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We expand what (and how and who) we serve

“Next year will bring more problems, and with those problems a desire by news consumers for more solutions.”

This year we saw media companies help you register to vote; tell you how to stop climate change; vet charitable organizations for you after Hurricane Florence and the California fires; and connect readers with information about rental homes in Detroit.

Next year will bring more problems, and with those problems a desire by news consumers for more solutions. I predict that this audience demand, together with changes we are already seeing in journalism as it is taught and practiced, and the need of media companies to engage new audiences will extend service journalism to new verticals in 2019.

Product thinking becomes fully integrated

Embedding product thinking into newsrooms—that is, looking at journalism as a product that can solve problems for consumers—has already laid the groundwork for new topics and types of service journalism. Questions like “what problem are we trying to solve?” “for who?” and “what is the best way to do that?” are increasingly common at the start of newsroom projects. This approach will broaden the use of service journalism to more verticals and outlets as service oriented solutions will be considered earlier in editorial development.

Community journalism goes mainstream

Audience, social and community editors increasingly work with, report on, and solve problems for communities through their journalism. As these individuals rise in newsroom hierarchy, service journalism will gain prominence. Many academic programs and courses teach community journalism, which means there is both a top-down and bottom-up push for this methodology. This mainstreaming of community journalism helps ensure the questions and needs of audiences are front and center—a necessary element for service journalism to broaden to more topics.

The need and desire for audience diversity

A study from the BBC found that “64 percent of under 35s want news to provide solutions to problems.” Other studies have found that women can benefit from a positive framing of the news. Underserved audiences, in combination with a need and desire by various outlets to diversify their audience, will accelerate the use of different approaches to journalism and reporting. And (you guessed it!) service journalism is likely to be one of the formats used to appeal to these audiences and build trust.

Neither service journalism nor journalism as a service is a new idea. But in the coming year, service journalism will move beyond product recommendations and smarter living. In 2019, we’ll see service journalism improve social services, create additional civic engagement, and change business practices. We may even see publications offer toolkits on running for political office or a how to guide for fixing capitalism.

Alyssa Zeisler is the audience managing editor at Barron’s.

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Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

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Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

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Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

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Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

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Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

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Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

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Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

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

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

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Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

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Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

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Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

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Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

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John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

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Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

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

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

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

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

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

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

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

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Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

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

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

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Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

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Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

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John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

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Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

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

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

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Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

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

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John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

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Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

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

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Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

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

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

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Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

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Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

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Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

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

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

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

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

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

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

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

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

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

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio