2
0
1
9

Reporters go on the offensive

“‘Engagement specialist’ will really just be ‘reporter,’ and those journalists declining to engage in these new ways will find their networks limited to other reporters like them.”

As journalism continues to be attacked and “fake news” continues to proliferate in 2019, reporters will aggressively develop audiences using different and more niche kinds of social platforms. Journalists will turn away from Twitter and Facebook, where increasing numbers of bots and excessive vitriol dominate exchanges, and implement citizen relationships in more closed forums. This will have the effect of further polarizing people unless journalists make conscious efforts to prioritize inclusivity in their bid for survival.

Present-day interactions on Facebook and Twitter have made many journalists more distrustful and wary of individual citizens and even more insular in their networks, according to some current research we are doing with Knight Foundation. This rejection combines with the growing public disenchantment with Facebook after revelations of privacy violations. On a pragmatic level, I see platforms like Snapchat (currently making a bid for news organizations’ attention) and Instagram as having a window of opportunity to become the new Facebook and Twitter in terms of dominant market share around news consumption.

In addition, journalists will turn to more private interactions with opted-in participants, on channels such as email newsletters or private group platforms such as Slack and WhatsApp. The result of this shift will give more power to companies like Hearken, which will become the new midwives for the industry. These consultants will usher in newsroom revolutions in norms and routines demanded by failing revenue models and constant threats both rhetorical and physical. (I foresee more violence against reporters in 2019, but that’s fodder for another prediction — a much more depressing one.) This must be the new strategy in the face of persistent attempts to destroy the relationship between the press and its constituents. In other words, reporters need to go on the offensive in 2019.

On a more meta level, these shifts require new conceptualizing around what “audience” is — again. Of course, this work is being done already by those calling themselves “engagement specialists” (who have been around now for nearly a decade), but my research has found a huge chasm remains in the conceptualizations of audience work between these engagement specialists and mainstream, traditional journalists. I predict that this thinking will become the norm for the profession, mandated by more and more publishers and editors.

It will have to be. With this turn must come a more ubiquitous mindset about individual-focused audience interaction among all journalists. “Engagement specialist” will really just be “reporter,” and those journalists declining to engage in these new ways will find their networks limited to other reporters like them, with less and less influence to set our deliberative agendas. The warning here, though, is that in this niche-oriented reconfiguration, journalists must remember to emphasize bridging of difference and act as democratic ambassadors, setting up discursive forums that aim to amplify all voices and not merely those who have the confidence and networks, time and know-how to participate.

Sue Robinson is Helen Firstbrook Franklin Professor of Journalism at the University of Wisconsin.

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

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

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

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

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

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

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

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

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

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

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

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

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

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

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

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

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

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

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

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

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

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

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

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

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

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

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

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

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

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

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

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

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

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

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

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

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

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

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

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

Hearken   Pivot to people

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

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

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

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

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

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

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

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

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

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

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

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

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

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

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

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

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

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

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

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

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

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

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

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

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

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

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

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

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

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

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

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

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

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

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

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

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

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

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

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

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

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

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

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

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

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

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