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

Betting on loyalty

“News organizations’ love for their own digital properties is being rekindled after years of dalliances with unpredictable platforms, impenetrable algorithms, and misguided pivots.”

News organizations’ love for their own digital properties is being rekindled after years of dalliances with unpredictable platforms, impenetrable algorithms, and misguided pivots.

In an age of proliferating and ever-changing networks, devices, and formats, knowing how to get users through the front door is a huge challenge. Understanding how to get them to keep coming back — and sign up to pay for more — is an even bigger one. Whether it manifests itself in subscriptions, membership programs, or signed-in users, we’ll see more publishers focusing on building a better, more direct, relationship with their audiences.

Many organizations are already successfully embarked on that path. And it doesn’t necessarily mean completely shunning platforms, building walled gardens, personalizing every pixel of the news offer, or going on an “innovation binge.”

So what might this focus on loyalty mean for news audiences in 2020? Hopefully, stronger journalism, better and more useful news products, and an increase in trust.

A renewed focus on direct traffic should lead to better, more user-friendly news sites and apps. Let’s face it: Reading or watching the news on a digital device can often require so much tapping and navigating that many people give up.

Understanding what makes users return — the type of stories, expertise, perspective, timeliness, and trustworthiness — allows newsrooms to focus their efforts on their journalism rather than the more generic stuff designed to attract fleeting eyeballs on social networks. Better data (and, most importantly, better use of it) will put users’ needs at the center of the development of new editorial products, leading to more purposeful innovation and diversification.

And if audiences feel they have more of a connection with a news organization, trust increases.

One of my favorite things about all this is that the organizations that will pull this off are the ones that are breaking down old structures. The ones betting on cross-disciplinary teams with product, UX, editorial, engineering, and marketing, or — even better — the ones developing a new breed of digital folk with a mix of skills.

There are risks and downsides in the push for loyalty. But as we head into the new decade, I’m optimistic.

Nathalie Malinarich is an editor for mobile and new formats at BBC News.

News organizations’ love for their own digital properties is being rekindled after years of dalliances with unpredictable platforms, impenetrable algorithms, and misguided pivots.

In an age of proliferating and ever-changing networks, devices, and formats, knowing how to get users through the front door is a huge challenge. Understanding how to get them to keep coming back — and sign up to pay for more — is an even bigger one. Whether it manifests itself in subscriptions, membership programs, or signed-in users, we’ll see more publishers focusing on building a better, more direct, relationship with their audiences.

Many organizations are already successfully embarked on that path. And it doesn’t necessarily mean completely shunning platforms, building walled gardens, personalizing every pixel of the news offer, or going on an “innovation binge.”

So what might this focus on loyalty mean for news audiences in 2020? Hopefully, stronger journalism, better and more useful news products, and an increase in trust.

A renewed focus on direct traffic should lead to better, more user-friendly news sites and apps. Let’s face it: Reading or watching the news on a digital device can often require so much tapping and navigating that many people give up.

Understanding what makes users return — the type of stories, expertise, perspective, timeliness, and trustworthiness — allows newsrooms to focus their efforts on their journalism rather than the more generic stuff designed to attract fleeting eyeballs on social networks. Better data (and, most importantly, better use of it) will put users’ needs at the center of the development of new editorial products, leading to more purposeful innovation and diversification.

And if audiences feel they have more of a connection with a news organization, trust increases.

One of my favorite things about all this is that the organizations that will pull this off are the ones that are breaking down old structures. The ones betting on cross-disciplinary teams with product, UX, editorial, engineering, and marketing, or — even better — the ones developing a new breed of digital folk with a mix of skills.

There are risks and downsides in the push for loyalty. But as we head into the new decade, I’m optimistic.

Nathalie Malinarich is an editor for mobile and new formats at BBC News.

Barbara Gray   Join local libraries on the frontlines of civic engagement

Mario García   Think small (screen)

Millie Tran   Wicked

Matthew Pressman   News consumers divide into haves and have-nots

Joe Amditis   Collaborative journalism takes its rightful place at the table

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

Richard Tofel   A constraint of the reader-revenue model emerges

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

Pablo Boczkowski   The day after November 4

Nushin Rashidian   Are platforms a bridge or a lifeline?

