The year of the Instagram Story

“Is making news content appealing in a Story format a challenge? Absolutely. But the window of opportunity is short, as Story-watching habits are being cemented and loyalties developed right now.”

There is one clear digital behavior that has seen explosive growth in 2017 and will leave other platforms in the dust in 2018 — the Instagram Story.

Even as a local media outlet, Stories are being viewed by 10-, 15-, 20,000 Charlotteans at a time, and still we’re just scratching the surface.

As new features are quietly unrolled by Instagram and its Facebook masterminds, our team is left to play strategic catchup. We haven’t started experimenting with Story Highlights. The fact that users can now follow hashtags (ours, #cltagenda, has been included in 25,000-plus posts) means we have the opportunity to build a community even beyond our direct followership.

And, because we are a business, we’re simultaneously experimenting with how to deliver messages there on behalf of our 25 sponsors. They need to be messages that we’re proud of, that are useful and relevant, and that are labeled transparently but in a way that isn’t jarring.

We even find ourselves preparing traditional story boards as we produce our Instagram Stories, re-examining yet again how to best make use of short(er)-form narrative.

Video clips are integrated with stills, one-liners of text are sprinkled with emoji — the end product feels casual, conversational, and often downright silly. But if we as Instagram users are spending an watching Stories, then we as producers have to treat them as what they are — the new TV.

Is making news content appealing in a Story format a challenge? Absolutely. But the window of opportunity is short, as Story-watching habits are being cemented and loyalties developed right now. It will be well worth the time for any media organization to create content worthy of the platform’s new, dominant role in American life.

is the chief operating officer of Charlotte Agenda.

Jennifer Coogan   The future is female

Dan Newman   A return to trust

Bill Keller   A growing turn to philanthropy

Claire Wardle   Disinformation gets worse

Cristina Wilson   The year of the Instagram Story

Nushin Rashidian   Publishers seek ad dollar alternatives

Debra Adams Simmons   And a woman shall lead them

Lucas Graves   From algorithms to institutions

Dannagal G. Young   Stop covering politics as a game

Sally Lehrman   Trust comes first

Caitlin Thompson   Podcasting models mature and diversify

Mary Meehan   Real lives are at stake in rural areas

Eric Nuzum   Beyond the narrative arc

Charo Henríquez   Training is an investment, not an expense

S. Mitra Kalita   The arc of news and audience

Mike Caulfield   Refactoring media literacy for the networked age

Steve Grove   The midterms are an opportunity

David Skok   Finding an information-life balance

Kinsey Wilson   Facebook and Google: Help out or pay up

Lanre Akinola   Making noise is not a strategy

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

Rachel Davis Mersey   AI, with real smarts

Amy King   Let’s amplify visual voice

Kim Fox   Audience teams diversify their approach

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

Imaeyen Ibanga   Longform video leads the way

Carlos Martínez de la Serna   The new journalism commons

Raney Aronson-Rath   Transparency is the antidote to fake news

Mary Walter-Brown   Show a little vulnerability

Taylor Lorenz   Social and media will split

Usha Sahay   Wallets get opened

Nathalie Malinarich   Peak push

Tim Carmody   Watch out for Spotify

Zizi Papacharissi   Women come back

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

Caitria O'Neill   The new court of public opinion

Adam Thomas   Sharing is caring: The year of the mentor

Ståle Grut   Reclaiming audience interaction from social networks

Will Sommer   The year local media gets conservative

Jacqui Cheng   Retailers move into content

Molly de Aguiar   Good journalism won’t be enough

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

Alice Antheaume   Are you fluent in AI?

Sue Schardt   Jump the niche

Mira Lowe   The year of the local watchdog

Trushar Barot   The Jio-fication of India

Nicholas Diakopoulos   Fortifying social media from automated inauthenticity

Paul Ford   Go global

Neha Gandhi   Filler killers

C.W. Anderson   The social media apocalypse

Rodney Benson   Better, less read, and less trusted

Pablo Boczkowski   The rise of skeptical reading

Frédéric Filloux   External forces

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

An Xiao Mina   Memes and visuals come to the fore

Sydette Harry   Listen to your corner and watch for the hook

Alexios Mantzarlis   Moving fake news research out of the lab

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

Evie Nagy   Pivot to mobile video frustration

Alfred Hermida   Going beyond mobile-first

Vivian Schiller   Pivot to tomorrow

Rick Berke   Value is the watchword

Almar Latour   Conquering calm

Nikki Usher   The year of The Washington Post

Amy Webb   Listen to weak signals

Jamie Mottram   From pageviews to t-shirts

Kathleen McElroy   Building a news video experience native to mobile

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

Mario García   Storytelling finally adapts to mobile

Kelsey Proud   No, no, no

Doris Truong   Computer vision vs. the Internet vigilantes

Andrew Ramsammy   The year ownership mattered

Jessica Parker Gilbert   Design connects storytelling and strategy

Andrew Haeg   The year journalists become relationship builders

Pete Brown   Push alerts, personalized

Borja Echevarría   TV goes digital, digital goes TV

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Seeking trust in fragmented spaces

