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

Everything happens somewhere

“The gap between what local and national audiences want to read will continue to shrink, as digital news outlets get better at spelling out the context that allows more readers to connect.”

Prediction: The gap between what local and national audiences want to read will continue to shrink, as digital news outlets get better at spelling out the context that allows more readers to connect.

Readers, regardless of location, want to find themselves in a story. By explaining how a local story fits in larger context (national, global, historical, etc.), we not only help a national audience understand the importance of the material — we do the same thing for the local audience. What a national audience might find astounding, a local audience may be shocked to discover is not business-as-usual for everyone.

Providing this context will almost certainly require extra reporting, but adding this type of information will improve the journalism and fuel impact. And once you have the facts, presenting them to a national readership doesn’t always have to be difficult. In my experience, adding or — more often — removing a few words along with giving a bit of extra thought to digital headlines can be the difference between communication and confusion.

Two examples from 2019 stand out to me, both from ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network. Both investigations were intensely local. One focused on the specific mechanisms by which wealthy Connecticut towns keep their housing — and their populations — segregated. The other was a series of articles about the sexual assault crisis in rural Alaska, a situation compounded by a profound lack of law enforcement resources.

Each of these stories is of primary interest to the residents of those states. But to read these deeply reported stories is to discover the universal themes within them. The challenge for ProPublica was to express those ideas as clearly and elegantly as we could.

With that goal in mind, in partnership with the Anchorage Daily News, we titled Kyle Hopkins’ first piece “The small village where sex offenders outnumber the cops 7 to 1.” No matter where you live and no matter who you are, you understand immediately that such a village should not exist.

The story drew over 2 million views on Apple News alone. Alaska has a population of 737,438. After the piece ran, U.S. Attorney General William Barr traveled to Alaska and declared the law enforcement crisis a public safety emergency.

For the Connecticut Mirror partnership, we chose to title the story “Separated by design: how some of America’s richest towns fight affordable housing.” With this headline we aimed to confirm what most house-hunters already suspect — the local governments of rich towns are actively using their powers to keep prices high — and working-class people out. Connecticut, a state with some of the most severe income inequality in the nation, was not just the focus of the piece but also the best place to tell a bigger story about an issue that affects most Americans.

An abridged (but still very clear) version of this headline (“Separation by Design”) ran on front pages all over Connecticut. The longer version also drew more than 2 million views on Apple News.

Everything happens somewhere. Why it matters, not where it happened is what readers — both local and national — really want to know. It is a newsroom’s job to illuminate the “why.”

Meg Marco is a senior editor at ProPublica.

Prediction: The gap between what local and national audiences want to read will continue to shrink, as digital news outlets get better at spelling out the context that allows more readers to connect.

Readers, regardless of location, want to find themselves in a story. By explaining how a local story fits in larger context (national, global, historical, etc.), we not only help a national audience understand the importance of the material — we do the same thing for the local audience. What a national audience might find astounding, a local audience may be shocked to discover is not business-as-usual for everyone.

Providing this context will almost certainly require extra reporting, but adding this type of information will improve the journalism and fuel impact. And once you have the facts, presenting them to a national readership doesn’t always have to be difficult. In my experience, adding or — more often — removing a few words along with giving a bit of extra thought to digital headlines can be the difference between communication and confusion.

Two examples from 2019 stand out to me, both from ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network. Both investigations were intensely local. One focused on the specific mechanisms by which wealthy Connecticut towns keep their housing — and their populations — segregated. The other was a series of articles about the sexual assault crisis in rural Alaska, a situation compounded by a profound lack of law enforcement resources.

Each of these stories is of primary interest to the residents of those states. But to read these deeply reported stories is to discover the universal themes within them. The challenge for ProPublica was to express those ideas as clearly and elegantly as we could.

With that goal in mind, in partnership with the Anchorage Daily News, we titled Kyle Hopkins’ first piece “The small village where sex offenders outnumber the cops 7 to 1.” No matter where you live and no matter who you are, you understand immediately that such a village should not exist.

The story drew over 2 million views on Apple News alone. Alaska has a population of 737,438. After the piece ran, U.S. Attorney General William Barr traveled to Alaska and declared the law enforcement crisis a public safety emergency.

For the Connecticut Mirror partnership, we chose to title the story “Separated by design: how some of America’s richest towns fight affordable housing.” With this headline we aimed to confirm what most house-hunters already suspect — the local governments of rich towns are actively using their powers to keep prices high — and working-class people out. Connecticut, a state with some of the most severe income inequality in the nation, was not just the focus of the piece but also the best place to tell a bigger story about an issue that affects most Americans.

An abridged (but still very clear) version of this headline (“Separation by Design”) ran on front pages all over Connecticut. The longer version also drew more than 2 million views on Apple News.

Everything happens somewhere. Why it matters, not where it happened is what readers — both local and national — really want to know. It is a newsroom’s job to illuminate the “why.”

Meg Marco is a senior editor at ProPublica.

