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

We reclaim a public good

“By changing news media’s core structures of ownership and control, we will finally let journalists be journalists.”

In 2020, we will come to see the journalism crisis as an opportunity to reclaim and reinvent a public good. This shift in how we see a national — and increasingly global — tragedy will come gradually. But as the ravages of systemic market failure become increasingly undeniable — growing news deserts, widening informational divides, and vulture capitalists picking over what remains of the fourth estate — we’ll be forced to transcend commercial confines to imagine a new kind of journalism based on public ownership.

In many ways, this will be a return to sanity. News was never meant to be merely a commodity, and publishers’ fealty to the market has always caused social harms. Today, as profit-seeking drives journalism into the ground, we must decide whether to let all but a few national papers and niche news outlets perish, or whether we instead salvage good assets from bad owners and rescue from the market’s maw an indispensable public service and democratic infrastructure.

What might this look like? More newspapers will follow the path of The Salt Lake Tribune and transition to nonprofit status. More local groups will leverage public spaces like libraries and post offices to become community sites for media production. More state governments will make public investments in local news. Platform monopolies such as Google and Facebook will be forced to pay a public media tax to support local and global journalism. More public broadcast stations will combine with digital outlets to create multi-media hubs. News cooperatives and other experiments will take root across the country.

Looking to a post-Trump era, we will embrace social-democratic alternatives to hyper-capitalistic media. We can draw inspiration from past American initiatives such as municipal newspapers and independent phone cooperatives, which rose up in direct response to market failures and commercial excesses.

In 2020, we will return to fundamental debates about journalism’s normative role in a democratic society. No longer serving commercial imperatives, our news media will come to disavow clickbait, invasive and deceptive advertising, and sensationalistic, trivializing commentary. We might even actualize an adversarial press, one that ruthlessly confronts power, doggedly covers social problems like inequality and climate change, and gives voice to those who have been silenced.

Liberated from profit-driven, absentee owners and instead governed by the journalists themselves and by representative members of the public, newsrooms will look more like the diverse communities they serve. By changing news media’s core structures of ownership and control, we will finally let journalists be journalists.

As the commercial model continues to collapse, we can dare imagine what a truly publicly owned, democratically controlled media system might look like. In 2020, we’ll at last treat journalism as an essential public service — a core infrastructure — that democracy needs to survive.

Victor Pickard is an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication.

In 2020, we will come to see the journalism crisis as an opportunity to reclaim and reinvent a public good. This shift in how we see a national — and increasingly global — tragedy will come gradually. But as the ravages of systemic market failure become increasingly undeniable — growing news deserts, widening informational divides, and vulture capitalists picking over what remains of the fourth estate — we’ll be forced to transcend commercial confines to imagine a new kind of journalism based on public ownership.

In many ways, this will be a return to sanity. News was never meant to be merely a commodity, and publishers’ fealty to the market has always caused social harms. Today, as profit-seeking drives journalism into the ground, we must decide whether to let all but a few national papers and niche news outlets perish, or whether we instead salvage good assets from bad owners and rescue from the market’s maw an indispensable public service and democratic infrastructure.

What might this look like? More newspapers will follow the path of The Salt Lake Tribune and transition to nonprofit status. More local groups will leverage public spaces like libraries and post offices to become community sites for media production. More state governments will make public investments in local news. Platform monopolies such as Google and Facebook will be forced to pay a public media tax to support local and global journalism. More public broadcast stations will combine with digital outlets to create multi-media hubs. News cooperatives and other experiments will take root across the country.

Looking to a post-Trump era, we will embrace social-democratic alternatives to hyper-capitalistic media. We can draw inspiration from past American initiatives such as municipal newspapers and independent phone cooperatives, which rose up in direct response to market failures and commercial excesses.

In 2020, we will return to fundamental debates about journalism’s normative role in a democratic society. No longer serving commercial imperatives, our news media will come to disavow clickbait, invasive and deceptive advertising, and sensationalistic, trivializing commentary. We might even actualize an adversarial press, one that ruthlessly confronts power, doggedly covers social problems like inequality and climate change, and gives voice to those who have been silenced.

Liberated from profit-driven, absentee owners and instead governed by the journalists themselves and by representative members of the public, newsrooms will look more like the diverse communities they serve. By changing news media’s core structures of ownership and control, we will finally let journalists be journalists.

As the commercial model continues to collapse, we can dare imagine what a truly publicly owned, democratically controlled media system might look like. In 2020, we’ll at last treat journalism as an essential public service — a core infrastructure — that democracy needs to survive.

Victor Pickard is an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication.

