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

Slower, quieter, more measured and thoughtful

“The high pitch of outrage, constant outrage, is exhausting and overwhelming — for our readers, for the citizens of our communities.”

My prediction for the next year is more of a prayer: that our journalism gets slower, quieter, more measured and thoughtful.

The news right now feels constantly urgent, a new headline to be outraged by every day. And there’s good reason: The rise of authoritarianism across the globe, the climate crisis, vulnerable communities who are persecuted and whose rights are stripped in different corners of the world. But the high pitch of outrage, constant outrage, is exhausting and overwhelming — for our readers, for the citizens of our communities.

We’ve all read about the ways in which big tech and this outrage/attention economy of digital news has affected our world in very real ways: from deepening polarization to helping fake news spread like wildfire. And it often does a disservice to readers, viewers, and users — we rarely provide enough information to understand history and context alongside headlines; we don’t often enough tell stories that reflect the nuance and layers of communities and people living in extraordinary circumstances.

When I interviewed for one of my first jobs in journalism, an editor I admire told me that every story should serve one of two purposes: It should tell you something new that you need to know about the world. Or it should make you cry. (Or, well, be powerful storytelling that can move you and help shift the way you understand the world.)

I think back to this conversation often now when I read or listen or scroll through the news. How much of our journalism is really explaining things in a way that helps readers understand the communities they live in, the governments they vote for, the companies they support, the ways in which our world works? How are we helping readers hold their institutions to account?

How much of our best storytelling — beyond the endless true-crime podcasts — really helps us understand people, power, and the world around us? What could we learn from the writers and directors and artists and curators who earn a living telling stories to find ways to better engage our audiences on issues and stories that matter?

I hope that in the next year we start looking for inspiration to the creators of the shows we all binge-watch, or the museum exhibits we all post on Instagram. How do they engage audiences to sit with their stories for hours or days at a time? How do they create work that compels people to share? What lessons can we as professional nonfiction storytellers learn from them?

I hope journalists and newsrooms start the conversation with the question of: What information do our readers need and why? And I hope we find ways to invest more in work that answers these questions.

Masuma Ahuja is an independent journalist previously at The Washington Post and CNN.

My prediction for the next year is more of a prayer: that our journalism gets slower, quieter, more measured and thoughtful.

The news right now feels constantly urgent, a new headline to be outraged by every day. And there’s good reason: The rise of authoritarianism across the globe, the climate crisis, vulnerable communities who are persecuted and whose rights are stripped in different corners of the world. But the high pitch of outrage, constant outrage, is exhausting and overwhelming — for our readers, for the citizens of our communities.

We’ve all read about the ways in which big tech and this outrage/attention economy of digital news has affected our world in very real ways: from deepening polarization to helping fake news spread like wildfire. And it often does a disservice to readers, viewers, and users — we rarely provide enough information to understand history and context alongside headlines; we don’t often enough tell stories that reflect the nuance and layers of communities and people living in extraordinary circumstances.

When I interviewed for one of my first jobs in journalism, an editor I admire told me that every story should serve one of two purposes: It should tell you something new that you need to know about the world. Or it should make you cry. (Or, well, be powerful storytelling that can move you and help shift the way you understand the world.)

I think back to this conversation often now when I read or listen or scroll through the news. How much of our journalism is really explaining things in a way that helps readers understand the communities they live in, the governments they vote for, the companies they support, the ways in which our world works? How are we helping readers hold their institutions to account?

How much of our best storytelling — beyond the endless true-crime podcasts — really helps us understand people, power, and the world around us? What could we learn from the writers and directors and artists and curators who earn a living telling stories to find ways to better engage our audiences on issues and stories that matter?

I hope that in the next year we start looking for inspiration to the creators of the shows we all binge-watch, or the museum exhibits we all post on Instagram. How do they engage audiences to sit with their stories for hours or days at a time? How do they create work that compels people to share? What lessons can we as professional nonfiction storytellers learn from them?

I hope journalists and newsrooms start the conversation with the question of: What information do our readers need and why? And I hope we find ways to invest more in work that answers these questions.

Masuma Ahuja is an independent journalist previously at The Washington Post and CNN.

