2
0
1
9

The news is dying, but journalism will not — and should not

“It is losing its cultural relevance after almost two centuries — and thereby its commodity value.”

The core crisis of journalism is not about business models, quality, ethics, or trust. It is that news, the heart of journalism, is dying. It is losing its cultural relevance after almost two centuries — and thereby its commodity value.

News was a cultural invention, according to media scholar James W. Carey, that emerged at a specific time and space for particular needs.

It was at the dawn of globalization when telegraph technology began to fundamentally change the way news was gathered and produced. Suddenly the world grew bigger after the break away from time and space which telegraph caused. The telegraph “allowed symbols to move independently and faster than transportation,” wrote Carey. The small but quickly expanding population of literate citizens started to situate itself in a very different world from fiction. “News both forms and reflects a particular ‘hunger for experience,’ a desire to do away with the epic, heroic, and traditional in favor of the unique, original, novel, new—news.”

Now after the invention of global satellite televisions, affordable international air travel, and of course the internet and social media, news has lost its monopoly on the sense of globality it once generated.

Meanwhile, in reaction to speedy and at times excessive and careless global movement of capital, goods, and work, more and more disillusioned people come to walk the opposite direction — from the global toward the local. Look at the rise of artisan shops, local markets, and craft movement, as well as the growing national, religious, and racial prejudices. Or look at how the local news now to most people (and social media platforms) mean selfies and stories from friends and family (or from celebrities who are our de-facto cousins) instead of city or state politics.

News used to be the main source of daily drama for the expanding literate class. It was what many people used as ice-breaker to communicate with their partners, colleagues and friends. But gradually with the invention of cinema, television, video games, YouTube, Twitter, and Netflix there are many other things than news to discuss at breakfast table — if there is still such a thing.

The result is a bifurcation: 1) A short-form journalism which is growingly produced by news makers than news outlets directly (tweets by politicians or local police or authorities) and few people are ready to pay for them; 2) A long-form narrative journalism in text, audio, and video which are symbolized by non-fiction books, documentary podcasts, and video documentaries — all with steady or growing market appeal.

The truth is that the news is dying, but journalism will not — and should not. If, as Carey once urged, journalism and democracy are synonymous with public conversation, the crisis of journalism can only be a reflection of the crisis of democracy.

The challenge for journalism in the years to come is to reinvent itself around something other than news, whilst resisting the seduction of propaganda and entertainment.

I personally think that post-news journalism will revolve around drama. This means we should make various experiments inspired by older artistic forms such as literature, theatre, cinema, photography and even music and dance.

Innovation in journalism should not only be about business models or technology, it should be also about radically new cultural forms and representation formats.

is a research affiliate at MIT Media Lab and a research fellow at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center.

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Angilee Shah   The year news orgs say “yes” to real leaders

Robin Kwong   Tech shouldn’t be the only field pollinating “news nerds”

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Glyn Mottershead and Martin Chorley   When a tech company pulls the plug on your story

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Simon Galperin   After capitalism’s fire, journalism’s secondary succession

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Zainab Khan   Publishers whose products can stand up to social media giants will win

Hossein Derakhshan   The news is dying, but journalism will not — and should not

Adam B. Ellick   Video forensic reporting goes mainstream — and local

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Pia Frey   You can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

Cristi Hegranes   A year to invest in the security of local journalists

Millie Tran   There is no magic — you’ve got this

Amy Schmitz Weiss   Local news isn’t where you thought it was

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Umbreen Bhatti   The story doesn’t end for the people we quote

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

james Wahutu   Think 2018 was bad? Wait until you see 2019

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

An Xiao Mina   The death of consensus, not the death of truth

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Claire Wardle   Forget deepfakes: Misinformation is showing up in our most personal online spaces

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Mike Rispoli and Craig Aaron   Government funds local news — and that’s a good thing

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Jenée Desmond-Harris   It finally sinks in that some people aren’t white

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Manoush Zomorodi   Tech will do for information overload what it did for mindfulness

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

Alyssa Zeisler   We expand what (and how and who) we serve

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Alexandra Borchardt   Newsrooms need to build trust with their journalists, not just the audience

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Stephanie Edgerly   It’s time to understand the un-audience

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

Amy King   We should listen to the kids (especially on Instagram)

Sarah Stonbely   Mapping the local news ecosystem — with scale but detail

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

Steve Myers   From trying to cover it all to covering what matters

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Frank Mungeam   Tonight at 11: News, sports, and climate change

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

Jennifer Dargan   You don’t build diversity through one-off training sessions

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

Cindy Royal   For journalism curriculum to change, its faculty needs disruption

Matt Waite   “I went to Node.js because I wished to live deliberately”

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Elisabeth Goodridge   Yes, they signed up — but our job’s not over

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Tyler Fisher   This is journalism’s do-or-die moment

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Efrat Nechushtai   Journalism wants to be your friend, not your teacher

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Heather Chaplin   Agree we’re partisan — for the democratic system

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Tshepo Tshabalala   Ahead of African elections, unlock partnerships with fact-checkers

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Rebecca Lee Sanchez   We are all actors in the running rampant of political theater

Betsy O'Donovan and Melody Kramer   The most beautiful sentence in 2019 is “No.”

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Raney Aronson-Rath   We learn “digital” doesn’t have to mean “short”

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

Frank Chimero   Leave the phone at home and put news on your wrist

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Carrie Brown-Smith   Advocating a healthy civic life is no journalistic crime

Mike Isaac   The old exit doors for digital media companies are closing

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Kjerstin Thorson   Time to get mad about information inequality (again)

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Elizabeth Bramson-Boudreau   A more sincere definition of “community”

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   A long, slow slog, with no one coming to the rescue

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Axie Navas   The traffic hunt, CMS battle, and magazine identity crises loom

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Tushar Banerjee   Interactive ads will be the new face of display advertising

Seth C. Lewis   The gap between journalism and research is too wide

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Hearken   Pivot to people

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Matt Karolian   Publishers come to terms with being Facebook’s enablers

Whitney Phillips   Our information systems aren’t broken — they’re working as intended

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

Jesse Holcomb   We’ll get better at making the case for local journalism

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

Jonathan Stray   More algorithmic accountability reporting, and a lot of it will be meh

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet