There will be launches — and we’ll keep doing the work

“This constant cycle of two-steps-forward, two-steps-back can be disorienting, but it has allowed us to more quickly bring in new people, often those previously excluded from our newsrooms.”

It’s the end of the year — the end of a difficult year that saw layoffs and forced furloughs, mandatory unpaid time off and scheduled strikes over stagnant wages. But it’s still the end of the year, which means more is coming. That’s how it goes, year after year.

And, as it usually does, it will feel to many of us as though the industry can’t take any more — as though we’re constantly contracting. On December 1, Emily Ramshaw, co-founder and CEO of The 19th, tweeted: “So many extraordinary journalists across so many different newsrooms got laid off this week and it’s just…devastating. We have got to keep rethinking how we build news orgs…”

She’s right. And we will — that’s the bright spot. That’s the prediction.

There are entries in this package about improvements to processes, explorations of new platforms, and experiments underway to combat polarization and restore trust. Academics and practitioners both will look to the future and see change. That’s also how it goes, year after year.

That’s because media is always evolving. Some stability would be nice, I agree — or at least I do when thinking about myself and just how much work constant change can be, or how little interest I have in creating a TikTok distribution strategy. But while I don’t want to dismiss individual experiences (I’ve been through layoffs and know how life-altering they can be — see my bio) and while I recognize there are plenty of outlets built for the past that won’t survive in the future, in the aggregate, I believe the evolution is often for the better.

This constant cycle of two-steps-forward, two-steps-back can be disorienting, but it has allowed us to more quickly bring in new people, often those previously excluded from our newsrooms. It means we can explore new ideas and opportunities; we can reach new audiences. Every time, the media that steps forward looks a little different from the one that stepped back.

So while we work through a cold winter, I want to remind you — and myself — of just a few of the things that also happened this year in addition to Semafor’s widely covered launch. There will be more of this too.

  • Building on several launches in 2021, Axios started newsletters in Portland, Miami, Indianapolis, New Orleans, and several other cities across the country.
  • With $7.5 million in funding, Cleveland got a new nonprofit newsroom. With $2 million from the Ford Foundation, so did New Orleans, in Verite. The Baltimore Banner, which has already hired more than 50 journalists, is built on a $50 million commitment over four years, and another $20 million has already been earmarked for a launch in Houston.
  • Also in Baltimore, the Beat has been resurrected in order to “honor the tradition of the Black press and the spirit of alt-weekly journalism.”
  • In January, Grid launched with a goal of contextualizing the news through collaborative beat reporting.
  • Pluribus News is covering the nation’s capitals and state-level policy from D.C.
  • And Emily’s newsroom, groundbreaking for its coverage of politics and policy through a gender lens, is about to enter its fourth year of publishing.

And a few more predictions for the year ahead: Venture capitalists will realize journalism isn’t as easy as they once thought (see the shuttering of Andreessen Horowitz’s Future.com, which was launched in 2021 as part of what then felt like what would be a wave of attempts to bypass traditional outlets that tech founders sometimes see as combative); everything is a magazine now (The Washington Post is closing up its Sunday print magazine ostensibly to cut costs, but as newspapers and digital outlets have further adopted narrative longform, smart packaging, and many other elements more closely associated with magazines, it can be impossible to tell the mediums apart — expect more consolidation and confusion here); and micropayments still won’t happen, even if you want them to (and of course you want them to — everybody would love to pay pennies for a thing that should cost dollars, but that lesson has been learned).

Nicholas Jackson is the senior director of editorial at Built In and former editor-in-chief of Pacific Standard and Atlas Obscura.

It’s the end of the year — the end of a difficult year that saw layoffs and forced furloughs, mandatory unpaid time off and scheduled strikes over stagnant wages. But it’s still the end of the year, which means more is coming. That’s how it goes, year after year.

And, as it usually does, it will feel to many of us as though the industry can’t take any more — as though we’re constantly contracting. On December 1, Emily Ramshaw, co-founder and CEO of The 19th, tweeted: “So many extraordinary journalists across so many different newsrooms got laid off this week and it’s just…devastating. We have got to keep rethinking how we build news orgs…”

She’s right. And we will — that’s the bright spot. That’s the prediction.

There are entries in this package about improvements to processes, explorations of new platforms, and experiments underway to combat polarization and restore trust. Academics and practitioners both will look to the future and see change. That’s also how it goes, year after year.

That’s because media is always evolving. Some stability would be nice, I agree — or at least I do when thinking about myself and just how much work constant change can be, or how little interest I have in creating a TikTok distribution strategy. But while I don’t want to dismiss individual experiences (I’ve been through layoffs and know how life-altering they can be — see my bio) and while I recognize there are plenty of outlets built for the past that won’t survive in the future, in the aggregate, I believe the evolution is often for the better.

