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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.

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

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

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

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

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

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

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

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Hearken   Pivot to people

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

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

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

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

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

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

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

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

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

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

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

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

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

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

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

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

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

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

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

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

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

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

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

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

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

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

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

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

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

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

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

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

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

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

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

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

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

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

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

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

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

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

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

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

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

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

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

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

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

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

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

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

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

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

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

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

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

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

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

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

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

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

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

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

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

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

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

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

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

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

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

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

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

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

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

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

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler