A shift from conversation to action

“We cannot truly consider ourselves stewards of public trust and information if we aren’t embodying equity at every level. In 2021, journalism will get its shit together.”

Bright light can be unforgiving.

For years, journalists of color have been working to illuminate the systemic racism that our field has been content to keep hidden. In 2020, the spotlight was glaring. From Philadelphia to Los Angeles, very candid, very public declarations from journalists of color about their experiences working in this industry exposed a painful part of our collective reality.

In 2021, we will see a shift from conversations about the grave inequity faced by journalists of color, particularly women journalists of color, to actions that address these structural inequities.

This year’s JOC tweet threads and columns and websites were a rallying cry for change and accountability. More than a few media executives were shown the door — either because that ousted person was actually problematic, or because something unacceptable happened under their watch and someone had to take the fall. In some instances of masthead turnover, there were other demands — lists drafted by journalists of color — for measures that create environments of belonging and for behavior change.

In 2021, these lists must be front and center in the push towards more equitable structures. If we could speak it into existence, 2021 will be the year when newsroom leadership will start doing the hard work — whether by choice and good intention, or economic and social pressure — that it takes to make our industry more equitable.

This must include industry leaders being more proactive than reactive. Diversity and inclusion conversations and interventions — almost always focused on numbers, compliance, and representation — will instead zero in on the policies, people practices, and workflow that enable real equity in a newsroom.

This will mean, for example, conceptualizing equity as something not separate from paid parental leave policies and the health benefits offered to employees. This is the year we see DEI resources invested in legal and IT to protect and support reporters targeted by online violence and abuse, which disproportionately impacts women and women of color. An equitable structure demands honesty and transparency and calls out racism and oppression, both overt and systemic, and builds power and momentum towards achieving goals while encouraging the grace and humility to sustain the endeavor. (Shout out to PolicyLink for the inspiration for Resolve Philly’s definition of an equitable structure.) 2021 will force newsroom leaders to address how they are — or aren’t — meeting these demands.

There is a tectonic shift happening in which people are speaking their truths and media companies are called to task to answer. There really is no other option here. We cannot truly consider ourselves stewards of public trust and information if we aren’t embodying equity at every level. In 2021, journalism will get its shit together. For the sake of democracy. For the sake of our economic future as an industry. For the sake of the communities we serve. For the sake of the people we employ.

Jean Friedman-Rudovsky and Cassie Haynes are the co-executive directors of Resolve Philly.

Bright light can be unforgiving.

For years, journalists of color have been working to illuminate the systemic racism that our field has been content to keep hidden. In 2020, the spotlight was glaring. From Philadelphia to Los Angeles, very candid, very public declarations from journalists of color about their experiences working in this industry exposed a painful part of our collective reality.

In 2021, we will see a shift from conversations about the grave inequity faced by journalists of color, particularly women journalists of color, to actions that address these structural inequities.

This year’s JOC tweet threads and columns and websites were a rallying cry for change and accountability. More than a few media executives were shown the door — either because that ousted person was actually problematic, or because something unacceptable happened under their watch and someone had to take the fall. In some instances of masthead turnover, there were other demands — lists drafted by journalists of color — for measures that create environments of belonging and for behavior change.

In 2021, these lists must be front and center in the push towards more equitable structures. If we could speak it into existence, 2021 will be the year when newsroom leadership will start doing the hard work — whether by choice and good intention, or economic and social pressure — that it takes to make our industry more equitable.

This must include industry leaders being more proactive than reactive. Diversity and inclusion conversations and interventions — almost always focused on numbers, compliance, and representation — will instead zero in on the policies, people practices, and workflow that enable real equity in a newsroom.

This will mean, for example, conceptualizing equity as something not separate from paid parental leave policies and the health benefits offered to employees. This is the year we see DEI resources invested in legal and IT to protect and support reporters targeted by online violence and abuse, which disproportionately impacts women and women of color. An equitable structure demands honesty and transparency and calls out racism and oppression, both overt and systemic, and builds power and momentum towards achieving goals while encouraging the grace and humility to sustain the endeavor. (Shout out to PolicyLink for the inspiration for Resolve Philly’s definition of an equitable structure.) 2021 will force newsroom leaders to address how they are — or aren’t — meeting these demands.

There is a tectonic shift happening in which people are speaking their truths and media companies are called to task to answer. There really is no other option here. We cannot truly consider ourselves stewards of public trust and information if we aren’t embodying equity at every level. In 2021, journalism will get its shit together. For the sake of democracy. For the sake of our economic future as an industry. For the sake of the communities we serve. For the sake of the people we employ.

