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The year to organize, unionize, and fight

“You cannot have one hand in the pot while you try to control the narrative with the other.”

2019 saw the demise of many newsrooms across the country. As private equity firms and corporate interests sought to make money in the news game, the ability for journalists to do their jobs was diminished. We saw the death of Deadspin and Splinter. We saw layoffs. We watched corporations launch entire campaigns to discredit the good work that newsroom unions do. We saw corporate heads not care that their greed was destroying the product.

Let 2020 be the year that newsrooms organize, unionize, fight for editorial independence, and fight back against corporate interests. They are destroying everything that makes journalism great.

You cannot have one hand in the pot while you try to control the narrative with the other. As our country shifts and careens down the road to a Trump dictatorship, it’s important that journalists have the ability and the support they need to tell these truths. America needs them.

We learned in j-school that journalists are the watchdogs of society. We cannot continue to be that if our corporate overlords continue to interfere with the way we report the news. Their fiscal interests can no longer supersede the American public’s need for truth. Editorial independence is a cornerstone of good journalism. Without it, we become nothing more than an extension of the PR team, our “truths” dictated by whoever has the deepest pockets.

As we move forward into this new decade, let us encourage newsrooms to get organized, bargain as a collective unit, create policies that protect editorial independence, and keep fighting the good fight. The future of our nation depends on it.

Monique Judge is news editor at The Root.

2019 saw the demise of many newsrooms across the country. As private equity firms and corporate interests sought to make money in the news game, the ability for journalists to do their jobs was diminished. We saw the death of Deadspin and Splinter. We saw layoffs. We watched corporations launch entire campaigns to discredit the good work that newsroom unions do. We saw corporate heads not care that their greed was destroying the product.

Let 2020 be the year that newsrooms organize, unionize, fight for editorial independence, and fight back against corporate interests. They are destroying everything that makes journalism great.

You cannot have one hand in the pot while you try to control the narrative with the other. As our country shifts and careens down the road to a Trump dictatorship, it’s important that journalists have the ability and the support they need to tell these truths. America needs them.

We learned in j-school that journalists are the watchdogs of society. We cannot continue to be that if our corporate overlords continue to interfere with the way we report the news. Their fiscal interests can no longer supersede the American public’s need for truth. Editorial independence is a cornerstone of good journalism. Without it, we become nothing more than an extension of the PR team, our “truths” dictated by whoever has the deepest pockets.

As we move forward into this new decade, let us encourage newsrooms to get organized, bargain as a collective unit, create policies that protect editorial independence, and keep fighting the good fight. The future of our nation depends on it.

Monique Judge is news editor at The Root.

Michael W. Wagner   Increasingly fractured, but little bit deliberative

John Keefe   Journalism gets hacked

Seth C. Lewis   20 questions for 2020

Kristen Muller   The year we operationalize community engagement

Tonya Mosley   The neutrality vs. objectivity game ends

Meg Marco   Everything happens somewhere

Sue Robinson   Campaign coverage as test bed for engagement experiments

Carl Bialik   Journalists will try running the whole shop

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

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

Monique Judge   The year to organize, unionize, and fight

Monica Drake   A renewed focus on misinformation

Masuma Ahuja   Slower, quieter, more measured and thoughtful

Catalina Albeanu   Rebuilding journalism, together

Dan Shanoff   Sports media enters the Bronny era

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

Sonali Prasad   Climate change storytelling gets multidimensional

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

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting gets listener relationship management

Alexandra Borchardt   Get out of the office and talk to people

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

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

Cristina Kim   Public media stops trying to serve “everybody”

Kathleen Searles   Pay more attention to attention

Imaeyen Ibanga   Let’s take it slow

Craig Newmark   Formalizing newsrooms’ battle against disinformation

Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young   The promise of nonprofit journalism

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

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

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

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting finally creates another mega-hit show

