New books, new blogs, new Vines, and new competition. It’s going to be a good year.
Fusion’s Alicia Menendez and her production team taking selfies
2. Alexis Madrigal, Silicon Valley bureau chief, Fusion:
I’m excited to see digital networks metastasizing into other mediums, from TV to live events. People who have been forged by the speed, inclusiveness, and oddity of working on the internet are moving off the web in fascinating ways, and I can’t wait to see what happens when they do. Maybe it will be a train wreck? Or maybe the new distillations that result from the pressures and possibilities will produce wildly creative reporting, live events, magazines, companies, and TV shows.
3. Summer Anne Burton, editorial director, BFF:
The thing I am most excited about in media next year is diversity. We have a long way to go, but I’m so optimistic about 2015 after the changes I saw start to happen this year. There’s a snowball effect when media organizations broaden their recruitment networks and see that true diversity in many areas helps them do better work and reach more people. Plus, platforms like Twitter, Vine, Instagram, and YouTube have actually made it possible for reporters, writers, and entertainers to prove themselves and make their voices heard without the necessary connections, degrees, or the approval of the gatekeepers. I’m excited about this because it’s right, but even more so because I’m bored of sameness. I think the greatest chance we have for truly fresh, experimental, creative, and challenging media is for the people creating that work to come from a variety of backgrounds and be able to tell many different kinds of stories. I can’t wait to read, watch, and listen to them!
5. Hazel Cills, Rookie writer:
I’m excited, going into 2015, by all the women in top music and culture writing positions. Jessica Hopper’s EIC at the Pitchfork Review, music writer Julianne Shepherd is heading it at Jezebel, Naomi Zeichner is EIC at The Fader, Lindsay Zoladz is pop critic at NY Mag, Dodai Stewart is leading culture at Fusion, Caryn Ganz has been killing it all this year at RollingStone.com, etc. I love reading what these women have to say about music and culture, but when they’re calling all the shots at the publications they write for, even better.
6. Emily Gould, author of Friendship and co-owner of Emily Books:
Great new books were a bright spot of terrible 2014, for real, and 2015 is poised to be even better. Elisa Albert, Maggie Nelson, Gabby Bess, Nell Zink, Kate Atkinson, and, oh right, Jonathan Franzen all have new books coming out this year, and HarperCollins is finally republishing my favorite book O.A.T., Eileen Myles’ Chelsea Girls. !!!!
8. Jessica Hopper, editor-in-chief, The Pitchfork Review (and former Rookie music editor):
I am really excited about all the books and projects and developments that Rookie writers, contributors, and readers have coming out this year. So many people think of Tavi as, like, this one exemplary extraordinary teenager — this fluke of a go-getter (and maybe Lorde as the other). But there is a huge wave of young women coming up behind them that have been inspired and given a sense of permission, a sense of path, and alllll have shows, books, zines, bands, power, and are coming for our jobs. I am psyched for all of them to blaze past us.
10. Jazmine Hughes, contributing editor, The Hairpin:
Nothing excites me more than seeing incredibly-smart-capable-and-driven-women-getting-shit-done, which is why the thing I am excited about most in 2015 is the continual rise of Femsplain, Amber Gordon‘s love letter to the female voice and experience, launched this past October. But Jazmine, you run a different lady blog! Why would you be excited about another one? Well, random internet dissenter, all the ladyblogs are friends — yes, men, we all gather at the water cooler of the internet and laugh at you, and sometimes BeyoncÃ© FaceTimes in — and I’m happy to welcome Gordon’s self-made site into the group. Femsplain runs purely off of sweat, sass, and volunteers, and in a few short months has already carved out a space for women to be unabashedly honest and true; Gordon’s project is, I hope, just a harbinger of what is to come: a sea of spaces where women are welcome to be themselves. From us to you: Welcome to the club, Femsplain.
11. Lockhart Steele, Vox Media editorial director:
I’m excited for — and no, not at all terrified about — the all-out war for the digital space set to explode in 2015. It’s shaping up as a year of peak competition as the planets align for nearly every player at every major digital shop: BuzzFeed and Vice continuing massive hiring sprees at bureaus blanketing the globe; Gawker Media, with Tommy Craggs at the editorial helm and John Cook back on staff set to marshal a powerful scoop troop; Joe Weisenthal, Josh Topolsky & Co. cooking up something major in the kitchen at Bloomberg; Gabe Snyder plotting a new New Republic; the team at Fusion planning to unleash whatever the hell Felix Salmon, Anna Holmes, et al are planning to unleash; and A.J. Daulerio launching Ratter just to keep us all on our toes. It’s going to be a year of truly insane competition — and that’s exciting. (Not at all terrifying.)