Jean Friedman-Rudovsky and Cassie Haynes are the co-executive directors of Resolve Philly.

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Bill Adair   The future of fact-checking is all about structured data

Amara Aguilar   Journalism schools emphasize listening

L. Gordon Crovitz   Common law will finally apply to the Internet

Anthony Nadler   Journalism struggles to find a new model of legitimacy

Delia Cai   Subscriptions start working for the middle

Sarah Stonbely   Videoconferencing brings more geographic diversity

Aaron Foley   Diversity gains haven’t shown up in local news

Rodney Gibbs   Zooming beyond talking heads

Kevin D. Grant   Parachute journalism goes away for good

Patrick Butler   Covid-19 reporting has prepared us for cross-border collaboration

Ben Werdmuller   The web blooms again

Taylor Lorenz   Journalists will learn influencing isn’t easy

Sara M. Watson   Return of the RSS reader

Francesco Zaffarano   The year we ask the audience what it needs

Chase Davis   The year we look beyond The Story

Tanya Cordrey   Declining trust forces publishers to claim (or disclaim) values

Jesse Holcomb   Genre erosion in nonprofit journalism

Alyssa Zeisler   Holistic medicine for journalism

Loretta Chao   Open up the profession

Richard J. Tofel   Less on politics, more on how government works (or doesn’t)

Garance Franke-Ruta   Rebundling content, rebuilding connections

Meredith D. Clark   The year journalism starts paying reparations

John Davidow   Reflect and repent

Nikki Usher   Don’t expect an antitrust dividend for the media

Mark S. Luckie   Newsrooms and streaming services get cozy

Nicholas Jackson   Blogging is back, but better

Janet Haven and Sam Hinds   Is this an AI newsroom?

John Garrett   A surprisingly good year

Shaydanay Urbani and Nancy Watzman   Local collaboration is key to slowing misinformation

Christoph Mergerson   Black Americans will demand more from journalism

Mike Caulfield   2021’s misinformation will look a lot like 2020’s (and 2019’s, and…)

Jer Thorp   Fewer pixels, more cardboard

Jennifer Choi   What have we done for you lately?

Cherian George   Enter the lamb warriors

Logan Jaffe   History as a reporting tool

Sonali Prasad   Making disaster journalism that cuts through the noise

Gabe Schneider   Another year of empty promises on diversity

Whitney Phillips   Facts are an insufficient response to falsehoods

Linda Solomon Wood   Canada steps up for journalism

Matt Skibinski   Misinformation won’t stop unless we stop it

José Zamora   Walking the talk on diversity

Stefanie Murray and Anthony Advincula   Expect to see more translations and non-English content

Benjamin Toff   Beltway reporting gets normal again, for better and for worse

Kristen Muller   Engaged journalism scales

Kawandeep Virdee   Goodbye, doomscroll

Nonny de la Pena   News reaches the third dimension

Cory Haik   Be essential

Steve Henn   Has independent podcasting peaked?

Tauhid Chappell and Mike Rispoli   Defund the crime beat

Tim Carmody   Spotify will make big waves in video

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   Stop pretending publishers are a united front

Talmon Joseph Smith   The media rejects deficit hawkery

Tshepo Tshabalala   Go niche

Rishad Patel   From direct-to-consumer to direct-to-believers

Jessica Clark   News becomes plural

Sumi Aggarwal   News literacy programs aren’t child’s play

Burt Herman   Journalists build post-Facebook digital communities

Laura E. Davis   The focus turns to newsroom leaders for lasting change

David Skok   A pandemic-prompted wave of consolidation

Pablo Boczkowski   Audiences have revolted. Will newsrooms adapt?

Cory Bergman   The year after a thousand earthquakes

Zainab Khan   From understanding to feeling

Catalina Albeanu   Publish less, listen more

Edward Roussel   Tech companies get aggressive in local

Julia B. Chan and Kim Bui   Millennials are ready to run things

Francesca Tripodi   Don’t expect breaking up Google and Facebook to solve our information woes

Renée Kaplan   Falling in love with your subscription

Robert Hernandez   Data and shame

Celeste Headlee   The rise of radical newsroom transparency

Tamar Charney   Public radio has a midlife crisis

Kerri Hoffman   Protecting podcasting’s open ecosystem

Matt DeRienzo   Citizen truth brigades steer us back toward reality

Gonzalo del Peon   Collaborations expand from newsrooms to the business side

Kate Myers   My son will join every Zoom call in our industry

Jeremy Gilbert   Human-centered journalism

Annie Rudd   Newsrooms grow less comfortable with the “view from above”