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

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

Fiona Spruill   The climate crisis gets the coverage it deserves

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

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

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

Josh Schwartz   Publishers move beyond the metered paywall

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

Ben Werdmuller   Use the tools of journalism to save it

Alana Levinson   Brand-backed media gets another look

Victor Pickard   We reclaim a public good

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

Anthony Nadler   Clash of Clans: Election Edition

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

Simon Galperin   Journalism becomes more democratic

Monica Drake   A renewed focus on misinformation

Sue Robinson   Campaign coverage as test bed for engagement experiments

Talia Stroud   The work of reconnecting starts November 4

Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young   The promise of nonprofit journalism

Juleyka Lantigua   A changing industry amps up podcasters’ ambitions

Kathleen Searles   Pay more attention to attention

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

Marie Gilot   This is fine

Tanya Cordrey   Saying no to more good ideas

Tamar Charney   From broadcast to bespoke

Catalina Albeanu   Rebuilding journalism, together

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

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

Monique Judge   The year to organize, unionize, and fight

Emily Withrow   The year we kill the news article

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

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

Knight Foundation   Five generations of journalists, learning from each other

Kerri Hoffman   Opening closed systems

Don Day   Respect the non-paying audience

Mariana Moura Santos   The future of journalism is collaborative

Joni Deutsch   Podcasting unsilences the silent

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

Adam Thomas   The silver bullet

Tonya Mosley   The neutrality vs. objectivity game ends

Tom Glaisyer   Journalism can emerge newly vibrant and powerful

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

Helen Havlak   Platforms shine a light on original reporting

Alice Antheaume   Trade “politics” for “power”

Logan Jaffe   You don’t need fancy tools to listen

Rachel Schallom   The value of push alerts goes beyond open rates

Jeff Kofman   Speed through technology

Nathalie Malinarich   Betting on loyalty

Hossein Derakhshan   AI can’t conjure up an Errol Morris

Heather Bryant   Some kinds of journalism aren’t worth saving

Sarah Alvarez   I’m ready for post-news

Nikki Usher   All systems down

Craig Newmark   Formalizing newsrooms’ battle against disinformation

Dan Shanoff   Sports media enters the Bronny era

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

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

Sarah Marshall   The year to learn about news moments

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

Whitney Phillips   A time to question core beliefs

Sonali Prasad   Climate change storytelling gets multidimensional

Doris Truong   The year of radical salary transparency

Seth C. Lewis   20 questions for 2020

Annie Rudd   The expanded ambiguity of the news photograph

Steve Henn   The dawning audio web

Ernie Smith   The death of the industry fad

Francesco Zaffarano   TikTok without generational prejudice

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

Meredith Artley   Stronger solidarity among news organizations

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

Geneva Overholser   Death to bothsidesism

Carl Bialik   Journalists will try running the whole shop

Jasmine McNealy   A call for context

Jonas Kaiser   Russian bots are just today’s slacktivists

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

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting gets listener relationship management

Alexandra Borchardt   Get out of the office and talk to people

Jakob Moll   A slow-moving tech backlash among young people

Jeremy Olshan   All journalism should be service journalism

Sara K. Baranowski   A big year for little newspapers

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

Brian Moritz   The end of “stick to sports”

Cindy Royal   Prepare media students for skills, not job titles

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

Mira Lowe   The year of student-powered journalism

Peter Bale   Lies get further normalized

Lauren Duca   The rise of the journalistic influencer

J. Siguru Wahutu   Western journalists, learn from your African peers

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

Sarah Stonbely   More people start caring about news inequality

Michael W. Wagner   Increasingly fractured, but little bit deliberative

Cristina Kim   Public media stops trying to serve “everybody”

Jennifer Brandel   A love letter from the year 2073

Ståle Grut   OSINT journalism goes mainstream

Imaeyen Ibanga   Let’s take it slow

Rick Berke   Incoming fire from both left and right

Elizabeth Dunbar   Frank talk, and then action

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

Meg Marco   Everything happens somewhere

Brenda P. Salinas   Treating MP3 files like text

Bill Grueskin   Our ethics codes get an overhaul

S. Mitra Kalita   The race to 2021

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

Colleen Shalby   Journalists become media literacy teachers

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting finally creates another mega-hit show

Stefanie Murray   Charitable giving goes collaborative

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

Logan Molyneux and Shannon McGregor   Think twice before turning to Twitter

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

John Keefe   Journalism gets hacked

Julia B. Chan   We 👏 take 👏 breaks 👏

Candis Callison   Taking a cue from Indigenous journalists on climate change

Kristen Muller   The year we operationalize community engagement

Masuma Ahuja   Slower, quieter, more measured and thoughtful

Greg Emerson   News apps fall further behind

Heidi Tworek   The year of positive pushback

Beena Raghavendran   The year of the local engagement reporter

Mike Caulfield   Native verification tools for the blue checkmark crowd

Felix Salmon   Spotify launches a news channel

Sarah Schmalbach   Journalist, quantify thyself

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

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

Gordon Crovitz   Fighting misinformation requires journalism, not secret algorithms

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