This constant cycle of two-steps-forward, two-steps-back can be disorienting, but it has allowed us to more quickly bring in new people, often those previously excluded from our newsrooms. It means we can explore new ideas and opportunities; we can reach new audiences. Every time, the media that steps forward looks a little different from the one that stepped back.

So while we work through a cold winter, I want to remind you — and myself — of just a few of the things that also happened this year in addition to Semafor’s widely covered launch. There will be more of this too.

  • Building on several launches in 2021, Axios started newsletters in Portland, Miami, Indianapolis, New Orleans, and several other cities across the country.
  • With $7.5 million in funding, Cleveland got a new nonprofit newsroom. With $2 million from the Ford Foundation, so did New Orleans, in Verite. The Baltimore Banner, which has already hired more than 50 journalists, is built on a $50 million commitment over four years, and another $20 million has already been earmarked for a launch in Houston.
  • Also in Baltimore, the Beat has been resurrected in order to “honor the tradition of the Black press and the spirit of alt-weekly journalism.”
  • In January, Grid launched with a goal of contextualizing the news through collaborative beat reporting.
  • Pluribus News is covering the nation’s capitals and state-level policy from D.C.
  • And Emily’s newsroom, groundbreaking for its coverage of politics and policy through a gender lens, is about to enter its fourth year of publishing.

And a few more predictions for the year ahead: Venture capitalists will realize journalism isn’t as easy as they once thought (see the shuttering of Andreessen Horowitz’s Future.com, which was launched in 2021 as part of what then felt like what would be a wave of attempts to bypass traditional outlets that tech founders sometimes see as combative); everything is a magazine now (The Washington Post is closing up its Sunday print magazine ostensibly to cut costs, but as newspapers and digital outlets have further adopted narrative longform, smart packaging, and many other elements more closely associated with magazines, it can be impossible to tell the mediums apart — expect more consolidation and confusion here); and micropayments still won’t happen, even if you want them to (and of course you want them to — everybody would love to pay pennies for a thing that should cost dollars, but that lesson has been learned).

Nicholas Jackson is the senior director of editorial at Built In and former editor-in-chief of Pacific Standard and Atlas Obscura.

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Emily Nonko   Incarcerated reporters get more bylines

Alexandra Borchardt   The year of the climate journalism strategy

A.J. Bauer   Covering the right wrong

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Michael Schudson   Journalism gets more and more difficult

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Jonas Kaiser   Rejecting the “free speech” frame

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Josh Schwartz   The AI spammers are coming

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Amy Schmitz Weiss   Journalism education faces a crossroads

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Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Well-being will become a core tenet of journalism

Ariel Zirulnick   Journalism doubles down on user needs

Moreno Cruz Osório   Brazilian journalism turns wounds into action

Kirstin McCudden   We’ll codify protection of journalism and newsgathering

Christina Shih   Shared values move from nice-to-haves to essentials

Pia Frey   Publishers start polling their users at scale

Alex Perry   New paths to transparency without Twitter

Nikki Usher   This is the year of the RSS reader. (Really!)

AX Mina   Journalism in a time of permacrisis

Eric Holthaus   As social media fragments, marginalized voices gain more power

Kaitlin C. Miller   Harassment in journalism won’t get better, but we’ll talk about it more openly

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Masuma Ahuja   Journalism starts working for and with its communities

S. Mitra Kalita   “Everything sucks. Good luck to you.”

Julia Angwin   Democracies will get serious about saving journalism

John Davidow   A year of intergenerational learning

Sarah Alvarez   Dream bigger or lose out

Don Day   The news about the news is bad. I’m optimistic.

Nicholas Jackson   There will be launches — and we’ll keep doing the work

Juleyka Lantigua   Newsrooms recognize women of color as the canaries in the coal mine

Leezel Tanglao   Community partnerships drive better reporting

Snigdha Sur   Newsrooms get nimble in a recession

Ryan Kellett   Airline-like loyalty programs try to tie down news readers

Joe Amditis   AI throws a lifeline to local publishers

Mael Vallejo   More threats to press freedom across the Americas

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Journalists productively harness generative AI tools

Dominic-Madori Davis   Everyone finally realizes the need for diverse voices in tech reporting

Francesco Zaffarano   There is no end of “social media”

Jim VandeHei   There is no “peak newsletter”

Anika Anand   Independent news businesses lead the way on healthy work cultures

Richard Tofel   The press might get better at vetting presidential candidates

Taylor Lorenz   The “creator economy” will be astroturfed

Mariana Moura Santos   A woman who speaks is a woman who changes the world

Doris Truong   Workers demand to be paid what the job is worth

Mar Cabra   The inevitable mental health revolution

Eric Thurm   Journalists think of themselves as workers

Alan Henry   A reckoning with why trust in news is so low

Mary Walter-Brown and Tristan Loper   Mission-driven metrics become our North Star

Karina Montoya   More reporters on the antitrust beat

Cassandra Etienne   Local news fellowships will help fight newsroom inequities

Martina Efeyini   Talk to Gen Z. They’re the experts of Gen Z.

