What have we done for you lately?

“How does your news organization help audiences cut through the noise to get the information they need to civically empower themselves?”

Being based at a journalism school, I’m constantly reminded of why people are drawn to journalism: to have a platform from which to make the world a better place, especially when we crave ways to reconnect with our own sense of humanity.

Throughout the pandemic, George Floyd, and the U.S. presidential election, there have been countless opportunities for us to help the world understand why journalism is a vital public service. But in 2021, the newsrooms that thrive will be those that leverage the moment to make the case for journalism that helps save lives and sticks up for democracy.

Here are a few questions newsrooms should be able to answer in a substantive way to ensure their own relevance and sustainability for 2021:

  • How has your news organization contributed to healing the civic discourse in 2021? How have your journalists contributed to repairing the rhetorical toxicity that’s been normalized over the past four years?
  • How has your news organization prioritized credibility with its communities of coverage? How has it measured trust from these communities — surveys, conversations, outreach? How do these metrics translate in performance evaluations for reporters and editors?
  • How does your news organization help audiences cut through the noise to get the information they need to civically empower themselves? How do you measure that? How do you reward journalists and teams who do it effectively?
  • How does your news organization audit budget decisions to reflect putting your community interests first, including having their stories told responsibly and accurately? If a reporter clearly shows a skillset that strengthens trust and credibility with the audiences you serve, do you reward or punish them? (That includes revisiting how your journalists show up on Twitter.)

I see a lot of lone journalists doing this work, but I believe that if a news organization knew how to institutionally answer these questions, we could broaden how we think about sustainability — not only through memberships and subscriptions, but also through new philanthropic avenues that seek to strengthen communities and can see how journalism is a part of that formula.

I see all the pain we’ve collectively endured in 2020 as an opportunity for 2021 — but not unless we get real when it comes to re-evaluating our values and priorities, and how they translate to actual policies and newsroom-wide decision-making.

Jennifer Choi is managing director of the News Integrity Initiative and equity initiatives director at CUNY’s Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.

Being based at a journalism school, I’m constantly reminded of why people are drawn to journalism: to have a platform from which to make the world a better place, especially when we crave ways to reconnect with our own sense of humanity.

Throughout the pandemic, George Floyd, and the U.S. presidential election, there have been countless opportunities for us to help the world understand why journalism is a vital public service. But in 2021, the newsrooms that thrive will be those that leverage the moment to make the case for journalism that helps save lives and sticks up for democracy.

Here are a few questions newsrooms should be able to answer in a substantive way to ensure their own relevance and sustainability for 2021:

  • How has your news organization contributed to healing the civic discourse in 2021? How have your journalists contributed to repairing the rhetorical toxicity that’s been normalized over the past four years?
  • How has your news organization prioritized credibility with its communities of coverage? How has it measured trust from these communities — surveys, conversations, outreach? How do these metrics translate in performance evaluations for reporters and editors?
  • How does your news organization help audiences cut through the noise to get the information they need to civically empower themselves? How do you measure that? How do you reward journalists and teams who do it effectively?
  • How does your news organization audit budget decisions to reflect putting your community interests first, including having their stories told responsibly and accurately? If a reporter clearly shows a skillset that strengthens trust and credibility with the audiences you serve, do you reward or punish them? (That includes revisiting how your journalists show up on Twitter.)

I see a lot of lone journalists doing this work, but I believe that if a news organization knew how to institutionally answer these questions, we could broaden how we think about sustainability — not only through memberships and subscriptions, but also through new philanthropic avenues that seek to strengthen communities and can see how journalism is a part of that formula.

I see all the pain we’ve collectively endured in 2020 as an opportunity for 2021 — but not unless we get real when it comes to re-evaluating our values and priorities, and how they translate to actual policies and newsroom-wide decision-making.

Jennifer Choi is managing director of the News Integrity Initiative and equity initiatives director at CUNY’s Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism.

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

Francesco Zaffarano   The year we ask the audience what it needs

Jim Friedlich   A newspaper renaissance reached by stopping the presses

Heidi Tworek   A year of news mocktails

Loretta Chao   Open up the profession

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

Andrew Donohue   The rise of the democracy beat

Chase Davis   The year we look beyond The Story

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

Matt Skibinski   Misinformation won’t stop unless we stop it

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

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

Beena Raghavendran   Journalism gets fused with art

Gordon Crovitz   Common law will finally apply to the Internet

Mariano Blejman   It’s time to challenge autocompleted journalism

Pablo Boczkowski   Audiences have revolted. Will newsrooms adapt?

Mark S. Luckie   Newsrooms and streaming services get cozy

Doris Truong   Indigenous issues get long-overdue mainstream coverage

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

Amara Aguilar   Journalism schools emphasize listening

Tshepo Tshabalala   Go niche

Ernie Smith   Entrepreneurship on rails

John Davidow   Reflect and repent

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

Pia Frey   Building growth through tastemakers and their communities

Logan Jaffe   History as a reporting tool

Mike Ananny   Toward better tech journalism

Kerri Hoffman   Protecting podcasting’s open ecosystem

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

Anthony Nadler   Journalism struggles to find a new model of legitimacy

Tauhid Chappell and Mike Rispoli   Defund the crime beat

Anna Nirmala   Local news orgs grasp the urgency of community roots

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

Cory Bergman   The year after a thousand earthquakes

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

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

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

Jacqué Palmer   The rise of the plain-text email newsletter

Bo Hee Kim   Newsrooms create an intentional and collaborative culture

Nisha Chittal   The year we stop pivoting

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

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

Matt DeRienzo   Citizen truth brigades steer us back toward reality

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

Jonas Kaiser   Toward a wehrhafte journalism

Jennifer Choi   What have we done for you lately?

