2
0
1
9

The year of iterative journalism

“Iterative journalism is empathetic journalism: It uses audience interviews, surveys, analysis of comments, and observation to learn what readers care about, not just how many of them there are.”

2019 will be the year of iterative journalism.

Rather than producing stories based solely on the reporter’s assumptions, iterative journalism starts by defining the audience’s information needs, taking into account why a given community engages with news in the first place.

This is human-centered reporting. Iterative journalism begins with people, but it looks beyond just demographic data to understand how individuals feel and what they need when seeking news. Knowing someone’s age, gender, and what article they just read might tell journalists something — but it doesn’t tell them how to approach a story in the way most relevant for members of a certain community.

Traditional approaches to audience engagement and content development lean on descriptive analysis of what happened. After publishing a story, newsrooms gauge the number of readers at different times during the day, as well as their core demographic information and how they navigate their products. This might validate journalists’ assumptions of why a story performed well (or not), but it doesn’t actually tell them why readers seek information and what they do with it. It’s important to be proactive in understanding the needs of our audience.

Iterative journalism is empathetic journalism: It uses audience interviews, surveys, analysis of comments, and observation to learn what readers care about, not just how many of them there are.

Grasping audience needs requires moving beyond traditional engagement data points. The goal is to anticipate the issues that truly matter to a reader and the context in which news can be most useful for the audience. Journalists now have the opportunity not only to interview their sources, but also to integrate their audiences into the journalistic process.

This type of human-centered journalism is not without pitfalls. Applying iterative thinking to journalism is a balancing act. Technology use and real-time audience feedback can help journalists discover which stories connect most with news consumers, but it shouldn’t come at the risk of damaging journalistic integrity, voice, or message. At the end of the day, iterative journalism aims to empower news organizations to align their output with consumers’ needs.

Francesco Marconi is head of R&D at The Wall Street Journal.

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

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

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

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

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

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

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

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

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

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

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

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

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

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

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

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

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

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

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

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

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

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

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

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

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

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

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

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

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

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

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

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

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

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

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

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

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

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

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

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

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Hearken   Pivot to people

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

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

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

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

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

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

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

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

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

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

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

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

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

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

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

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

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

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

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

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

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

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

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

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

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

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

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

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

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

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

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

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

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

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

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

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

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

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

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

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

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

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

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

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

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

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

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

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

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

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions