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

I’m ready for post-news

“One of the things that holds many of us back is that we’re beholden to the news more than we’re beholden to our communities.”

I have persistent memories from my first few days in my first newsroom. It was impossible for me to assimilate most of my new experiences into my previous understanding of what a workplace was like, or any abstract ideas of what a newsroom was likely to be. The humor was dark. So dark! Everyone was also much nicer than I anticipated, and so patient with my rookie mistakes. It was much quieter than I expected.

I love newsrooms. I love reporting. I fell in love almost instantly despite all the imperfections in our industry and our processes. But there’s one thing I’ve never been able to assimilate, that feels as incomprehensible now as it did in my first days in this work: I was shocked that there was no method to determining what “the news” was.

Every day, this decision seemed as arbitrary as the day before, with no system or order determining what our community needed from us that day. It just seemed to happen.

That isn’t good enough. It’s past time to get a better system — or, at least, a system.

News has lost its meaning for most of us. How do I know? Because when you ask people what they want from their news (we have), they tell you more traffic and more weather. But if you ask people what they see as their biggest challenges and what information they need to meet those challenges, you get something else. You get stories and tips and more importantly a roadmap for how to create something of value.

Few people want more news. But many, it seems, want more from those of us who work in the news.

There isn’t an infinite menu of things we can provide as producers, reporters, editors, photographers, engagement experts, digital and social wizards, fact-checkers, and all the other roles in a newsroom, but we can certainly do more. We can ask people what they want and build from there, as Berkleyside is building their Oakland newsroom. If it’s connection people need, we could offer something like the dialogues Spaceship Media provides. If our community wants a stake in what we’re building, we could create a co-op like Akron’s Devil Strip. If what they want is to participate and contribute, we can use the tools and programs City Bureau has come up with. If they want a more accurate record and a reckoning, we can create ambitious and powerful journalism in the mold of The New York Times’ 1619 Project.

There’s a lot holding us back from our ambitions. Local news is a tough business, because it’s not much of a business and hard-working people are still losing their jobs and closing up shops. Still, one of the things that holds many of us back is that we’re beholden to the news more than we’re beholden to our communities.

None of us can actually see the gulf between the informed and the ignored, between the legit and misinformation, and between the stories that get attention and the situations that deserve sunlight. We can see the consequences of letting that distance grow. We have to jump in there and try something new — and it’s not going to be the news.

Sarah Alvarez is the founder and editor of Outlier Media in Detroit.

I have persistent memories from my first few days in my first newsroom. It was impossible for me to assimilate most of my new experiences into my previous understanding of what a workplace was like, or any abstract ideas of what a newsroom was likely to be. The humor was dark. So dark! Everyone was also much nicer than I anticipated, and so patient with my rookie mistakes. It was much quieter than I expected.

I love newsrooms. I love reporting. I fell in love almost instantly despite all the imperfections in our industry and our processes. But there’s one thing I’ve never been able to assimilate, that feels as incomprehensible now as it did in my first days in this work: I was shocked that there was no method to determining what “the news” was.

Every day, this decision seemed as arbitrary as the day before, with no system or order determining what our community needed from us that day. It just seemed to happen.

That isn’t good enough. It’s past time to get a better system — or, at least, a system.

News has lost its meaning for most of us. How do I know? Because when you ask people what they want from their news (we have), they tell you more traffic and more weather. But if you ask people what they see as their biggest challenges and what information they need to meet those challenges, you get something else. You get stories and tips and more importantly a roadmap for how to create something of value.

Few people want more news. But many, it seems, want more from those of us who work in the news.

There isn’t an infinite menu of things we can provide as producers, reporters, editors, photographers, engagement experts, digital and social wizards, fact-checkers, and all the other roles in a newsroom, but we can certainly do more. We can ask people what they want and build from there, as Berkleyside is building their Oakland newsroom. If it’s connection people need, we could offer something like the dialogues Spaceship Media provides. If our community wants a stake in what we’re building, we could create a co-op like Akron’s Devil Strip. If what they want is to participate and contribute, we can use the tools and programs City Bureau has come up with. If they want a more accurate record and a reckoning, we can create ambitious and powerful journalism in the mold of The New York Times’ 1619 Project.

There’s a lot holding us back from our ambitions. Local news is a tough business, because it’s not much of a business and hard-working people are still losing their jobs and closing up shops. Still, one of the things that holds many of us back is that we’re beholden to the news more than we’re beholden to our communities.

None of us can actually see the gulf between the informed and the ignored, between the legit and misinformation, and between the stories that get attention and the situations that deserve sunlight. We can see the consequences of letting that distance grow. We have to jump in there and try something new — and it’s not going to be the news.

Sarah Alvarez is the founder and editor of Outlier Media in Detroit.

