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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.

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Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

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

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

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

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

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

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

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

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

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

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

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

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

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

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

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

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

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

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

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

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

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

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

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

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

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

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

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

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

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

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

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

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

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

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Hearken   Pivot to people

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

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

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

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

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

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

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

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

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

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

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

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

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

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

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

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

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

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

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

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

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

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

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

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

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

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

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

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

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

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

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

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

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

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

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

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

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

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

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

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

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

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

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

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

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

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

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

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

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

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