Molly de Aguiar and Mandy Van Deven   Narrative change trend brings new money to journalism

Michael W. Wagner   The backlash against pro-democracy reporting is coming

Wilson Liévano   Diaspora journalism takes the next step

Simon Galperin   Philanthropy stops investing in corporate media

Jennifer Brandel   AI couldn’t care less. Journalists will care more. 

Bill Grueskin   Local news will come to rely on AI

Dannagal G. Young   Stop rewarding elite performances of identity threat

Jessica Maddox   Journalists keep getting manipulated by internet culture

Stefanie Murray   The year U.S. media stops screwing around and becomes pro-democracy

Sue Schardt   Toward a new poetics of journalism

Christoph Mergerson   The rot at the core of the news business

Zizi Papacharissi   Platforms are over

David Skok   Renewed interest in human-powered reporting

Ryan Nave   Citizen journalism, but make it equitable

Hillary Frey   Death to the labor-intensive memo for prospective hires

Parker Molloy   We’ll reach new heights of moral panic

Larry Ryckman   We’ll work together with our competitors

Ayala Panievsky   It’s time for PR for journalism

Upasna Gautam   Technology that performs at the speed of news

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Eric Ulken   Generative AI brings wrongness at scale

Jaden Amos   TikTok personality journalists continue to rise

Alex Sujong Laughlin   Credit where it’s due

Janelle Salanga   Journalists work from a place of harm reduction

Megan Lucero and Shirish Kulkarni   The future of journalism is not you

Errin Haines   Journalists on the campaign trail mend trust with the public

Anna Nirmala   News organizations get new structures

Victor Pickard   The year journalism and capitalism finally divorce

Jesse Holcomb   Buffeted, whipped, bullied, pulled

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Joshua P. Darr   Local to live, wire to wither

Jennifer Choi and Jonathan Jackson   Funders finally bet on next-generation news entrepreneurs

Jim Friedlich   Local journalism steps up to the challenge of civic coverage

Al Lucca   Digital news design gets interesting again

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-check (no, really!)

Barbara Raab   More journalism funders will take more risks

Sarah Stonbely   Growth in public funding for news and information at the state and local levels

Jody Brannon   We’ll embrace policy remedies

Anthony Nadler   Confronting media gerrymandering

Joanne McNeil   Facebook and the media kiss and make up

Sam Guzik   AI will start fact-checking. We may not like the results.

Sumi Aggarwal   Smart newsrooms will prioritize board development

Cindy Royal   Yes, journalists should learn to code, but…

Laura E. Davis   The year we embrace the robots — and ourselves

Gabe Schneider   Well-funded journalism leaders stop making disparate pay

Andrew Losowsky   Journalism realizes the replacement for Twitter is not a new Twitter

Priyanjana Bengani   Partisan local news networks will collaborate

Kaitlyn Wells   We’ll prioritize media literacy for children

Ståle Grut   Your newsroom experiences a Midjourney-gate, too

Cory Bergman   The AI content flood

Brian Stelter   Finding new ways to reach news avoiders

Peter Bale   Rising costs force more digital innovation

Matt Rasnic   More newsroom workers turn to organized labor

Walter Frick   Journalists wake up to the power of prediction markets

Esther Kezia Thorpe   Subscription pressures force product innovation

Felicitas Carrique and Becca Aaronson   News product goes from trend to standard

Ben Werdmuller   The internet is up for grabs again

Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau   More of the same

Eric Nuzum   A focus on people instead of power

Kerri Hoffman   Podcasting goes local

Emma Carew Grovum   The year to resist forgetting about diversity

Jacob L. Nelson   Despite it all, people will still want to be journalists

Andrew Donohue   We’ll find out whether journalism can, indeed, save democracy

Amethyst J. Davis   The slight of the great contraction

Brian Moritz   Rebuilding the news bundle

Shanté Cosme   The answer to “quiet quitting” is radical empathy

Sarah Marshall   A web channel strategy won’t be enough

Dana Lacey   Tech will screw publishers over

Sarabeth Berman   Nonprofit local news shows that it can scale

Tre'vell Anderson   Continued culpability in anti-trans campaigns

Paul Cheung   More news organizations will realize they are in the business of impact, not eyeballs

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