2
0
1
9

The year of the climate reporter

“The journalists who take up the work of climate change reporting in 2019 will include newly trained reporters as well as many industry veterans who are tired of burying references to climate change somewhere in the footnotes of the latest weather or disaster report.”

If 2018 was the year in which government inaction turned back the clock on climate change prevention, 2019 will be the year of the climate reporter.

Climate change can feel either distant or close. When I moved from the heart of Manhattan to the wilds of the West Coast, climate change ceased to be an abstract political issue. It became something I witnessed every day: on walks through forests full of browning ferns, in dwindling waterfalls, and in the changing season of the salmon run. More recently, it’s turned up in the way my chest feels after breathing in the daily smoke of wildfire season, or waking up to find my kitchen counters covered in ash.

As journalists, it’s our job to give readers that sense of proximity no matter where they are, and in the coming year, more and more journalists will take on that job. Reporters who cover fires, floods, drought, and heat waves will increasingly emphasize the role of climate change in these catastrophic events, and transform themselves into the front line of climate change reporting. Publications whose advertisers or traditions limit their ability to name climate change as a key factor in an ever-growing number of “natural” disasters will be outpaced by independent outlets and reader-funded publications that produce public service reporting on climate. The most exciting outlets will tell stories that shine a light on energy innovations, on brave politicians shifting their economies away from fossil fuels, on low-carbon buildings and sun-powered cities.

But don’t think the job is going to be easy: Reporting on both immediate losses and long-term dangers will challenge climate journalists both emotionally and intellectually. Journalists investigating government and business corruption on climate issues may find themselves doxxed and demonized by well-hidden corporate interests they’re reporting on. To sustain themselves in the face of these obstacles, climate change journalists will need the full support of committed editors, as well as audience engagement and feedback.

As the impacts of climate change become more tangible and immediate, expect more journalists to enter the field. Journalism schools will need to complement training in investigative reporting tools with specific training in climate coverage. We’ll need reporters who know how to file freedom of information requests, read and grasp the nuances of corporate reports, check official numbers on carbon pollution, and compare public corporate spin with shareholder reports. These climate reporters will need to read widely, keep current with science and track the politics of climate policy. Above all else, they will need to write well so that they can make complex facts accessible to a popular audience.

The journalists who take up the work of climate change reporting in 2019 will include newly trained reporters as well as many industry veterans who are tired of burying references to climate change somewhere in the footnotes of the latest weather or disaster report. At the very least, these reporters will create a public record of the business interests and government failures that have brought the world to the brink of climate disaster.

But I hope for more. I hope for an explosion in climate change reporting that drives public awareness and encourages people to demand systemic change. I hope for climate change reporting that helps citizens see the connection between government inaction and the disasters that are now plaguing our coasts, and increasingly, our inland areas too. I hope for reporting that brings climate change so close that nobody can avert their eyes.

Linda Solomon Wood is founder and editor-in-chief of Canada’s National Observer.

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

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

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

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

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

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

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

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

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

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

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

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

Hearken   Pivot to people

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

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

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

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

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

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

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

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

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

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

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

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

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

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

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

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

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

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

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

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

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

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

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

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

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

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

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

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

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

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

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

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

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

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

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

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

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

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

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

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

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

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

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

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

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

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

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

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

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

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

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

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

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

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

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

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

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

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

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

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

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

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

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

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

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

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

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

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

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

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

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

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

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

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Greg Emerson   Power to the user