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

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

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

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

Stefanie Murray   Charitable giving goes collaborative

Anthony Nadler   Clash of Clans: Election Edition

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

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

Seth C. Lewis   20 questions for 2020

Rachel Schallom   The value of push alerts goes beyond open rates

Pablo Boczkowski   The day after November 4

Jennifer Brandel   A love letter from the year 2073

Geneva Overholser   Death to bothsidesism

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

Michael W. Wagner   Increasingly fractured, but little bit deliberative

Emily Withrow   The year we kill the news article

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

Dan Shanoff   Sports media enters the Bronny era

Barbara Gray   Join local libraries on the frontlines of civic engagement

Whitney Phillips   A time to question core beliefs

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

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

Sarah Schmalbach   Journalist, quantify thyself

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

Millie Tran   Wicked

Doris Truong   The year of radical salary transparency

Cristina Kim   Public media stops trying to serve “everybody”

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

Felix Salmon   Spotify launches a news channel

Jakob Moll   A slow-moving tech backlash among young people

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

Talia Stroud   The work of reconnecting starts November 4

Victor Pickard   We reclaim a public good

Mike Caulfield   Native verification tools for the blue checkmark crowd

Tom Glaisyer   Journalism can emerge newly vibrant and powerful

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

Joe Amditis   Collaborative journalism takes its rightful place at the table

Sue Robinson   Campaign coverage as test bed for engagement experiments

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

Heidi Tworek   The year of positive pushback

Meredith Artley   Stronger solidarity among news organizations

Rick Berke   Incoming fire from both left and right

Jeff Kofman   Speed through technology

Sarah Stonbely   More people start caring about news inequality

Greg Emerson   News apps fall further behind

Mariana Moura Santos   The future of journalism is collaborative

Sarah Alvarez   I’m ready for post-news

Elizabeth Dunbar   Frank talk, and then action

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

Jasmine McNealy   A call for context

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

Sarah Marshall   The year to learn about news moments

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

Simon Galperin   Journalism becomes more democratic

Annie Rudd   The expanded ambiguity of the news photograph

Kathleen Searles   Pay more attention to attention

Alana Levinson   Brand-backed media gets another look

Ståle Grut   OSINT journalism goes mainstream

Sonali Prasad   Climate change storytelling gets multidimensional

james Wahutu   Western journalists, learn from your African peers

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

Jeremy Olshan   All journalism should be service journalism

Heather Bryant   Some kinds of journalism aren’t worth saving

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

Monica Drake   A renewed focus on misinformation

Craig Newmark   Formalizing newsrooms’ battle against disinformation

Kerri Hoffman   Opening closed systems

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting gets listener relationship management

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

Brenda P. Salinas   Treating MP3 files like text

Cindy Royal   Prepare media students for skills, not job titles

Hossein Derakhshan   AI can’t conjure up an Errol Morris

Nushin Rashidian   Are platforms a bridge or a lifeline?

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

Alice Antheaume   Trade “politics” for “power”

Mira Lowe   The year of student-powered journalism

Beena Raghavendran   The year of the local engagement reporter

Don Day   Respect the non-paying audience

Adam Thomas   The silver bullet

Alexandra Borchardt   Get out of the office and talk to people

Colleen Shalby   Journalists become media literacy teachers

Tonya Mosley   The neutrality vs. objectivity game ends

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

Jonas Kaiser   Russian bots are just today’s slacktivists

Joni Deutsch   Podcasting unsilences the silent

Nathalie Malinarich   Betting on loyalty

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

Tamar Charney   From broadcast to bespoke

Masuma Ahuja   Slower, quieter, more measured and thoughtful

Kristen Muller   The year we operationalize community engagement

Tanya Cordrey   Saying no to more good ideas

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

Knight Foundation   Five generations of journalists, learning from each other

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

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting finally creates another mega-hit show

Nikki Usher   All systems down

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

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

Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young   The promise of nonprofit journalism

John Keefe   Journalism gets hacked

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

Steve Henn   The dawning audio web

Lauren Duca   The rise of the journalistic influencer

Logan Jaffe   You don’t need fancy tools to listen

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

Julia B. Chan   We 👏 take 👏 breaks 👏

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

S. Mitra Kalita   The race to 2021

Marie Gilot   This is fine

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

Brian Moritz   The end of “stick to sports”

Helen Havlak   Platforms shine a light on original reporting

Francesco Zaffarano   TikTok without generational prejudice

Meg Marco   Everything happens somewhere

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

Logan Molyneux and Shannon McGregor   Think twice before turning to Twitter

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

Ernie Smith   The death of the industry fad

Sara K. Baranowski   A big year for little newspapers

Candis Callison   Taking a cue from Indigenous journalists on climate change

Monique Judge   The year to organize, unionize, and fight

Carl Bialik   Journalists will try running the whole shop

Catalina Albeanu   Rebuilding journalism, together

Matthew Pressman   News consumers divide into haves and have-nots

Mario García   Think small (screen)

Josh Schwartz   Publishers move beyond the metered paywall

Peter Bale   Lies get further normalized

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

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

Fiona Spruill   The climate crisis gets the coverage it deserves

Ben Werdmuller   Use the tools of journalism to save it

Imaeyen Ibanga   Let’s take it slow

Bill Grueskin   Our ethics codes get an overhaul