2
0
1
9

Think 2018 was bad? Wait until you see 2019

“I think the end of 2018 is the top of the rollercoaster track. The descent, which we are not ready for, is going to involve a lot of screaming as we hurtle towards Brexit in 2019 and the 2020 U.S. elections.”

Predictions feel like an odd thing to do, especially when the forecast is greyer and gloomier than the current climate. Nonetheless, I will attempt to provide a prediction about the future of news and journalism in the U.S. and U.K. in 2019. I’ve often been accused of trading in gloom and doom, so in keeping with my reputation as a doom and gloom merchant, 2019 is going to be a struggle for media organizations in both countries.

The one factor tying all of these predictions together is the contraction of democratic space and the political rollercoaster the past few years have been. In one of my favorite tracks () by Wale, Jerry Seinfeld talks of life as a rollercoaster and once you’re at the top, all you can do is scream as you rapidly descend. Partly because you’re not ready for it, and partly because there’s no way to adequately prepare for the drop.

I think the end of 2018 is the top of the rollercoaster track. The descent, which we are not ready for, is going to involve a lot of screaming as we hurtle towards Brexit in 2019 and the 2020 U.S. elections.

Within the traditional media space, we can see the speed with which news and journalism have been co-opted by the state in recent years. In the U.S., after two years of covering the new political dispensation, news organizations have shown breathtaking naiveté in how to approach their new reality. From the constant coverage of every new controversial tweet to Jim Acosta’s banishment from the White House Briefing Room, journalism in the U.S. has continually shown its level of maladroitness in covering an administration that is both hostile to its very existence and adept at . In the U.K., we have seen news organizations struggle in their coverage of both Brexit and Facebook’s nefarious activities. One only needs to look at the fascinating work by Carole Cadwalladr (and her twitter timeline, ) to see how much trouble audiences in the U.K. are in. As the BBC, much like The New York Times, insists on presenting fringe racist and fascist ideas as “worth debating,” we see the expansion of fringe right-wing, racist, sexist, fascist echo chambers into organizations once revered as trustworthy, objective, and models for others to emulate. What we have seen is a steady weaponization of what Whitney Phillips calls by savvy fringe voices. In this moment of political crises in both countries, organizations have found themselves either scrambling to make sense of the world using approaches completely not suitable for the current reality or becoming too deferential to the state.

This is only going to get worse in 2019. Lies and factual inaccuracies will be presented as legitimate voices from “the other side.” One only need to look at climate change coverage in both countries, or even the rise of ignoble characters like Richard Spencer and Milo Yiannopoulos (in the U.S.) and Tommy Robinson (in the U.K.). Superfluous nods to “objectivity” will continue to be manipulated by the fringes to make sure they have a voice in legacy media. But perhaps the most disheartening thing will be the fact that the state, in both countries, will continue to use its privileged space in the media ecology to manipulate the narrative construction.

Unless journalists decide to take a stand and rethink the current status quo, 2019 will be darker and gloomier. If you think 2018 was bad, my advice for 2019 is to buckle up, because it’s going to be even bumpier. To audiences, my advice is the maxim caveat emptor. The daily deluge of panic-driven, vacuous, news coverage is about to shift into high gear.

is a fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard and will be an assistant professor at NYU in 2019.