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

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

Julia B. Chan   We 👏 take 👏 breaks 👏

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

Greg Emerson   News apps fall further behind

Annie Rudd   The expanded ambiguity of the news photograph

Joe Amditis   Collaborative journalism takes its rightful place at the table

Elizabeth Dunbar   Frank talk, and then action

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

Logan Jaffe   You don’t need fancy tools to listen

Helen Havlak   Platforms shine a light on original reporting

Simon Galperin   Journalism becomes more democratic

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

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

Mariana Moura Santos   The future of journalism is collaborative

Victor Pickard   We reclaim a public good

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

Jeremy Olshan   All journalism should be service journalism

Ståle Grut   OSINT journalism goes mainstream

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

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

Nathalie Malinarich   Betting on loyalty

Francesco Zaffarano   TikTok without generational prejudice

Cindy Royal   Prepare media students for skills, not job titles

Mike Caulfield   Native verification tools for the blue checkmark crowd

S. Mitra Kalita   The race to 2021

Don Day   Respect the non-paying audience

Alana Levinson   Brand-backed media gets another look

Lauren Duca   The rise of the journalistic influencer

Ernie Smith   The death of the industry fad

Sarah Marshall   The year to learn about news moments

Josh Schwartz   Publishers move beyond the metered paywall

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

Pablo Boczkowski   The day after November 4

Brenda P. Salinas   Treating MP3 files like text

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

Emily Withrow   The year we kill the news article

Millie Tran   Wicked

Meredith Artley   Stronger solidarity among news organizations

Sara K. Baranowski   A big year for little newspapers

Tom Glaisyer   Journalism can emerge newly vibrant and powerful

Anthony Nadler   Clash of Clans: Election Edition

Sarah Stonbely   More people start caring about news inequality

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

Jeff Kofman   Speed through technology

Rick Berke   Incoming fire from both left and right

Fiona Spruill   The climate crisis gets the coverage it deserves

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

Jakob Moll   A slow-moving tech backlash among young people

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

Talia Stroud   The work of reconnecting starts November 4

Candis Callison   Taking a cue from Indigenous journalists on climate change

Joni Deutsch   Podcasting unsilences the silent

Barbara Gray   Join local libraries on the frontlines of civic engagement

Mira Lowe   The year of student-powered journalism

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

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

Ben Werdmuller   Use the tools of journalism to save it

Steve Henn   The dawning audio web

Kerri Hoffman   Opening closed systems

james Wahutu   Western journalists, learn from your African peers

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

Hossein Derakhshan   AI can’t conjure up an Errol Morris

Brian Moritz   The end of “stick to sports”

Knight Foundation   Five generations of journalists, learning from each other

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

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

Tanya Cordrey   Saying no to more good ideas

Heather Bryant   Some kinds of journalism aren’t worth saving

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

Beena Raghavendran   The year of the local engagement reporter

Nikki Usher   All systems down

Tamar Charney   From broadcast to bespoke

Matthew Pressman   News consumers divide into haves and have-nots

Jasmine McNealy   A call for context

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

Nushin Rashidian   Are platforms a bridge or a lifeline?

Heidi Tworek   The year of positive pushback

Bill Grueskin   Our ethics codes get an overhaul

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

Doris Truong   The year of radical salary transparency

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

Whitney Phillips   A time to question core beliefs

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

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

Felix Salmon   Spotify launches a news channel

Jennifer Brandel   A love letter from the year 2073

Stefanie Murray   Charitable giving goes collaborative

Sarah Schmalbach   Journalist, quantify thyself

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

Jonas Kaiser   Russian bots are just today’s slacktivists

Colleen Shalby   Journalists become media literacy teachers

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

Geneva Overholser   Death to bothsidesism

Peter Bale   Lies get further normalized

Sarah Alvarez   I’m ready for post-news

Adam Thomas   The silver bullet

Marie Gilot   This is fine

Rachel Schallom   The value of push alerts goes beyond open rates

Mario García   Think small (screen)

Alice Antheaume   Trade “politics” for “power”