Samantha Ragland   The year of journalists taking initiative

John Garrett   A surprisingly good year

Cherian George   Enter the lamb warriors

Parker Molloy   The press will risk elevating a Shadow President Trump

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

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

Whitney Phillips   Facts are an insufficient response to falsehoods

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

Basile Simon   Graphics, unite

Julia Angwin   Show your (computational) work

Sonali Prasad   Making disaster journalism that cuts through the noise

Jer Thorp   Fewer pixels, more cardboard

Andrew Ramsammy   Stop being polite and start getting real

Rachel Schallom   The rise of nonprofit journalism continues

Edward Roussel   Tech companies get aggressive in local

Ben Werdmuller   The web blooms again

Sara M. Watson   Return of the RSS reader

Janet Haven and Sam Hinds   Is this an AI newsroom?

Tamar Charney   Public radio has a midlife crisis

Cindy Royal   J-school grads maintain their optimism and adaptability

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   Stop pretending publishers are a united front

Brandy Zadrozny   Misinformation fatigue sets in

Rodney Gibbs   Zooming beyond talking heads

Alicia Bell and Simon Galperin   Media reparations now

Colleen Shalby   The definition of good journalism shifts

M. Scott Havens   Traditional pay TV will embrace the disruption

Kawandeep Virdee   Goodbye, doomscroll

Jesse Holcomb   Genre erosion in nonprofit journalism

Tonya Mosley   True equity means ownership

Ariel Zirulnick   Local newsrooms question their paywalls

Mandy Jenkins   You build trust by helping your readers

Steve Henn   Has independent podcasting peaked?

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

Tim Carmody   Spotify will make big waves in video

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

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

Kristen Muller   Engaged journalism scales

Marie Shanahan   Journalism schools stop perpetuating the status quo

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

Chicas Poderosas   More voices mean better information

Moreno Cruz Osório   In Brazil, a push for pluralism

Zizi Papacharissi   The year we rebuild the infrastructure of truth

Cory Haik   Be essential

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

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

Joshua P. Darr   Legislatures will tackle the local news crisis

Kevin D. Grant   Parachute journalism goes away for good

Ray Soto   The news gets spatial

Megan McCarthy   Readers embrace a low-information diet

Don Day   Business first, journalism second

Errin Haines   Let’s normalize women’s leadership

Danielle C. Belton   A decimated media rededicates itself to truth

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

Catalina Albeanu   Publish less, listen more

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

David Chavern   Local video finally gets momentum

Alyssa Zeisler   Holistic medicine for journalism

Victor Pickard   The commercial era for local journalism is over

Mark Stenberg   The rise of the journalist-influencer

Ståle Grut   Network analysis enters the journalism toolbox

Burt Herman   Journalists build post-Facebook digital communities

Renée Kaplan   Falling in love with your subscription

John Ketchum   More journalists of color become newsroom founders

Natalie Meade   Journalism enters rehab

Linda Solomon Wood   Canada steps up for journalism

Jody Brannon   People won’t renew

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

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

Masuma Ahuja   We’ll remember how interconnected our world is

Nabiha Syed   Newsrooms quit their toxic relationships

Imaeyen Ibanga   Journalism gets unmasked

Talmon Joseph Smith   The media rejects deficit hawkery

Delia Cai   Subscriptions start working for the middle

Rick Berke   Virtual events are here to stay

Nico Gendron   Ask your readers to help build your products

Zainab Khan   From understanding to feeling

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

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

David Skok   A pandemic-prompted wave of consolidation

Sarah Marshall   The year audiences need extra cheer

Brian Moritz   The year sports journalism changes for good

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

Hossein Derakhshan   Mass personalization of truth

Gonzalo del Peon   Collaborations expand from newsrooms to the business side

Christoph Mergerson   Black Americans will demand more from journalism

Jeremy Gilbert   Human-centered journalism

Sarah Stonbely   Videoconferencing brings more geographic diversity

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

Michael W. Wagner   Fractured democracy, fractured journalism

A.J. Bauer   The year of MAGAcal thinking

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

Joni Deutsch   Local arts and music make journalism more joyous

Gabe Schneider   Another year of empty promises on diversity

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

Charo Henríquez   A new path to leadership

Taylor Lorenz   Journalists will learn influencing isn’t easy

Meredith D. Clark   The year journalism starts paying reparations

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

Nonny de la Pena   News reaches the third dimension

Hadjar Benmiloud   Get representative, or die trying

Celeste Headlee   The rise of radical newsroom transparency

Joanne McNeil   Newsrooms push back against Ivy League cronyism

José Zamora   Walking the talk on diversity

Jessica Clark   News becomes plural

Ryan Kellett   The bundle gets bundled

Marissa Evans   Putting community trauma into context

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

Robert Hernandez   Data and shame

Garance Franke-Ruta   Rebundling content, rebuilding connections

Nicholas Jackson   Blogging is back, but better

John Saroff   Covid sparks the growth of independent local news sites