Alex T. Williams

Alex T. Williams was a 2016 API Research Fellow, conducting an analysis on the similarities and differences in how managers and staff view the transition to digital. He also was a 2015 API Research Fellow, conducting a research project about digital subscription models at U.S. newspapers. He is a doctoral candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

Recent work experiences and future plans

With the economic model underpinning much of the media system in flux, media workers have had a tumultuous experience. Our findings suggest that while managers feel slightly more secure in their job, and are slightly more likely to say they will still be working in journalism in five years, layoffs, furloughs, and paycuts have impacted […]

The skills and training that media workers value

As media organizations adapt to the contemporary media environment, greater emphasis is being placed on incorporating new digital practices and technologies, analyzing audience data, and experimenting with new business approaches. Despite much consternation over whether news organizations are changing too quickly or not quickly enough, less is known about how media workers themselves view these […]

Views on news quality and industry trends

The fact that the news industry faces challenges is no surprise. Which of those challenges people in newsrooms think most critical helps reveal where change may be most rapid. Our findings suggest that managers place greater emphasis on the economic model of journalism being broken and the need to experiment with new types of revenue. […]

Freelancing, service, and self-promotion

Outside of their primary job, what other responsibilities do media workers take on? Our findings suggest that media workers actively contribute to professional organizations, nonprofit organizations, and engage in freelance work.1 Possibly hinting at differences in professional priorities and needs, we find that managers are more likely to donate their time or skills. Staff members […]

The Innovation Divide: Similarities and differences in how managers and staff view the transition to digital

Editor’s note: Rather than slow, the pace of change in news in 2017 appears only to be accelerating. McClatchy’s new chief executive recently announced a program to speed up digital transformation in the newspaper chain’s 31 newsrooms. The multi-million dollar Knight-Lenfest Newsroom initiative (of which API plays a role) has expanded its team-centric process to […]

Summary and implications

When a media company’s performance is analyzed, managers are often criticized for the innovations that they have not implemented. When discussing a new approach in journalism, the views of staff members are rarely cited. And while reports tally how many people have been laid off, it is often difficult to measure anxiety over job security. […]

About the methodology and sample

The survey was conducted online through the lists of alumni of the 22 participating schools and was distributed through partner alumni email lists between April 14 and June 29, 2015, with the dates varying within that time frame among different schools. The survey was executed using the SurveyMonkey survey tool, with consultation from senior SurveyMonkey […]

How digital subscriptions work at newspapers today

Among the 98 U.S. newspapers with circulations over 50,000, the American Press Institute found that 77 of them use a digital subscription model (79%).1 This figure is similar to the Newspaper Association of America’s recent analysis, which surveyed publishers and estimated that 75% of newspapers use a digital subscription model. Publishers are converging around models […]

Early digital subscription models

In the 1990s and 2000s, most newspapers were hesitant to charge for content. Publishers feared that if they were the only newspaper charging for content, readers would simply shift to alternative sources. A few newspapers in the United States, however, adopted digital subscription plans before any others. These are the stories of those early models, […]

Experiments and future models for digital news subscriptions

Digital subscriptions reached a high point in 2015. In August, the New York Times reported that it had passed the 1 million paid digital subscribers mark. Digital magazine Slate announced that it is creating a metered subscription for international readers, and the technology news site Pando announced that it will now require digital subscriptions to […]