2
0
1
9

Smart speakers get smarter

“There might be a dozen great new shows hidden inside your Google Home or lurking in Alexa’s brain — but if you don’t know how to ask a smart speaker for them, by name, you may never find them.”

For almost 100 years, news on the radio has been the constant companion of billions when their eyes and hands are busy and their minds are curious. 2019 will be the year radio — at least on smart speakers — begins to change in profound ways. Soon, we’ll be able to ask our smart speakers questions and have them answered not in a robot’s voice, but by connecting us with beautifully told stories. Broadcasts will begin on our schedule, when we’re ready to listen. They’ll speak to our unique interests and answer our questions. 2019 will be the year when Google and news partners all over the world will create a new interactive “radio.” Together, we’re building a new format that can listen to questions and connect listeners with answers.

For decades, starting a radio show was hard — there were gatekeepers and new shows were expensive to launch. Today those barriers to entry have collapsed, and newsrooms around the world are reaching new audiences and giving their work a powerful new voice.

The number of great audio journalism programs is exploding, and the line between newspapers and broadcasters is blurring. In less than two years, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vox, Axios, Gannett, and The Guardian have all launched new daily news podcasts. NPR, ABC, and the CBC have expanded their digital-first work as well.

While podcasting has created a wealth of new programs, radio journalism is not dead. It’s thriving. And smart speakers still face some big challenges. There might be a dozen great new shows hidden inside your Google Home or lurking in Alexa’s brain — but if you don’t know how to ask a smart speaker for them, by name, you may never find them.

Unlike conventional radios, smart speakers don’t have dials you can flip through to find something new. There is no “Discover Weekly” for news or podcasts. Spotify’s suggested playlists don’t really exist this world…yet. In 2019, the Google News Initiative is funding 40 smart-speaker projects in 10 languages with publishers and broadcasters from 19 countries. And we’re prototyping a new way to listen to the news on smart speakers and using artificial intelligence to make the experience better every time you tune in.

We believe that together, we can build a new kind of experience will allow listeners to explore the expanding world of audio journalism — and help publishers and broadcasters discover new devoted fans.

Steve Henn is news content lead for Google Assistant.

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

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

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

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

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

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

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

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

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

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

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

Hearken   Pivot to people

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

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

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

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

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

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

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

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

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

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

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

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

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

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

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

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

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

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

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

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

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

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

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

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

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

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

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

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

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

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

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

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

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

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

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

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

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

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

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

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

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

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

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

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

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

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

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

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

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

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

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

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

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

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

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

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

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

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

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

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

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

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

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

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

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

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

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

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

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

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

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

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

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

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

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

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

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

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits