

Next year will be the year of going back to basics. Play the long game. There is no magic, only work.

Millie Tran is global growth editor at The New York Times.

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

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

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

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

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

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

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

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

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

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

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

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

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

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

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

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

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

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

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

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

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

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

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

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

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

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

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

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

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

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

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

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

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

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

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

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

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

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

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

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

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

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

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

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

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

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

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Hearken   Pivot to people

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

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

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

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

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

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

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

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

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

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

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

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

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

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

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

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

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

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

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

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

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

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

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

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

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

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

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

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

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

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

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

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

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

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

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

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

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

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

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

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

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

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

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