Ariane Bernard   Going solo is still only a path for the few

Tonya Mosley   True equity means ownership

Nabiha Syed   Newsrooms quit their toxic relationships

Ryan Kellett   The bundle gets bundled

Hossein Derakhshan   Mass personalization of truth

A.J. Bauer   The year of MAGAcal thinking

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   The download, podcasting’s metric king, gets dethroned

Sue Cross   A global consensus around the kind of news we need to save

María Sánchez Díez   Traffic will plummet — and it’ll be ok

Nisha Chittal   The year we stop pivoting

Errin Haines   Let’s normalize women’s leadership

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting dodged a bullet in 2020, but 2021 will be harder

Ariel Zirulnick   Local newsrooms question their paywalls

Imaeyen Ibanga   Journalism gets unmasked

Colleen Shalby   The definition of good journalism shifts

Doris Truong   Indigenous issues get long-overdue mainstream coverage

Ernie Smith   Entrepreneurship on rails

Andrew Donohue   The rise of the democracy beat

Jennifer Brandel   A sneak peak at power mapping, 2073’s top innovation

Anna Nirmala   Local news orgs grasp the urgency of community roots

John Ketchum   More journalists of color become newsroom founders

C.W. Anderson   Journalism changed under Trump — will it keep changing under Biden?

Rick Berke   Virtual events are here to stay

Alfred Hermida and Oscar Westlund   The virus ups data journalism’s game

An Xiao Mina   2020 isn’t a black swan — it’s a yellow canary

Megan McCarthy   Readers embrace a low-information diet

Bo Hee Kim   Newsrooms create an intentional and collaborative culture

Candis Callison   Calling it a crisis isn’t enough (if it ever was)

Marcus Mabry   News orgs adapt to a post-Trump world (with Trump still in it)

Jody Brannon   People won’t renew

John Saroff   Covid sparks the growth of independent local news sites

Rachel Glickhouse   Journalists will be kinder to each other — and to themselves

Sam Ford   We’ll find better ways to archive our work

Sarah Marshall   The year audiences need extra cheer

Natalie Meade   Journalism enters rehab

Ben Collins   We need to learn how to talk to (and about) accidental conspiracists

Michael W. Wagner   Fractured democracy, fractured journalism

Joanne McNeil   Newsrooms push back against Ivy League cronyism

Jacqué Palmer   The rise of the plain-text email newsletter

Mandy Jenkins   You build trust by helping your readers

Mariano Blejman   It’s time to challenge autocompleted journalism

Heidi Tworek   A year of news mocktails

Ashton Lattimore   Remote work helps level the playing field in an insular industry

Jim Friedlich   A newspaper renaissance reached by stopping the presses

Alicia Bell and Simon Galperin   Media reparations now

Zizi Papacharissi   The year we rebuild the infrastructure of truth

Joshua Darr   Legislatures will tackle the local news crisis

Raney Aronson-Rath   To get past information divides, we need to understand them first

Mark Stenberg   The rise of the journalist-influencer

Hadjar Benmiloud   Get representative, or die trying

Victor Pickard   The commercial era for local journalism is over

Danielle C. Belton   A decimated media rededicates itself to truth

Samantha Ragland   The year of journalists taking initiative

Beena Raghavendran   Journalism gets fused with art

Basile Simon   Graphics, unite

james Wahutu   Journalists still wrongly think the U.S. is different

Ray Soto   The news gets spatial

Brian Moritz   The year sports journalism changes for good

Moreno Cruz Osório   In Brazil, a push for pluralism

Cindy Royal   J-school grads maintain their optimism and adaptability

Jonas Kaiser   Toward a wehrhafte journalism

Masuma Ahuja   We’ll remember how interconnected our world is

Rachel Schallom   The rise of nonprofit journalism continues

Parker Molloy   The press will risk elevating a Shadow President Trump

Marissa Evans   Putting community trauma into context

Julia Angwin   Show your (computational) work

Pia Frey   Building growth through tastemakers and their communities

Jean Friedman-Rudovsky and Cassie Haynes   A shift from conversation to action

Marie Shanahan   Journalism schools stop perpetuating the status quo

Andrew Ramsammy   Stop being polite and start getting real

Joni Deutsch   Local arts and music make journalism more joyous

Nico Gendron   Ask your readers to help build your products

Charo Henríquez   A new path to leadership

M. Scott Havens   Traditional pay TV will embrace the disruption

David Chavern   Local video finally gets momentum

Brandy Zadrozny   Misinformation fatigue sets in

Ståle Grut   Network analysis enters the journalism toolbox

Mike Ananny   Toward better tech journalism

Don Day   Business first, journalism second