Sue Robinson   Campaign coverage as test bed for engagement experiments

Masuma Ahuja   Slower, quieter, more measured and thoughtful

Mike Caulfield   Native verification tools for the blue checkmark crowd

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

Kristen Muller   The year we operationalize community engagement

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

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

Sarah Marshall   The year to learn about news moments

Cindy Royal   Prepare media students for skills, not job titles

Whitney Phillips   A time to question core beliefs

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

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

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

Adam Thomas   The silver bullet

Mariana Moura Santos   The future of journalism is collaborative

Monica Drake   A renewed focus on misinformation

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

Knight Foundation   Five generations of journalists, learning from each other

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

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

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

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

Logan Jaffe   You don’t need fancy tools to listen

Nushin Rashidian   Are platforms a bridge or a lifeline?

Seth C. Lewis   20 questions for 2020

Ståle Grut   OSINT journalism goes mainstream

Meredith Artley   Stronger solidarity among news organizations

Tom Glaisyer   Journalism can emerge newly vibrant and powerful

Beena Raghavendran   The year of the local engagement reporter

Monique Judge   The year to organize, unionize, and fight

Emily Withrow   The year we kill the news article

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

Carl Bialik   Journalists will try running the whole shop

Jakob Moll   A slow-moving tech backlash among young people

Alexandra Borchardt   Get out of the office and talk to people

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

Sarah Alvarez   I’m ready for post-news

Mario García   Think small (screen)

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

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

Nikki Usher   All systems down

Hossein Derakhshan   AI can’t conjure up an Errol Morris

Annie Rudd   The expanded ambiguity of the news photograph

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

Imaeyen Ibanga   Let’s take it slow

Don Day   Respect the non-paying audience

Tonya Mosley   The neutrality vs. objectivity game ends

Brian Moritz   The end of “stick to sports”

Anthony Nadler   Clash of Clans: Election Edition

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

Heather Bryant   Some kinds of journalism aren’t worth saving

Michael W. Wagner   Increasingly fractured, but little bit deliberative

Elizabeth Dunbar   Frank talk, and then action

Jasmine McNealy   A call for context

Cristina Kim   Public media stops trying to serve “everybody”

Rick Berke   Incoming fire from both left and right

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

Tamar Charney   From broadcast to bespoke

Craig Newmark   Formalizing newsrooms’ battle against disinformation

Pablo Boczkowski   The day after November 4

Alana Levinson   Brand-backed media gets another look

Millie Tran   Wicked

Jennifer Brandel   A love letter from the year 2073

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting gets listener relationship management

Colleen Shalby   Journalists become media literacy teachers

Talia Stroud   The work of reconnecting starts November 4

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

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

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

Catalina Albeanu   Rebuilding journalism, together

Alice Antheaume   Trade “politics” for “power”

Francesco Zaffarano   TikTok without generational prejudice

Joe Amditis   Collaborative journalism takes its rightful place at the table

Ernie Smith   The death of the industry fad

Ben Werdmuller   Use the tools of journalism to save it

Nathalie Malinarich   Betting on loyalty

S. Mitra Kalita   The race to 2021

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

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

Greg Emerson   News apps fall further behind

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

Jeff Kofman   Speed through technology

Joni Deutsch   Podcasting unsilences the silent

Doris Truong   The year of radical salary transparency

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

Sara K. Baranowski   A big year for little newspapers

Mira Lowe   The year of student-powered journalism

Jeremy Olshan   All journalism should be service journalism

Meg Marco   Everything happens somewhere

Geneva Overholser   Death to bothsidesism

Steve Henn   The dawning audio web

Sarah Schmalbach   Journalist, quantify thyself

Fiona Spruill   The climate crisis gets the coverage it deserves

John Keefe   Journalism gets hacked

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

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

Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young   The promise of nonprofit journalism

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

Rachel Schallom   The value of push alerts goes beyond open rates

Stefanie Murray   Charitable giving goes collaborative

Lauren Duca   The rise of the journalistic influencer

Kerri Hoffman   Opening closed systems

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting finally creates another mega-hit show

Peter Bale   Lies get further normalized

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

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

Heidi Tworek   The year of positive pushback

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

Simon Galperin   Journalism becomes more democratic

Kathleen Searles   Pay more attention to attention

Jonas Kaiser   Russian bots are just today’s slacktivists

Helen Havlak   Platforms shine a light on original reporting

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

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

Julia B. Chan   We 👏 take 👏 breaks 👏

Barbara Gray   Join local libraries on the frontlines of civic engagement

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

Sonali Prasad   Climate change storytelling gets multidimensional

james Wahutu   Western journalists, learn from your African peers

Candis Callison   Taking a cue from Indigenous journalists on climate change

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

Josh Schwartz   Publishers move beyond the metered paywall

Logan Molyneux and Shannon McGregor   Think twice before turning to Twitter

Matthew Pressman   News consumers divide into haves and have-nots

Felix Salmon   Spotify launches a news channel

Sarah Stonbely   More people start caring about news inequality

Marie Gilot   This is fine

Bill Grueskin   Our ethics codes get an overhaul

Victor Pickard   We reclaim a public good

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

Brenda P. Salinas   Treating MP3 files like text

Dan Shanoff   Sports media enters the Bronny era

Tanya Cordrey   Saying no to more good ideas