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

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

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

Renan Borelli   Developing loyalty means developing your talent

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

Mike Caulfield   Ditch the media literacy cynicism and get to work

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

Salem Solomon   Correcting our corrections

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

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

Don Day   Timewalls and other reader revenue experiments

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

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

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

Francesco Marconi   The year of iterative journalism

Rishad Patel   A design system for responsible publishing

Candis Callison   Learn from Indigenous journalists on covering climate change

Zuzanna Ziomecka   News leadership gets an overdue upgrade

Elizabeth Dunbar   Local reporters reflect on what’s not important

Simon Rogers   Data journalism becomes a global field

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

Almar Latour   Reported facts, weaponized in service of action

Kevin Douglas Grant   A year to embrace journalism as public service

Andrew Donohue   Voting rights becomes the new climate change

Becca Aaronson   From bridge roles to product thinkers

Andrea Faye Hart   Doing less harm, not just more good

Eric Nuzum   The year of the DIY podcast network

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

Michael Grant   More newsrooms experiment their way to success

Marie Shanahan   Newsrooms take the comments sections back from platforms

Rick Berke   The year of loyalty

Pablo Boczkowski   Reimagining the media for post-institutional times

Andrew Ramsammy   The great re-pivot to audio

Winny de Jong   Data journalism goes undercover

Matthew Pressman   The battle over objectivity intensifies

Mariana Moura Santos   From pageviews to impact

Sue Cross   Return of the water cooler

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

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

Stefanie Murray   Local news wakes up and starts collaborating

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

Jared Newman   AI-generated fakes launch a software arms race

Francesco Zaffarano   Towards a rethinking of journalism on social media

Ben Smith   The pendulum starts to swing back

Sarah Marshall   A return to destination journalism

Heather Bryant   We are responsible for how we use our power

Soo Oh   Just showing our work isn’t enough

Joe Amditis   Give the audience a seat at the table

Jonathan Gill   Publishers build a common tech platform together

Jesse Brown   Canada’s subsidy for news backfires

Victor Pickard   We will finally confront systemic market failure

Julie Posetti   The year of the fight back

Joshua Darr   The nationalization of political news will accelerate

Gabriel Snyder   Journalism doesn’t fit well in a funnel

Peter Cunliffe-Jones   The focus of misinformation debates shifts south

Knight Foundation   A year of local collaboration

Dan Shanoff   Bet on sports gambling

Greg Emerson   Power to the user

Sarah Alvarez   Simplify and redistribute

Patrick Butler   Measuring impact will increase audience trust

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

A.J. Bauer   The coming splintering of conservative media

John Garrett   You can’t raise prices forever

Bill Grueskin   Toward a symphony model for local news

Nathalie Malinarich   Video — yes, video

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

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

Adam Smith   Platforms will have to help rebuild trust in news

Ståle Grut   A new dawn for 3D tech in journalism

Celeste LeCompte   Local news needs local conversation to survive

Zizi Papacharissi   Old interface, say hello to the new interface

Errin Haines Whack   Say it with me: Racism

Libby Bawcombe   Haikus of the news

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

Jean Friedman Rudovsky   Cross-newsroom collaborations strengthen communities

Nico Gendron   Reaching Generation Z beyond the coasts

Jim Friedlich   Meet Citizen Kane 2.0

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

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

LaToya Drake   Listen up: New stories, new storytellers

Rachel Glickhouse   Newsrooms will prioritize audience needs

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Readers are only getting started

Steve Grove   A reckoning for tech’s work with news

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

Cherian George   Fake news wins in Asia

Dheerja Kaur   A focus on problems, not platforms

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

Reyhan Harmanci   Selling more stories to Hollywood

Bill Adair   Another year fighting Trump’s falsehoods

Michael Rain   The year of the culturally relevant curator

Callie Schweitzer   The rise of the conveners

Jonas Kaiser   Catching up with “Neuland”

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

Chase Davis   We can acknowledge what we don’t know

Carolina Guerrero   Spanish-language audio blows up

Lauren Katz   Community becomes a core newsroom value

Mario García   The rise of content “pilots”

John Biewen   Podcasts keep getting better

Taylor Lorenz   Personal branding is more powerful than ever

Elizabeth Jensen   Going where the Acela can’t take you

Mandy Velez   Putting the social back in social media

Jake Shapiro   Podcasting is media’s slow food movement

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

Kyra Darnton   A shift to depth in video

Joel Konopo   Influencers become the new liberated power in Africa

Juleyka Lantigua-Williams   Podcasting battles East Coast bias

Joanne McNeil   Building a digital hospice

Ruth Palmer and Benjamin Toff   From news fatigue to news avoidance

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

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

Craig Newmark   The end of “loudspeakers for liars”

