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

Everyone in your organization, moving toward a common goal

“We hire journalists specifically because they resist moving in the same direction. We hire them for their independence and their fiercely critical minds.”

Change is hard — we all know that. And in our industry, change is coming at us at a brutal pace, full of opportunity and peril. So as I look forward to the coming year, it seems to me that managing change will be the key challenge.

In the insanely fast-paced news industry, the demands of producing daily journalism are relentless, so finding the time to bring people together for the purposes of communicating about and planning for change is often the first thing to fall through the cracks. That has to change!

In 2020, staff retreats for visioning, strategy, and team-building will be an important driver of success. Finding money in the budget to bring teams together will deliver big returns. And saving money by not making them happen will be no kind of savings at all. It’s going to be more important than ever for people in different roles, like business and editorial, to really understand what each other are up to and work together to achieve goals. This requires walking in the other’s shoes.

For instance, it would be good if a web developer spent time tailing a journalist to see what a day in that kind of life looks like. It would be a great, if sobering, learning experience for a journalist to spend a day doing the subscription manager’s job, to see what it’s like trying to leverage journalism into revenue. He or she might just emerge from that experience muttering about getting blood from a stone. It would be fantastic for everyone on the team to spend a day as the editor-in-chief or CEO. And how great would it be for the CEO to be reminded what it’s like to try to turn around a beautifully written, well-reported piece, by going out on deadline and covering a story again?

Let’s face it: We could all use more insight about each other as we confront challenges and change. If we’re going to create a sustainable, healthy future for journalism, one that allows us to do high-quality, factual investigative reporting that truly serves our audiences, everyone on the team will need to genuinely understand everything that goes into making that possible. We will need to know, really know, what we are collectively facing. Moreover, with all the real obstacles we’ll need to navigate in 2020 (and we don’t even know what they are yet), our industry needs collective strength, more collaboration, and solidarity.

This past year, our management team at the National Observer has undergone a seismic shift. We went from being an organization that made decisions in an old-fashioned, beat-reporter kind of way to becoming an organization that tests and experiments and tries a lot of new things — an organization that’s data-driven. And yes, feathers have been ruffled along the way, and they will be again next year.

Getting everyone on our teams moving in the same direction is going to be a key challenge of 2020, and I doubt it will ever feel easy. We hire journalists specifically because they resist moving in the same direction. We hire them for their independence and their fiercely critical minds. We hire them for their ability to accurately and compellingly bear witness to the truth and, yes, for their ability to effectively question authority. We have to expect that they will respond to suggestions of new ways of doing things internally with the same skepticism and rigor they’d apply to reviewing a government report.

But getting on the same page will be the difference between sinking or swimming. I know that’s the case for our company, and I have a pretty good feeling it’ll hold true for the rest of the news industry. The internet is a very big place; there is more than enough room for lots of news organizations to succeed. We certainly plan to, and we welcome company. But in 2020, those of us who aren’t able to pull together to convince audiences to pay for our journalism will fall behind or go out of business. That will require a willingness to be responsive and to embrace change. Those of us who can do this will punch far above our weight. And even in this ever-changing industry, we’ll be around for years to come.

Linda Solomon Wood is the editor-in-chief of the National Observer in Canada.

Change is hard — we all know that. And in our industry, change is coming at us at a brutal pace, full of opportunity and peril. So as I look forward to the coming year, it seems to me that managing change will be the key challenge.

In the insanely fast-paced news industry, the demands of producing daily journalism are relentless, so finding the time to bring people together for the purposes of communicating about and planning for change is often the first thing to fall through the cracks. That has to change!

In 2020, staff retreats for visioning, strategy, and team-building will be an important driver of success. Finding money in the budget to bring teams together will deliver big returns. And saving money by not making them happen will be no kind of savings at all. It’s going to be more important than ever for people in different roles, like business and editorial, to really understand what each other are up to and work together to achieve goals. This requires walking in the other’s shoes.

For instance, it would be good if a web developer spent time tailing a journalist to see what a day in that kind of life looks like. It would be a great, if sobering, learning experience for a journalist to spend a day doing the subscription manager’s job, to see what it’s like trying to leverage journalism into revenue. He or she might just emerge from that experience muttering about getting blood from a stone. It would be fantastic for everyone on the team to spend a day as the editor-in-chief or CEO. And how great would it be for the CEO to be reminded what it’s like to try to turn around a beautifully written, well-reported piece, by going out on deadline and covering a story again?

Let’s face it: We could all use more insight about each other as we confront challenges and change. If we’re going to create a sustainable, healthy future for journalism, one that allows us to do high-quality, factual investigative reporting that truly serves our audiences, everyone on the team will need to genuinely understand everything that goes into making that possible. We will need to know, really know, what we are collectively facing. Moreover, with all the real obstacles we’ll need to navigate in 2020 (and we don’t even know what they are yet), our industry needs collective strength, more collaboration, and solidarity.

This past year, our management team at the National Observer has undergone a seismic shift. We went from being an organization that made decisions in an old-fashioned, beat-reporter kind of way to becoming an organization that tests and experiments and tries a lot of new things — an organization that’s data-driven. And yes, feathers have been ruffled along the way, and they will be again next year.

Getting everyone on our teams moving in the same direction is going to be a key challenge of 2020, and I doubt it will ever feel easy. We hire journalists specifically because they resist moving in the same direction. We hire them for their independence and their fiercely critical minds. We hire them for their ability to accurately and compellingly bear witness to the truth and, yes, for their ability to effectively question authority. We have to expect that they will respond to suggestions of new ways of doing things internally with the same skepticism and rigor they’d apply to reviewing a government report.

