Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

“‘The algorithm knows best’ is now a laughably naive position to take, even for the companies that initially pushed that narrative.”

Next year the focus is going to be on gatekeeping mechanics. Who decides what is good? What is “good”? Because the problem with gatekeeping in media is both its overreach and absence. There is wood rot and some slats missing. We might need new gates.

Let’s start with the missing slats.

Now, ten years ago, someone answering this question might have predicted the rise of “curated content.” Instead, content ballooned as clickbait, hot takes, and, yes, fake news. Value of information is alienated from the volume of traffic a piece receives. Readers know this; many of them have experienced it firsthand, like watching a frivolous tweet of theirs go viral, while an important point, made subtly, sits on the timeline, with few likes or retweets. The abundance of content and cynicism about it means real demand for vetted digests and careful recommendation. Nuzzel is interesting, but the really great work in this space is (human-) edited newsletters like The New York Times’ . Next year we might see high profile collaborations to highlight work from various archives.

“The algorithm knows best” is now a laughably naive position to take, even for the companies that initially pushed that narrative. I would not be surprised if Netflix or Hulu reached out to Letterboxd power users to organize playlists next year, kind of like how fashion brands ask influential people on Instagram to create an “edit” of their collections. And for what it’s worth, if Twitter Moments weren’t so understaffed, I think people would be talking about it as the one thing the platform is doing right.

The wood rot calls for a systematic approach.

This year, we learned a number of media figures and institutions have been trading in false prestige. Gatekeeping was never as simple as “this is good” and “that is bad,” but the recent wave of sexual assault and harassment scandals revealed some hidden gears in the process. Much of the resulting commentary considers it in wider context, including abuse of power that might not be sexual in nature, but nevertheless encumbers women and people of color in their careers. After , social media users immediately brought up Ann Curry’s firing five years prior. When the story about broke, the conversation quickly moved to Brigid Hughes, and . Who exactly found Lauer’s hosting ability superior to Curry’s or Stein’s contributions to literature more worthwhile than the work of Hughes? Could it be that the gatekeepers need an extra set of eyes? Well, they have a whole Twitter stream full of eyes on them now.

A lot of these predators are themselves cultural gatekeepers. As the title of one of Rebecca Traister’s incisive pieces at The Cut put it, “.” Stein . Then there’s the abusive Amazon executive who passed on projects like “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Big Little Lies” in favor of work by, um, abusers like Woody Allen and David O. Russell.

What other qualified people were denied jobs, fellowships, and opportunities? What was fished out and what remains in publication slush piles? Who passed on the book proposals and pitches worthy of our attention? It is not enough to wonder about hypothetical women and people of color who never got a chance. I think there is going to be a big push for stories that name the qualified people who were shut out. I expect more profiles , on Karyn Kusama’s limited career opportunities in contrast with her peers like Darren Aronofsky or Christopher Nolan. I also expect broader discussion about biases and criteria. A bit of light shined on selection processes — traditionally conducted in secrecy — might help us arrive at fairer methods to uncover truly great work.

is currently working on a book about internet users for FSG.

Millie Tran and Stine Bauer Dahlberg   (Hint: It’s about your brand)

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

John Keefe   Scooped by AI

Eric Ulken   The year local publishers get smart(er) about change

Errin Haines Whack   At the ballot, it’s time to count black women

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

Richard J. Tofel   The platforms’ power demands more reporters’ attention

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Aron Pilhofer   We can’t leave the business to the business side any more

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Marcela Donini and Thiago Herdy   Collaboration is the way forward for Brazilian journalism

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

Andrew Losowsky   The year of resilience

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

Julia B. Chan   Looking for loyalty in all the right places

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   The Snapchat scenario and the risk of more closed platforms

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

Dan Shanoff   You down with OTT? (Yeah, DTC)

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

L. Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Alan Soon   The rise of start of psychographic, micro-targeted media

Hossein Derakhshan   Television has won

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Jake Levine   The return to now

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

P. Kim Bui   The reckoning is only beginning

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

Burt Herman   Things get real

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

Paul Ford   Go global

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Jesse Holcomb   Information disorder, coming to a congressional district near you

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

Susie Banikarim   R.I.P. Pivot to Video (2017–2017)

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

Jim Moroney   Newspapers have to be good enough for readers to pay for

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

Helen Havlak   Keywords, not publishers, power the world’s biggest feeds

Sara M. Watson   Feeds will open up to new user-determined filters

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

Tanzina Vega   It’s time for media companies to #PassTheMic

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Women of color will reclaim and monetize our time

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

salon-svadebny.com.ua/uslugy

shtory.ua/figurnye-lambrekeny

http://rbt.com.ua