Ole Reißmann   The rise of vertical storytelling

Robert Hernandez   Racists and sexists get replaced

Nikki Usher   Three ways national media will further undermine trust

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

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

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

Nicholas Jackson   More transparency around newsroom decisions

Ernie Smith   The year we step back from the platform

Kainaz Amaria   We consider who’s behind the camera

Cory Bergman   Journalism as a technology service

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

Matt Skibinski   Quality and reliability are the new currencies for publishers

Ariel Zirulnick   Participation gets professional

Josh Schwartz   A pullback from platforms and a focus on product

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

Linda Solomon Wood   The year of the climate reporter

Adam Thomas   In Europe, foundations invest in news

Emma Carew Grovum   The year of the loyal reader

Thomas Hanitzsch   The rise of tribal journalism

Rachel Davis Mersey   Local news goes minimalist

Rubina Madan Fillion   Fighting the reality of deepfakes

Charo Henríquez   Pivot to journalism

Steve Henn   Smart speakers get smarter

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

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

Cătălina Albeanu   Being responsible for what we don’t know

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

Eric Ulken   The year you actually start to like your CMS

Kelsey Proud   Journalism becomes the escape

Jeremy Gilbert   AI finally becomes helpful

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

Angèle Christin   Algorithms and the reflexive turn

Shannon McGregor   More bogus embedded tweets in our stories

Hearken   Pivot to people

Dave Burdick   Seeing our blind spots

M. Scott Havens   Time to swing for the fences

Elva Ramirez   News — but make it cinematic

Gideon Lichfield   Goodbye attention economy, we’ll miss you

Annie Rudd   A more intimate aesthetic of politics — on Insta

Meredith Artley   Huge demand for…anything but politics

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

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

Kawandeep Virdee   Media wants to take care of you

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

Talia Stroud   Engaging people across lines of difference

Geetika Rudra   The year of actionable (local) journalism

Kristen Muller   Local news fails — in a good way

Laura E. Davis   More access, but not that kind

Borja Bergareche Sainz de los Terreros   Entering a more balanced era

Christa Scharfenberg and Vickie Baranetsky   The year of the lawsuit

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

Alexis Lloyd & Matt Boggie   The year product leads media

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

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

Colleen Shalby   Representation becomes more than a talking point

Seema Yasmin   We will create our own spaces

Justin Kosslyn   Text hits a tipping point

Sue Robinson   Reporters go on the offensive

Jeff Chin   We detox from Chartbeat

Mat Yurow   Content competition from the tech companies

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

Renée Kaplan   Our future could lie within our own organizations

Rodney Gibbs   A bright — and young — year for audio

Darryl Holliday   Let’s talk about power (yours)

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

Jack Riley   Facebook refugees, from ad revenue to news habits

Alexandra Svokos   Good luck convincing us millennials to pay

Mandy Jenkins   Fight the urge to run away from social media

Elite Truong   What do we owe the next generation?

Alberto Cairo   A year of uncertainty and confidence

Tamar Charney   Seriously: What do you do for people?

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

Julia Rubin   Meeting people where they are

Tim Carmody   Unlocking the commons

P. Kim Bui   The misfits become the bosses

Rebecca Searles   From silos to Swiss Army knife teams

Carl Bialik   Fatigued news consumers will pay more for less news

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

Peter Bale   Venture capital runs out of patience

Masuma Ahuja   Make foreign coverage less foreign

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

Kate Myers   Journalism continues to be bad for democracy

John Saroff   The pivot to reader revenue’s unintended consequences

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

Heba Aly   The rise of international nonprofit news

Nisha Chittal   The homepage makes a comeback

Shalabh Upadhyay   A culture clash on India’s growing Internet

Logan Molyneux   Seeing social media for what it is

Moreno Cruz Osório   Damaged credibility and a new threat in Brazil

Johannes Klingebiel   We all grow hooves

Monique Judge   Committing to the truth, calling out lies

Ben Werdmuller   The platform tide is turning

Brian Moritz   The subscription-pocalypse is about to hit

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