But getting on the same page will be the difference between sinking or swimming. I know that’s the case for our company, and I have a pretty good feeling it’ll hold true for the rest of the news industry. The internet is a very big place; there is more than enough room for lots of news organizations to succeed. We certainly plan to, and we welcome company. But in 2020, those of us who aren’t able to pull together to convince audiences to pay for our journalism will fall behind or go out of business. That will require a willingness to be responsive and to embrace change. Those of us who can do this will punch far above our weight. And even in this ever-changing industry, we’ll be around for years to come.

Linda Solomon Wood is the editor-in-chief of the National Observer in Canada.

Don Day   Respect the non-paying audience

Sara K. Baranowski   A big year for little newspapers

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

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

Joe Amditis   Collaborative journalism takes its rightful place at the table

Doris Truong   The year of radical salary transparency

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

Victor Pickard   We reclaim a public good

Simon Galperin   Journalism becomes more democratic

Dan Shanoff   Sports media enters the Bronny era

Matthew Pressman   News consumers divide into haves and have-nots

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting finally creates another mega-hit show

Sarah Stonbely   More people start caring about news inequality

Jonas Kaiser   Russian bots are just today’s slacktivists

Greg Emerson   News apps fall further behind

Brian Moritz   The end of “stick to sports”

Monica Drake   A renewed focus on misinformation

Craig Newmark   Formalizing newsrooms’ battle against disinformation

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

Anthony Nadler   Clash of Clans: Election Edition

Knight Foundation   Five generations of journalists, learning from each other

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

Colleen Shalby   Journalists become media literacy teachers

Francesco Zaffarano   TikTok without generational prejudice

Hossein Derakhshan   AI can’t conjure up an Errol Morris

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

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

Nathalie Malinarich   Betting on loyalty

Heather Bryant   Some kinds of journalism aren’t worth saving

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

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

Josh Schwartz   Publishers move beyond the metered paywall

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

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

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

Pablo Boczkowski   The day after November 4

Meredith Artley   Stronger solidarity among news organizations

Talia Stroud   The work of reconnecting starts November 4

Sarah Alvarez   I’m ready for post-news

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

Mike Caulfield   Native verification tools for the blue checkmark crowd

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

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting gets listener relationship management

Annie Rudd   The expanded ambiguity of the news photograph

Mario García   Think small (screen)

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

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

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

Beena Raghavendran   The year of the local engagement reporter

John Keefe   Journalism gets hacked

Logan Molyneux and Shannon McGregor   Think twice before turning to Twitter

Steve Henn   The dawning audio web

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

Sue Robinson   Campaign coverage as test bed for engagement experiments

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

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

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

Helen Havlak   Platforms shine a light on original reporting

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

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

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

Lauren Duca   The rise of the journalistic influencer

Monique Judge   The year to organize, unionize, and fight

Jakob Moll   A slow-moving tech backlash among young people

Meg Marco   Everything happens somewhere

Carl Bialik   Journalists will try running the whole shop

Sarah Schmalbach   Journalist, quantify thyself

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

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

Barbara Gray   Join local libraries on the frontlines of civic engagement

Mira Lowe   The year of student-powered journalism

Kristen Muller   The year we operationalize community engagement

Cristina Kim   Public media stops trying to serve “everybody”

Kathleen Searles   Pay more attention to attention

Mariana Moura Santos   The future of journalism is collaborative

Michael W. Wagner   Increasingly fractured, but little bit deliberative

S. Mitra Kalita   The race to 2021

Stefanie Murray   Charitable giving goes collaborative

Rick Berke   Incoming fire from both left and right

Tonya Mosley   The neutrality vs. objectivity game ends

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

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

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

Fiona Spruill   The climate crisis gets the coverage it deserves

Catalina Albeanu   Rebuilding journalism, together

Kerri Hoffman   Opening closed systems

Marie Gilot   This is fine

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

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

Tanya Cordrey   Saying no to more good ideas

Jeremy Olshan   All journalism should be service journalism

Ernie Smith   The death of the industry fad

Elizabeth Dunbar   Frank talk, and then action

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

Brenda P. Salinas   Treating MP3 files like text

Peter Bale   Lies get further normalized

Heidi Tworek   The year of positive pushback

Alice Antheaume   Trade “politics” for “power”

Adam Thomas   The silver bullet

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

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

Felix Salmon   Spotify launches a news channel

Sarah Marshall   The year to learn about news moments

Emily Withrow   The year we kill the news article

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

Millie Tran   Wicked

Alana Levinson   Brand-backed media gets another look

Whitney Phillips   A time to question core beliefs

Tom Glaisyer   Journalism can emerge newly vibrant and powerful

Sonali Prasad   Climate change storytelling gets multidimensional

Candis Callison   Taking a cue from Indigenous journalists on climate change

Ståle Grut   OSINT journalism goes mainstream

Seth C. Lewis   20 questions for 2020

Jeff Kofman   Speed through technology

Nikki Usher   All systems down

james Wahutu   Western journalists, learn from your African peers

Jasmine McNealy   A call for context

Ben Werdmuller   Use the tools of journalism to save it

Nushin Rashidian   Are platforms a bridge or a lifeline?

Julia B. Chan   We 👏 take 👏 breaks 👏

Tamar Charney   From broadcast to bespoke

Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young   The promise of nonprofit journalism

Cindy Royal   Prepare media students for skills, not job titles

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

Bill Grueskin   Our ethics codes get an overhaul

Geneva Overholser   Death to bothsidesism

Logan Jaffe   You don’t need fancy tools to listen

Jennifer Brandel   A love letter from the year 2073

Masuma Ahuja   Slower, quieter, more measured and thoughtful

Rachel Schallom   The value of push alerts goes beyond open rates

Alexandra Borchardt   Get out of the office and talk to people

Imaeyen Ibanga   Let’s take it slow

Joni Deutsch   Podcasting unsilences the silent