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A more sincere definition of “community”

“Far too many media companies are pivoting to ‘community’ — creating chatty email newsletters, opening Slack channels or ‘members-only’ webinars, and offering free t-shirts or tote bags. These are more branding than community; the value proposition is weak.”

In this environment, the challenge is on publishers to deliver more than (simply) terrific individual stories — to escape what Harvard Business School professor Bharat Anand has called “the content trap” — by identifying and strengthening connections with and between users/readers.

The issue I see is that far too many media companies, lured by hopes of a steady, reliable revenue source from subscriptions, are pivoting to “community” — creating chatty email newsletters, opening Slack channels or “members-only” webinars, and offering free t-shirts or tote bags. These are more branding than community; the value proposition is weak.

In 2019, I think we’ll see successful media companies get much more reflective about why their audiences read them (or why they don’t). What do these many, varied, and highly intimate interactions (clicks) say about the hopes, dreams, and fears of the human beings behind them? How can these insights drive deeper, stronger connections?

It should be that better insights lead to a broader, richer array of options for consumers. The New York Times has done this with Cooking and Running — two examples from my own media diet that enrich my life, make it easier, more joyful. That’s connection.

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

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

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

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

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

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

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

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

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

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

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

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

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

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

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

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

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

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

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

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

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

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

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

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

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

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

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

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

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

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

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

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

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

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

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

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

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

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

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

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

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

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

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

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

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

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

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

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

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

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

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

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

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

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

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

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

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

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

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

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

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

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

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

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

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

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

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

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

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

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

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

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

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

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

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

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

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

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

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

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Hearken   Pivot to people

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

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

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

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

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

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

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

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

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

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia