Like many people in the news industry who write predictions at the end of the year for NiemanLab, I wrote a prediction that is more of a hope. But it’s one based on experience.
I’m seeing talented colleagues step up to lead change in their newsrooms. And they’re doing it at a deeper level than when I first started in this profession. They are changing the budgets, structures and decision-making of their organizations. They’re building spaces in existing companies or starting their own companies to do the work.
So when NiemanLab asked me to make a prediction, mine was one in support of those leaders. The ones who see the deep, structural issues that prevent our news media from the diversity, quality and great coverage it should be providing the public.
Here’s how I explained it in NiemanLab.
There are a many other predictions in the bunch that inspire me, and have similar hopes for the news industry in 2019:
- Seema Yasmin writes, “More journalists of color and queer journalists will establish platforms in new and emerging outlets — run by us.” Robert Hernandez says, “Whether you’re carrying tiki torches or saying ‘we just can’t find qualified women or people of color,’ we see you. And we will replace you.” Or as P. Kim Bui puts it so succinctly: “2019 is the year the misfits become the bosses.”
- Jenée Desmond-Harris asks the great, important question for crafting news: “Who exactly do we mean when we say ‘we’?” And Errin Haines Whack is ready for racism to be called out.
- Masuma Ahuja asks questions about what we could be doing in international news: “What would our international coverage look like if we handed the reins over to locals to report on the countries where they live, whose cultures, histories, and politics they are intimately familiar with?”
- Michael Rain has a good vision for curation, which might be coming back as Facebook’s role decreases.
- Check out the startling stats from Kainaz Amaria about who is taking the photos we see in the news. Anyone with subscriptions to Reuters, AP or Getty Images, listen up!
- Elite Truong writes about what happens if leaders don’t step up for change.
- The best leaders will be able to experiment (and fail) in the way Michael Grant describes. They will support deep reporting from their teams, the way Steve Myers explains.
- My last home was was Minneapolis, and now I’m in Arizona, so I appreciate the leadership and call to action by Juleyka Lantigua-Williams. News organizations should value and seek leadership from those who don’t live on the East Coast, but in my experience, they simply tolerate us. (And no, being in Boston or the Bay Area isn’t enough.)
In this year’s predictions, I’m also really interested in how some smart people are thinking about news media’s relationship to Facebook. In my first job at PRI, I designed editorial social strategy for the organization, and even then, six years ago, I was dismayed by the way public media was putting their supporter’s dollars into the private company. Here are some good articulations about what happened and what might happen going forward:
- Finally! Thank you Matt Karolian for being explicit about news media’s capitulation and enabling of Facebook’s dangerous actions.
- I do still appreciate Mandy Jenkins’ missive that journalists should continue to be social on social media. It’s useful not just for reporting, but for building loyal audience, the kind Emma Carew Grovum describes.
- But I don’t think Facebook should take a major role in business plans. With plummeting Facebook traffic, loyal audience rather than raw numbers, is once again top of mind for many publishers. In terrestrial radio, broadcast television and print media, we take it for granted that we need to invest in the people who make distribution happen. In digital media of all stripes, we need to do the same. Borja Bergareche has a hopeful analysis of how news organizations might respond change: “A new, more balanced era has arrived. And we should celebrate…and carry on. We’re optimizing ourselves to be a destination again, with newsletters, subscriptions, editorial marketing, and good (new) old journalism.”