True equity means ownership

“Your intellectual property is like your child. Think hard about who gets to hold her, keep her, make money off of her.”

It almost feels too simple, right?

For far too long, newsroom leaders have been wringing their hands over how to serve Black and brown communities. How many diversity initiatives, recruitment efforts, and implicit-bias trainings do we have to endure without the follow-through?

The spring and summer of 2020 ripped the blinders off of newsroom leaders who were ignorant to how systemic racism works and what oppression looks like.

In newsrooms, that oppression looks like the marginalization of Black and brown staff, the stifling of ideas, the crafting of narratives about POC that center White audiences, and the canceling of shows. Audiences of color aren’t blind to these decisions. In 2019, before the launch of Truth Be Told, my advice podcast for people of color produced by KQED, I held in-person community gatherings and asked potential listeners what they wanted from a show like it.

At every one of those gatherings, audience members asked some variation of: “How committed is this organization to a show that speaks to us?” “How long will this last?” “How do we know this won’t be just another program we’ll fall in love with and then, like so many others before, gets canceled?”

Like most journalists of color, I couldn’t promise them that wouldn’t happen.

In Hollywood storylines, it’s the characters of color that are always the first to die. In journalism, it’s the canceling of your favorite show with a Latina host. It’s wondering why you never see the biggest newspaper in your town covering your neighborhood. It’s listening to stories about you that aren’t for you.

What’s different now is that we can’t unlearn the lessons of this summer’s uprisings. It’s not good enough to hire staff of color without making changes that will make your news organization look, sound, and feel different — a truer reflection of America.

So in 2021, true equity means ownership.

More Black, brown, and Indigenous journalists will team up to start their own media companies. Podcasters, writers, and other creatives are also learning more about the value of their intellectual property and having full control over the journalism they create and produce.

We’ve seen this happen already. In the summer of 2020, podcast host and producer Misha Euceph bought full ownership of her podcast centering Muslim voices called Tell Them, I Am from Los Angeles public radio station KPCC. Euceph has since started her own production company.

“Your intellectual property is like your child,” Euceph wrote on Twitter. “Think hard about who gets to hold her, keep her, make money off of her.”

Journalists Akoto Ofori-Atta and Lauren Williams‘ venture is another example. In 2021, the two veteran journalists will launch Capital B, a Black-led nonprofit local and national news organization.

These won’t be easy ventures. The media landscape is flooded with choices for the consumer. But in these newly formed “for us, by us” media organizations, the audience will begin to see themselves reflected in the product, and perhaps we’ll see a growth in support under the membership model, choosing to support POC-led organizations with regular small donations.

Philanthropic organizations and private funders in 2021 may also turn their attention to these POC-led startups, and find interest in backing media that is closer to the ground in serving communities of color.

And I predict that toward the end of 2021, we will see many full-circle moments: some media legacy organizations, understanding the value of POC journalists, partnering with POC-led startups and finally getting closer to fulfilling the mission of journalism: truer, more inclusive coverage that reflects our world.

Tonya Mosley is co-host of NPR’s Here & Now and host of Truth Be Told.

It almost feels too simple, right?

For far too long, newsroom leaders have been wringing their hands over how to serve Black and brown communities. How many diversity initiatives, recruitment efforts, and implicit-bias trainings do we have to endure without the follow-through?

The spring and summer of 2020 ripped the blinders off of newsroom leaders who were ignorant to how systemic racism works and what oppression looks like.

In newsrooms, that oppression looks like the marginalization of Black and brown staff, the stifling of ideas, the crafting of narratives about POC that center White audiences, and the canceling of shows. Audiences of color aren’t blind to these decisions. In 2019, before the launch of Truth Be Told, my advice podcast for people of color produced by KQED, I held in-person community gatherings and asked potential listeners what they wanted from a show like it.

At every one of those gatherings, audience members asked some variation of: “How committed is this organization to a show that speaks to us?” “How long will this last?” “How do we know this won’t be just another program we’ll fall in love with and then, like so many others before, gets canceled?”

Like most journalists of color, I couldn’t promise them that wouldn’t happen.

In Hollywood storylines, it’s the characters of color that are always the first to die. In journalism, it’s the canceling of your favorite show with a Latina host. It’s wondering why you never see the biggest newspaper in your town covering your neighborhood. It’s listening to stories about you that aren’t for you.

