2
0
1
9

Tonight at 11: News, sports, and climate change

“Local TV meteorologists have the weather expertise, the trust of their local communities, and the visual explanatory skills and graphics tools to tell this story in a way that will have impact.”

I believe 2019 will be the year that reporting on the local impacts of climate change will finally go mainstream, and I expect local TV meteorologists to lead the way in transforming how the story of climate is reported.

On Black Friday, a cohort of federal agencies released the National Climate Assessment. The economic impacts of climate change detailed in the report aren’t vague or far off — they’re widespread and personal, affecting everyone from farmers to skiers to beer-makers. In 2019, journalists will overcome the worry of “taking sides’ and show the courage to tackle this complex story.

But why your local meteorologist? A combination of threats and opportunity combine to make your favorite TV forecaster uniquely positioned to break through the politics of climate and make meaning out of the complexity.

First, the threat. Who needs the local TV mainstay of old — the 7-day forecast — in a digital era where “there’s an app for that”? Absent a redefinition of their role, local TV meteorologists are at risk of the same fate as TV traffic reporters, who can’t compete with the real-time, turn-by-turn personalized traffic solutions from apps like WAZE. As Rob Carlmark, local meteorologist for KXTV in Sacramento puts it: “Every day, I ask myself: ‘How can I be better than an app?'” That’s the right question, and here is where opportunity intersects with need.

Local newspapers long ago ceded weather to their TV brethren. It wasn’t “real news,” and its visual, personality-driven nature was a better natural fit to the medium of television. Fast forward to today: While overall TV news viewing is slowly declining, viewers still flock to local TV whenever a big weather event hits. The top local TV meteorologist is often one of the most recognized and trusted personalities in a community. In addition, many hold meteorological degrees and are certified by the American Meteorological Society. They are capable of far more than just telling you whether or not you’ll need an umbrella today. And they’re often masters of visual explainers. (Have you seen some of the new augmented reality visualizations?)

We’ve reached a point in climate reporting where we don’t need more studies. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. We need impactful, visual, explanatory reporting. We need storytellers who can connect the large and complex story of climate to the local community. Local TV meteorologists have the weather expertise, the trust of their local communities, and the visual explanatory skills and graphics tools to tell this story in a way that will have impact. They also have the audience. The past two years have seen strong tune-in for local weather events like hurricanes, blizzards, flooding, and wildfires. Local TV is at its best covering these highly visual stories that directly affect their communities. Climate news is hitting home, and hitting harder.

There are signs that this shift toward connecting climate change to the story of weather is already underway. Brad Panovich, a local meteorologist at WCNC in Charlotte, was recognized nationally by the AMS. in 2018 for his efforts. There are also resources available. Climate Central works to help local meteorologists to report on the effects of climate change.

This is the year local TV meteorologists reinvent their roles from merely weather predictor (remember, there’s an app for that) and reclaim their relevance by using their expertise, community trust, and visual skills to add meaning and context to the ways climate change is affecting their communities.

Frank Mungeam is Knight Professor of Practice in TV News Innovation at Arizona State’s Cronkite School of Journalism.

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

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

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

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

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

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

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

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

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

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

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

Kevin D. Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

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

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

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

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

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

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

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

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

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

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

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

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

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

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

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

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

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

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

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

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

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

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

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

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

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

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

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

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

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

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

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

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

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

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

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

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

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

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

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

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

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

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Hearken   Pivot to people

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

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

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

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

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

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

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

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

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

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

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

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

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

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

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

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

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

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

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

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

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Errin Haines   Say it with me: Racism

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

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

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

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

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Catalina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

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

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

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

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

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

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

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

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

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times