Candis Callison   Taking a cue from Indigenous journalists on climate change

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

Jennifer Brandel   A love letter from the year 2073

Sarah Stonbely   More people start caring about news inequality

Heather Bryant   Some kinds of journalism aren’t worth saving

Masuma Ahuja   Slower, quieter, more measured and thoughtful

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

Emily Withrow   The year we kill the news article

Lauren Duca   The rise of the journalistic influencer

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

Adam Thomas   The silver bullet

Kathleen Searles   Pay more attention to attention

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

Ståle Grut   OSINT journalism goes mainstream

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

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

Rachel Schallom   The value of push alerts goes beyond open rates

Mariana Moura Santos   The future of journalism is collaborative

Logan Molyneux and Shannon McGregor   Think twice before turning to Twitter

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

Catalina Albeanu   Rebuilding journalism, together

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

Hossein Derakhshan   AI can’t conjure up an Errol Morris

Whitney Phillips   A time to question core beliefs

Nathalie Malinarich   Betting on loyalty

Colleen Shalby   Journalists become media literacy teachers

Meg Marco   Everything happens somewhere

John Keefe   Journalism gets hacked

Alexandra Borchardt   Get out of the office and talk to people

Imaeyen Ibanga   Let’s take it slow

Tamar Charney   From broadcast to bespoke

Don Day   Respect the non-paying audience

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

Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young   The promise of nonprofit journalism

Tanya Cordrey   Saying no to more good ideas

Nikki Usher   All systems down

Kerri Hoffman   Opening closed systems

Monique Judge   The year to organize, unionize, and fight

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

Dan Shanoff   Sports media enters the Bronny era

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

Helen Havlak   Platforms shine a light on original reporting

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

Tonya Mosley   The neutrality vs. objectivity game ends

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

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

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

Beena Raghavendran   The year of the local engagement reporter

Julia B. Chan   We 👏 take 👏 breaks 👏

Michael W. Wagner   Increasingly fractured, but little bit deliberative

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

Sarah Alvarez   I’m ready for post-news

Jakob Moll   A slow-moving tech backlash among young people

Elizabeth Dunbar   Frank talk, and then action

Knight Foundation   Five generations of journalists, learning from each other

S. Mitra Kalita   The race to 2021

Steve Henn   The dawning audio web

Jeff Kofman   Speed through technology

Jasmine McNealy   A call for context

Anthony Nadler   Clash of Clans: Election Edition

Bill Grueskin   Our ethics codes get an overhaul

Felix Salmon   Spotify launches a news channel

Heidi Tworek   The year of positive pushback

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

Pablo Boczkowski   The day after November 4

Annie Rudd   The expanded ambiguity of the news photograph

Josh Schwartz   Publishers move beyond the metered paywall

Ernie Smith   The death of the industry fad

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

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

Carl Bialik   Journalists will try running the whole shop

Brenda P. Salinas   Treating MP3 files like text

Cindy Royal   Prepare media students for skills, not job titles

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

Mario García   Think small (screen)

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting finally creates another mega-hit show

Sonali Prasad   Climate change storytelling gets multidimensional

Jonas Kaiser   Russian bots are just today’s slacktivists

Nushin Rashidian   Are platforms a bridge or a lifeline?

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

Victor Pickard   We reclaim a public good

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

james Wahutu   Western journalists, learn from your African peers

Peter Bale   Lies get further normalized

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting gets listener relationship management

Fiona Spruill   The climate crisis gets the coverage it deserves

Sarah Marshall   The year to learn about news moments

Simon Galperin   Journalism becomes more democratic

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

Mira Lowe   The year of student-powered journalism

Alice Antheaume   Trade “politics” for “power”

Monica Drake   A renewed focus on misinformation

Talia Stroud   The work of reconnecting starts November 4

Francesco Zaffarano   TikTok without generational prejudice

Craig Newmark   Formalizing newsrooms’ battle against disinformation

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

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

Sara K. Baranowski   A big year for little newspapers

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

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

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

Jeremy Olshan   All journalism should be service journalism

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

Rick Berke   Incoming fire from both left and right

Greg Emerson   News apps fall further behind

Marie Gilot   This is fine

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

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

Ben Werdmuller   Use the tools of journalism to save it

Meredith Artley   Stronger solidarity among news organizations

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

Tom Glaisyer   Journalism can emerge newly vibrant and powerful

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

Brian Moritz   The end of “stick to sports”

Joe Amditis   Collaborative journalism takes its rightful place at the table

Geneva Overholser   Death to bothsidesism

Alana Levinson   Brand-backed media gets another look

Barbara Gray   Join local libraries on the frontlines of civic engagement

Seth C. Lewis   20 questions for 2020

Stefanie Murray   Charitable giving goes collaborative

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

Doris Truong   The year of radical salary transparency

Logan Jaffe   You don’t need fancy tools to listen

Cristina Kim   Public media stops trying to serve “everybody”

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

Sarah Schmalbach   Journalist, quantify thyself

Millie Tran   Wicked

Sue Robinson   Campaign coverage as test bed for engagement experiments

Matthew Pressman   News consumers divide into haves and have-nots

Joni Deutsch   Podcasting unsilences the silent

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

Kristen Muller   The year we operationalize community engagement

Mike Caulfield   Native verification tools for the blue checkmark crowd