12. Stacy-Marie Ishmael, editor, BuzzFeed news app:
MOBILE! Not just because it’s where audiences are, but because what publishers can deliver on mobile is getting better and more interesting and more immersive as the infrastructure — from bandwidth to ubiquitous Wi-Fi to operating system and device upgrades — improves.
14. Fiorella Valdesolo, writer, editor of Gather Journal:
I’m excited for the Bjork show retrospective opening at the MOMA in March because, well, BJORK.
15. Naomi Zeichner, editor-in-chief of The Fader:
The end of music criticism and a renaissance of music news. The wave of podcasts that will crop up in Serial‘s wake. Or the staff writers who will become better reporters in Serial‘s wake, because Serial made the mundane parts of reporting seem more sexy and writing up scoops usually makes more sense than podcasting them. The increasing obviousness that newsroom diversity “isn’t an ethical imperative, it’s a business one.” The New York Times Magazine‘s redesigned longform templates for web. And BuzzFeed’s news app, which will teach us all (or BuzzFeed, at least!) a lot about how readers behave on mobile.
16. Kate Ward, managing editor of Bustle:
I’m excited for the media to continue to be considered a flourishing business just years after we were knocked down by the recession in 2008. Since then, we’ve learned that creativity and innovation can help us overcome any obstacle and — even better — that readers expect creativity and innovation out of an industry that was once considered as dated as a Chumbawamba reference. I’m excited to see the landscape of media one year from today. Oh, and cats. I’m excited for more cats.
18. Jeet Heer, Canadian cultural critic:
Peering into the crystal ball of promised delights for 2015, there is much that is tantalizing (new Toni Morrison! Jonathan Franzen! George R.R. Martin! Zadie Smith! Star Wars!), but I want to single out a title I know nothing about: Adrian Tomine’s Intruders. I’m assuming that Intruders will be a graphic novel, Tomine’s first novel-length work since Shortcomings in 2007. Tomine is an increasingly powerful cartoonist, notable for his razor-sharp character studies and ability to capture moments of excruciating awkwardness and unease. I have high hopes for this book.
19. Alissa Walker, urbanism editor, Gizmodo:
I can’t wait to see how this whole Uber thing plays out.
20. Adam Serwer, national editor, BuzzFeed News:
I came up as a blogger, at a time when it was a medium with a lot of direct interaction between writers and a lot of competition that, while sometimes nasty, pushed people to be better. I think almost every media outlet has realized that the presumption that the internet always rewards the cheapest or least thoughtful material isn’t true. And I think that we are all now competing on the assumption that there’s a huge audience for journalism that deeply engages a story or an idea, and that can only push all of us to be better.
22. Amanda Fortini, freelance writer and contributing editor, Elle magazine:
Next year is a good one for autobiographical literary nonfiction by women. I’m particularly excited about Sarah Manguso’s Ongoingness, a fragmented, book-length essay about memory and time, and Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts, a personal-theoretical work about queer family making that explores the limitations of language when it comes to writing, talking, and thinking about gender. Both books are wildly original, and both are from Graywolf, which is publishing so much I want to read these days. I’m also looking forward to Heidi Julavits’ The Folded Clock, a diary she kept for a year as an adult. Julavits is such a smart writer; I’d read her to-do lists. Finally, there’s Sarah Hepola’s Blackout, a dark, funny, honest-to-the-bone account of getting sober. Hepola is a friend and former editor of mine, but even if she weren’t, I’d be eagerly awaiting this book.
24. Alex Balk, co-founder of The Awl:
2014 was the year in which we were stepping all over each other to declare the rebirth of personal blogging, newsletters, and podcasts. If all of these things really did experience some kind of renaissance, the inevitable follow-up has to be the revival of people letting their blogs die, giving up on their newsletters, and finding something better to do than bathe the world in the audible comfort of their own voices. Hopefully, 2015 will be the year in which everyone shuts up. I could not be more excited.