20200
P
1
20100
R  E
2
2070
D   I   C
3
2050
T   I   O   N
4
2040
S   F   O   R   J
5
2030
O  U  R  N  A  L
6
2020
I  S  M  2  0  2  0
7

Are platforms a bridge or a lifeline?

“You can’t throw a stone without hitting a newsroom that has received money from or gone through some training or boot camp hosted by Facebook or Google.”

Publishers face a challenging transition. As news organizations scramble to diversify their revenue streams beyond advertising, it may just be that the tech platforms that got publishers into this mess are still the ones they need to get out of it.

Two things have happened in parallel over the past year:

  • Ad revenue, on owned-and-operated sites and on platforms like Facebook, continued to decline for many publishers. Many have turned toward reader revenue.
  • Google and Facebook have ramped up support for journalism, allocating $600 million since last year, and have rolled out new products and initiatives to facilitate reader revenue.

Now, as news organizations map their paths to sustainability, support from Google and Facebook is often bridging gaps. You can’t throw a stone without hitting a newsroom that has received money from or gone through some training or boot camp hosted by Facebook or Google. And, in the case of Google, the company has taken the platform–publisher relationship into uncharted territory, giving McClatchy funding to start a new newsroom in Youngstown, Ohio, where the local daily paper closed this year.

As the Tow Center warned in its third report on the relationship between platforms and publishers last month, platforms’ journalism initiatives to foster sustainability also serve to expand platforms’ power over the news industry. As the Google News Initiative’s website puts it: “Gone are the days when news organizations — or tech companies — can ‘go it alone.'” It includes this quote from Google CEO Sundar Pichai: “Put simply, our futures are tied together.”

What does it mean when tech platforms are not just a boost or a bridge, but a lifeline? When they decide which newsrooms survive or get created, like in Youngstown? These are the questions that the news industry will increasingly grapple with in 2020.

Nushin Rashidian is co-founder of Cannabis Wire and a researcher at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism.

Publishers face a challenging transition. As news organizations scramble to diversify their revenue streams beyond advertising, it may just be that the tech platforms that got publishers into this mess are still the ones they need to get out of it.

Two things have happened in parallel over the past year:

  • Ad revenue, on owned-and-operated sites and on platforms like Facebook, continued to decline for many publishers. Many have turned toward reader revenue.
  • Google and Facebook have ramped up support for journalism, allocating $600 million since last year, and have rolled out new products and initiatives to facilitate reader revenue.

Now, as news organizations map their paths to sustainability, support from Google and Facebook is often bridging gaps. You can’t throw a stone without hitting a newsroom that has received money from or gone through some training or boot camp hosted by Facebook or Google. And, in the case of Google, the company has taken the platform–publisher relationship into uncharted territory, giving McClatchy funding to start a new newsroom in Youngstown, Ohio, where the local daily paper closed this year.

As the Tow Center warned in its third report on the relationship between platforms and publishers last month, platforms’ journalism initiatives to foster sustainability also serve to expand platforms’ power over the news industry. As the Google News Initiative’s website puts it: “Gone are the days when news organizations — or tech companies — can ‘go it alone.'” It includes this quote from Google CEO Sundar Pichai: “Put simply, our futures are tied together.”

What does it mean when tech platforms are not just a boost or a bridge, but a lifeline? When they decide which newsrooms survive or get created, like in Youngstown? These are the questions that the news industry will increasingly grapple with in 2020.

Nushin Rashidian is co-founder of Cannabis Wire and a researcher at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism.

Pablo Boczkowski   The day after November 4

Michael W. Wagner   Increasingly fractured, but little bit deliberative

Geneva Overholser   Death to bothsidesism

Peter Bale   Lies get further normalized

L. Gordon Crovitz   Fighting misinformation requires journalism, not secret algorithms

Monica Drake   A renewed focus on misinformation

Carrie Brown-Smith   Engaged journalism: It’s finally happening

Dannagal G. Young   Let’s disrupt the logic that’s driving Americans apart

Lucas Graves   A smarter conversation about how (and why) fact-checking matters

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting gets listener relationship management

Sarah Marshall   The year to learn about news moments

Rick Berke   Incoming fire from both left and right

Logan Jaffe   You don’t need fancy tools to listen

Jakob Moll   A slow-moving tech backlash among young people

Zizi Papacharissi   A president leads, the press follows, reality fades

Sarah Alvarez   I’m ready for post-news

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting finally creates another mega-hit show

Candis Callison   Taking a cue from Indigenous journalists on climate change

Heather Bryant   Some kinds of journalism aren’t worth saving

Millie Tran   Wicked

Heidi Tworek   The year of positive pushback

Bill Grueskin   Our ethics codes get an overhaul

Sara K. Baranowski   A big year for little newspapers

Elizabeth Dunbar   Frank talk, and then action

A.J. Bauer   A fork in the road for conservative media

M. Scott Havens   First-party data becomes media’s most important currency

Moreno Cruz Osório   In Brazil, collaboration in a time of state attacks

Lauren Duca   The rise of the journalistic influencer

An Xiao Mina   The Forum we wanted, the forum we got

Seth C. Lewis   20 questions for 2020

Joanne McNeil   A return to blogs (finally? sort of?)