What’s different now is that we can’t unlearn the lessons of this summer’s uprisings. It’s not good enough to hire staff of color without making changes that will make your news organization look, sound, and feel different — a truer reflection of America.

So in 2021, true equity means ownership.

More Black, brown, and Indigenous journalists will team up to start their own media companies. Podcasters, writers, and other creatives are also learning more about the value of their intellectual property and having full control over the journalism they create and produce.

We’ve seen this happen already. In the summer of 2020, podcast host and producer Misha Euceph bought full ownership of her podcast centering Muslim voices called Tell Them, I Am from Los Angeles public radio station KPCC. Euceph has since started her own production company.

“Your intellectual property is like your child,” Euceph wrote on Twitter. “Think hard about who gets to hold her, keep her, make money off of her.”

Journalists Akoto Ofori-Atta and Lauren Williams‘ venture is another example. In 2021, the two veteran journalists will launch Capital B, a Black-led nonprofit local and national news organization.

These won’t be easy ventures. The media landscape is flooded with choices for the consumer. But in these newly formed “for us, by us” media organizations, the audience will begin to see themselves reflected in the product, and perhaps we’ll see a growth in support under the membership model, choosing to support POC-led organizations with regular small donations.

Philanthropic organizations and private funders in 2021 may also turn their attention to these POC-led startups, and find interest in backing media that is closer to the ground in serving communities of color.

And I predict that toward the end of 2021, we will see many full-circle moments: some media legacy organizations, understanding the value of POC journalists, partnering with POC-led startups and finally getting closer to fulfilling the mission of journalism: truer, more inclusive coverage that reflects our world.

Tonya Mosley is co-host of NPR’s Here & Now and host of Truth Be Told.

Parker Molloy   The press will risk elevating a Shadow President Trump

Jeremy Gilbert   Human-centered journalism

Michael W. Wagner   Fractured democracy, fractured journalism

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

Natalie Meade   Journalism enters rehab

Andrew Donohue   The rise of the democracy beat

Jody Brannon   People won’t renew

Cherian George   Enter the lamb warriors

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

Heidi Tworek   A year of news mocktails

Talmon Joseph Smith   The media rejects deficit hawkery

Sonali Prasad   Making disaster journalism that cuts through the noise

Brian Moritz   The year sports journalism changes for good

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

Taylor Lorenz   Journalists will learn influencing isn’t easy

Megan McCarthy   Readers embrace a low-information diet

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

Nabiha Syed   Newsrooms quit their toxic relationships

John Davidow   Reflect and repent

Tonya Mosley   True equity means ownership

Joshua P. Darr   Legislatures will tackle the local news crisis

Meredith D. Clark   The year journalism starts paying reparations

Marie Shanahan   Journalism schools stop perpetuating the status quo

Mark S. Luckie   Newsrooms and streaming services get cozy

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

Alicia Bell and Simon Galperin   Media reparations now

Gordon Crovitz   Common law will finally apply to the Internet

José Zamora   Walking the talk on diversity

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

Charo Henríquez   A new path to leadership

Janet Haven and Sam Hinds   Is this an AI newsroom?

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

Tim Carmody   Spotify will make big waves in video

Tamar Charney   Public radio has a midlife crisis

Burt Herman   Journalists build post-Facebook digital communities

Ryan Kellett   The bundle gets bundled

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

Joni Deutsch   Local arts and music make journalism more joyous

Colleen Shalby   The definition of good journalism shifts

Mark Stenberg   The rise of the journalist-influencer

Matt Skibinski   Misinformation won’t stop unless we stop it

Alyssa Zeisler   Holistic medicine for journalism

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

Julia Angwin   Show your (computational) work

Ernie Smith   Entrepreneurship on rails

Mike Ananny   Toward better tech journalism

Kawandeep Virdee   Goodbye, doomscroll

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

Nisha Chittal   The year we stop pivoting

Nicholas Jackson   Blogging is back, but better

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   Stop pretending publishers are a united front

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

Delia Cai   Subscriptions start working for the middle

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

Pia Frey   Building growth through tastemakers and their communities

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

Hadjar Benmiloud   Get representative, or die trying

Chicas Poderosas   More voices mean better information

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

Kerri Hoffman   Protecting podcasting’s open ecosystem

Ståle Grut   Network analysis enters the journalism toolbox

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

A.J. Bauer   The year of MAGAcal thinking

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

Nonny de la Pena   News reaches the third dimension

Jim Friedlich   A newspaper renaissance reached by stopping the presses

Celeste Headlee   The rise of radical newsroom transparency

Anna Nirmala   Local news orgs grasp the urgency of community roots

Chase Davis   The year we look beyond The Story

Rick Berke   Virtual events are here to stay

Masuma Ahuja   We’ll remember how interconnected our world is

Loretta Chao   Open up the profession

Ariel Zirulnick   Local newsrooms question their paywalls

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

Kristen Muller   Engaged journalism scales

Steve Henn   Has independent podcasting peaked?