Jennifer Choi   Standing up for us and for each other

Corey Johnson   The pro-fact resistance

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

Matt DeRienzo   A recession, then a collapse

Federica Cherubini   The rise of bridge roles in news organizations

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

Vanessa K. DeLuca   Women’s voices take center stage

Umbreen Bhatti   The trust problem isn’t new

Kristen Muller   The year of the voter

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

Daniel Trielli   The rich get richer, the poor scramble

Michelle Ferrier   The year of the great reckoning

Tracie Powell   The muting of underserved voices

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

Brian Lam   Sketchy ethics around product reviews

Ruth Palmer   Risks will grow for news subjects — especially minorities

Raju Narisetti   Mirror, mirror on the wall

Mandy Velez   texting is lit rn, fam

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

Niketa Patel   Live journalism comes of age

Jared Newman   Venture funding and digital news don’t mix

Rubina Madan Fillion   Unlocking the potential of AI

Joanne McNeil   Gatekeeping the gatekeepers

Monika Bauerlein   The firehose of falsehood

Heather Bryant   Building the ecosystems for collaboration

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

Damon Krukowski   Reviving the alt-weekly soul

Tamar Charney   We get serious about algorithms

John Keefe   Scooped by AI

Christopher Meighan   Passive partnership is in the rearview

Matt Boggie   The intellectual equivalent of the Dead Sea

Carrie Brown-Smith   Transparency finally takes off

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

Matt Thompson   Here come the attention managers

Joanne Lipman   Journalists inventing revenue streams

Luke O'Neil   The end is already here

Rodney Gibbs   Tech workers turn to journalism

Juliette De Maeyer   A responsible press criticism

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

Ray Soto   VR reaches the next level

Tanya Cordrey   Finally, the seeds of radical reinvention

Yvonne Leow   The rise of video messaging

Felix Salmon   Covering bitcoin while owning bitcoin

Cindy Royal   Your journalism curriculum is obsolete

Miguel Castro   The arrival of the impact producer

Elizabeth Jensen   Show your work

Marie Gilot   No assholes allowed

Cory Haik   Suffering from realness, pivoting to impact

Francesco Marconi   The year of machine-to-machine journalism

Laura E. Davis   Writing answers before you know the question

Sam Sanders   Shine the light on ourselves

Mariana Moura Santos   Think local, act global

Kawandeep Virdee   Zines had it right all along

Lam Thuy Vo   Breaking free from the tyranny of the loudest

Manoush Zomorodi   Self-help as a publishing strategy

Basile Simon   We need better career paths for news nerds

Mi-Ai Parrish   Blockchain and trust

Alastair Coote   The year of self-improvement

Michelle Garcia   Navigating journalistic transparency

Joyce Barnathan   It will be harder to bury the news

L. Gordon Crovitz   Serving readers over advertisers

Rachel Schallom   Better design helps differentiate opinion and news

Burt Herman   Things get real

Craig Newmark   Working together toward sustainable solutions

José Zamora   Revenue-first journalism

Jassim Ahmad   Thriving on change

Feli Sánchez   The year for guerrilla user research

Justin Kosslyn   The year journalists become digital security experts

Nancy Watzman   Know thy TV

Hossein Derakhshan   Television has won

Jennifer Brandel and Mónica Guzmán   The editorial meeting of the future

Emma Carew Grovum   Newsroom culture becomes a priority

Edward Roussel   Eyes, ears, and brains

Andrew Losowsky   The year of resilience

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   Skepticism and narcissism

Pia Frey   Address users as individuals

Corey Ford   The empire strikes back

Mariano Blejman   News games rule

Monique Judge   Letting black women tell their own stories

Jarrod Dicker   Honesty in advertising

Kyle Ellis   Let’s build our way out of this

Julia Beizer   A longer view on the pivot

Renée Kaplan   The year of quiet adjustments (shhh)

Hannah Cassius   The year of the echo-chamber escapists

Emily Goligoski   Looking beyond news for inspiration

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

Jim Brady   With the people, not just of the people

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

Dheerja Kaur   Fun with subscription products

Michael Kuntz   The only pivot that might work

Matt Carlson   Attacks on the press will get worse

Ariana Tobin   Too tired to tap

Nicholas Quah   Stop talking trash about young people

Jake Levine   The return to now

Amie Ferris-Rotman   More female reporters abroad (please)

Sam Ford   The year of investing in processes

P. Kim Bui   The reckoning is only beginning

Sarah Marshall   Loyalty as the key performance indicator

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Publishing less to give readers more

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