Helen Havlak   Platforms shine a light on original reporting

Nathalie Malinarich   Betting on loyalty

Matthew Pressman   News consumers divide into haves and have-nots

Kathleen Searles   Pay more attention to attention

Kristen Muller   The year we operationalize community engagement

S. Mitra Kalita   The race to 2021

Richard J. Tofel   A constraint of the reader-revenue model emerges

Josh Schwartz   Publishers move beyond the metered paywall

Meredith Artley   Stronger solidarity among news organizations

Felix Salmon   Spotify launches a news channel

Beena Raghavendran   The year of the local engagement reporter

Tom Glaisyer   Journalism can emerge newly vibrant and powerful

Talia Stroud   The work of reconnecting starts November 4

Mario García   Think small (screen)

Stefanie Murray   Charitable giving goes collaborative

Catalina Albeanu   Rebuilding journalism, together

Errin Haines   Race and gender aren’t a 2020 story — they’re the story

Alice Antheaume   Trade “politics” for “power”

Steve Henn   The dawning audio web

Monique Judge   The year to organize, unionize, and fight

Imaeyen Ibanga   Let’s take it slow

Julia B. Chan   We 👏 take 👏 breaks 👏

Raney Aronson-Rath   News deserts will proliferate — but so will new solutions

John Garrett   It’s the best time in a century to start a local news organization

Ståle Grut   OSINT journalism goes mainstream

Tamar Charney   From broadcast to bespoke

Bill Adair   A Nobel Prize, a Brad Pitt film, and a Taylor Swift song

Carl Bialik   Journalists will try running the whole shop

Sonali Prasad   Climate change storytelling gets multidimensional

Jeff Kofman   Speed through technology

Mira Lowe   The year of student-powered journalism

Jeremy Olshan   All journalism should be service journalism

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   The business we want, not the business we had

Whitney Phillips   A time to question core beliefs

Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young   The promise of nonprofit journalism

Fiona Spruill   The climate crisis gets the coverage it deserves

Laura E. Davis   Know the context your journalism is operating within

Barbara Gray   Join local libraries on the frontlines of civic engagement

Linda Solomon Wood   Everyone in your organization, moving toward a common goal

Mariana Moura Santos   The future of journalism is collaborative

Nikki Usher   All systems down

Anthony Nadler   Clash of Clans: Election Edition

Jonas Kaiser   Russian bots are just today’s slacktivists

Tonya Mosley   The neutrality vs. objectivity game ends

Sarah Stonbely   More people start caring about news inequality

Rachel Schallom   The value of push alerts goes beyond open rates

Joshua Darr   All that campaign cash will make the media’s problems worse

Christa Scharfenberg   It’s time to make journalism a field that supports and respects women

Rachel Glickhouse   Journalists get left behind in the industry’s decline

Jeremy Gilbert and Jarrod Dicker   A call for collaboration between storytelling and tech

Francesco Zaffarano   TikTok without generational prejudice

Margarita Noriega   The platforms try to figure out what to do with single-subject newsrooms

Ben Werdmuller   Use the tools of journalism to save it

Alexandra Borchardt   Get out of the office and talk to people

Knight Foundation   Five generations of journalists, learning from each other

Meg Marco   Everything happens somewhere

John Keefe   Journalism gets hacked

Nicholas Jackson   What’s left of local gets comfortable with reader support

Jennifer Brandel   A love letter from the year 2073

Colleen Shalby   Journalists become media literacy teachers

Matt DeRienzo   Local broadcasters begin to fill the gaps left by newspapers

Alana Levinson   Brand-backed media gets another look

Don Day   Respect the non-paying audience

Brenda P. Salinas   Treating MP3 files like text

Cindy Royal   Prepare media students for skills, not job titles

Nico Gendron   Make better products if you want to reach Gen Z

Simon Galperin   Journalism becomes more democratic

Rachel Davis Mersey   The business of local TV news will enter its downward slide

Mary Walter-Brown and Tristan Loper   Power to the people (on your audience team)

Madelyn Sanfilippo and Yafit Lev-Aretz   News coverage gets geo-fragmented

Mike Caulfield   Native verification tools for the blue checkmark crowd

Logan Molyneux and Shannon McGregor   Think twice before turning to Twitter

Greg Emerson   News apps fall further behind

Cory Haik   We’re already consuming the future of news — now we have to produce it

Dan Shanoff   Sports media enters the Bronny era

Emily Withrow   The year we kill the news article

james Wahutu   Western journalists, learn from your African peers

Craig Newmark   Formalizing newsrooms’ battle against disinformation

Tanya Cordrey   Saying no to more good ideas

Brian Moritz   The end of “stick to sports”

Annie Rudd   The expanded ambiguity of the news photograph

Sarah Schmalbach   Journalist, quantify thyself

Hossein Derakhshan   AI can’t conjure up an Errol Morris

Cristina Kim   Public media stops trying to serve “everybody”

Joni Deutsch   Podcasting unsilences the silent

Kevin Douglas Grant   The free press stands against authoritarians’ attacks on truth

Doris Truong   The year of radical salary transparency

Joe Amditis   Collaborative journalism takes its rightful place at the table

Kourtney Bitterly   Transparency isn’t just a desire, it’s an expectation

Ernie Smith   The death of the industry fad

Victor Pickard   We reclaim a public good

Jim Brady   We’ll complain about other people living in bubbles while ignoring our own

Marie Gilot   This is fine

Jasmine McNealy   A call for context

Nushin Rashidian   Are platforms a bridge or a lifeline?

Elizabeth Hansen and Jesse Holcomb   Local news initiatives run into a capital shortage

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   A changing industry amps up podcasters’ ambitions

Adam Thomas   The silver bullet

Kerri Hoffman   Opening closed systems

Sue Robinson   Campaign coverage as test bed for engagement experiments

Masuma Ahuja   Slower, quieter, more measured and thoughtful

Irving Washington   Leadership isn’t something you learn on the job