Christoph Mergerson   Black Americans will demand more from journalism

Jessica Clark   News becomes plural

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

Pablo Boczkowski   Audiences have revolted. Will newsrooms adapt?

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

Sara M. Watson   Return of the RSS reader

Gabe Schneider   Another year of empty promises on diversity

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

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

Rachel Schallom   The rise of nonprofit journalism continues

Renée Kaplan   Falling in love with your subscription

David Chavern   Local video finally gets momentum

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

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

Joanne McNeil   Newsrooms push back against Ivy League cronyism

M. Scott Havens   Traditional pay TV will embrace the disruption

Jacqué Palmer   The rise of the plain-text email newsletter

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

Gonzalo del Peon   Collaborations expand from newsrooms to the business side

Robert Hernandez   Data and shame

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

Francesco Zaffarano   The year we ask the audience what it needs

J. Siguru Wahutu   Journalists still wrongly think the U.S. is different

Beena Raghavendran   Journalism gets fused with art

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

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

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

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

Jennifer Choi   What have we done for you lately?

Danielle C. Belton   A decimated media rededicates itself to truth

Nico Gendron   Ask your readers to help build your products

Astead W. Herndon   The Trump-sized window of the media caring about race closes again

Mariano Blejman   It’s time to challenge autocompleted journalism

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

John Ketchum   More journalists of color become newsroom founders

Edward Roussel   Tech companies get aggressive in local

John Garrett   A surprisingly good year

Whitney Phillips   Facts are an insufficient response to falsehoods

Catalina Albeanu   Publish less, listen more

Garance Franke-Ruta   Rebundling content, rebuilding connections

Cory Haik   Be essential

John Saroff   Covid sparks the growth of independent local news sites

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

Ray Soto   The news gets spatial

Kevin D. Grant   Parachute journalism goes away for good

Anthony Nadler   Journalism struggles to find a new model of legitimacy

Mandy Jenkins   You build trust by helping your readers

Andrew Ramsammy   Stop being polite and start getting real

Jonas Kaiser   Toward a wehrhafte journalism

Tshepo Tshabalala   Go niche

Doris Truong   Indigenous issues get long-overdue mainstream coverage

Tauhid Chappell and Mike Rispoli   Defund the crime beat

Samantha Ragland   The year of journalists taking initiative

Bo Hee Kim   Newsrooms create an intentional and collaborative culture

Jer Thorp   Fewer pixels, more cardboard

Linda Solomon Wood   Canada steps up for journalism

Cory Bergman   The year after a thousand earthquakes

Zainab Khan   From understanding to feeling

Marissa Evans   Putting community trauma into context

Brandy Zadrozny   Misinformation fatigue sets in

Sarah Marshall   The year audiences need extra cheer

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

Amara Aguilar   Journalism schools emphasize listening

Don Day   Business first, journalism second

David Skok   A pandemic-prompted wave of consolidation

Hossein Derakhshan   Mass personalization of truth

Victor Pickard   The commercial era for local journalism is over

Cindy Royal   J-school grads maintain their optimism and adaptability

Jesse Holcomb   Genre erosion in nonprofit journalism

Imaeyen Ibanga   Journalism gets unmasked

Errin Haines   Let’s normalize women’s leadership

Zizi Papacharissi   The year we rebuild the infrastructure of truth

Moreno Cruz Osório   In Brazil, a push for pluralism

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

Rodney Gibbs   Zooming beyond talking heads

Logan Jaffe   History as a reporting tool

Ben Werdmuller   The web blooms again

Basile Simon   Graphics, unite

Matt DeRienzo   Citizen truth brigades steer us back toward reality

Sarah Stonbely   Videoconferencing brings more geographic diversity