Heidi Tworek   The year of positive pushback

Jonas Kaiser   Russian bots are just today’s slacktivists

Tom Glaisyer   Journalism can emerge newly vibrant and powerful

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

Brenda P. Salinas   Treating MP3 files like text

Mira Lowe   The year of student-powered journalism

Sonali Prasad   Climate change storytelling gets multidimensional

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

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

Barbara Gray   Join local libraries on the frontlines of civic engagement

Mario García   Think small (screen)

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

Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young   The promise of nonprofit journalism

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

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

james Wahutu   Western journalists, learn from your African peers

Geneva Overholser   Death to bothsidesism

Craig Newmark   Formalizing newsrooms’ battle against disinformation

Tamar Charney   From broadcast to bespoke

Fiona Spruill   The climate crisis gets the coverage it deserves

Hossein Derakhshan   AI can’t conjure up an Errol Morris

Helen Havlak   Platforms shine a light on original reporting

Knight Foundation   Five generations of journalists, learning from each other

Jasmine McNealy   A call for context

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

Logan Molyneux and Shannon McGregor   Think twice before turning to Twitter

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

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

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

Don Day   Respect the non-paying audience

Sarah Stonbely   More people start caring about news inequality

Imaeyen Ibanga   Let’s take it slow

Peter Bale   Lies get further normalized

Tanya Cordrey   Saying no to more good ideas

Masuma Ahuja   Slower, quieter, more measured and thoughtful

Josh Schwartz   Publishers move beyond the metered paywall

Ernie Smith   The death of the industry fad

Kristen Muller   The year we operationalize community engagement

John Keefe   Journalism gets hacked

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kerri Hoffman   Opening closed systems

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

Kathleen Searles   Pay more attention to attention

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

Steve Henn   The dawning audio web

Nushin Rashidian   Are platforms a bridge or a lifeline?

Whitney Phillips   A time to question core beliefs

Rachel Schallom   The value of push alerts goes beyond open rates

Pablo Boczkowski   The day after November 4

Michael W. Wagner   Increasingly fractured, but little bit deliberative

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

Talia Stroud   The work of reconnecting starts November 4

Emily Withrow   The year we kill the news article

Annie Rudd   The expanded ambiguity of the news photograph

Adam Thomas   The silver bullet

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

Monica Drake   A renewed focus on misinformation

Sarah Schmalbach   Journalist, quantify thyself

Jakob Moll   A slow-moving tech backlash among young people

Alana Levinson   Brand-backed media gets another look

Bill Grueskin   Our ethics codes get an overhaul

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

S. Mitra Kalita   The race to 2021

Logan Jaffe   You don’t need fancy tools to listen

Greg Emerson   News apps fall further behind

Francesco Zaffarano   TikTok without generational prejudice

Meredith Artley   Stronger solidarity among news organizations

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

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

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

Heather Bryant   Some kinds of journalism aren’t worth saving

Colleen Shalby   Journalists become media literacy teachers

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

Sara K. Baranowski   A big year for little newspapers

Alice Antheaume   Trade “politics” for “power”

Millie Tran   Wicked

Beena Raghavendran   The year of the local engagement reporter

Brian Moritz   The end of “stick to sports”

Meg Marco   Everything happens somewhere

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

Elizabeth Dunbar   Frank talk, and then action

Matthew Pressman   News consumers divide into haves and have-nots

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting gets listener relationship management

Tonya Mosley   The neutrality vs. objectivity game ends

Stefanie Murray   Charitable giving goes collaborative

Ben Werdmuller   Use the tools of journalism to save it

Catalina Albeanu   Rebuilding journalism, together

Jeremy Olshan   All journalism should be service journalism

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

Mike Caulfield   Native verification tools for the blue checkmark crowd

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

Cindy Royal   Prepare media students for skills, not job titles

Monique Judge   The year to organize, unionize, and fight

Carl Bialik   Journalists will try running the whole shop

Nikki Usher   All systems down

Victor Pickard   We reclaim a public good

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

Sarah Marshall   The year to learn about news moments

Sue Robinson   Campaign coverage as test bed for engagement experiments

Mariana Moura Santos   The future of journalism is collaborative

Jennifer Brandel   A love letter from the year 2073

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

Marie Gilot   This is fine

Doris Truong   The year of radical salary transparency

Sarah Alvarez   I’m ready for post-news

Simon Galperin   Journalism becomes more democratic

Joe Amditis   Collaborative journalism takes its rightful place at the table

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

Rick Berke   Incoming fire from both left and right

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting finally creates another mega-hit show

Julia B. Chan   We 👏 take 👏 breaks 👏

Alexandra Borchardt   Get out of the office and talk to people

Seth C. Lewis   20 questions for 2020

Cristina Kim   Public media stops trying to serve “everybody”

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

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

Joni Deutsch   Podcasting unsilences the silent

Nathalie Malinarich   Betting on loyalty

Anthony Nadler   Clash of Clans: Election Edition

Ståle Grut   OSINT journalism goes mainstream

Dan Shanoff   Sports media enters the Bronny era

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

Candis Callison   Taking a cue from Indigenous journalists on climate change

Jeff Kofman   Speed through technology

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

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

Felix Salmon   Spotify launches a news channel

Lauren Duca   The rise of the journalistic influencer