Pivot to Product

How did this year's journalism predictions fare?

You know what they say about predictions: "Those who have knowledge, don't predict. Those who predict, don't have knowledge.”

But what happens when knowledgeable people do the predicting?

Each year, Nieman Lab asks some of the smartest people in journalism and digital media what they think is coming in the next 12 months. As we near the end of 2019, let’s look back at a few of those predictions and how they played out this year.

📱The Year Product Leads Media — Alexis Lloyd and Matt Boggie

“We will start to see more senior leadership in news organizations that comes from design, product, and technology backgrounds.”

We’re definitely seeing this trend in media. Just a few months ago, The Washington Post announced that its vice president of product would be promoted to the masthead, the first in its 141-year history. Product has become integral to newsroom around the globe, as publishers are finally understanding the importance of good user experiences, personalization and are becoming less reliant on tech companies more focused on owned platforms, such as apps and newsletters.

The prominence of product people in newsrooms has been beneficial to more than just the reader. Product thinkers bring the spirit of open source, collaboration and learning to newsrooms, values that haven’t always been championed in the industry.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦Community Becomes a Core Newsroom Value Lauren Katz

“Newsrooms will no longer build community just because it’s nice; newsrooms will lean into the opportunity to connect with the people who are reading and sharing their work in order to have a devoted audience.”

It’s a simple, yet a novel concept. For so long, legacy media organizations were the gatekeepers of information. News was once a one-way street, and building community was optional. Not so much anymore. And for good reason. We’re seeing more and more engagement reporter roles opening up, reporters asking readers what THEY want to read, and even giving readers a chance to do the reporting. Good journalism is community building.

📧The Platform Tide is Turning — Ben Werdmuller

[Publishers] “could remain all-in on trusting technology companies to provide their audiences, their publishing platforms, and their monetization engines, outsourcing everything aside from content production until every aspect of their businesses is owned and controlled by someone else.

“Or they could take back control.”

Industry leaders are realizing that the best journalism is owned journalism.

What are some of your predictions for 2020? I’ll include a few in the next newsletter.

// adriana lacy writes the intersection. you can follow her on twitter at @adriana_lacy  //