Anita Li

Anita Li is a media strategist and consultant with a decade of experience as a multi-platform journalist at outlets across North America. She is also a journalism instructor in the Greater Toronto Area and at the City University of New York’s Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism; her areas of expertise include community-driven journalism, audience engagement, audience-pay business models, newsroom diversity, media ethics and journalism innovation. Anita co-founded Canadian Journalists of Colour in 2018, and is also a member of the 2020-21 Online News Association board of directors. To keep up with Anita, subscribe to The Other Wave, her newsletter about challenging the status quo in journalism.

Challenging conventional customer service methods

Integrating departments to break down silos, optimizing the customer experience and investing in high-touch service are all effective ways for news outlets to improve their customer relationships — but if there’s resistance to introducing these strategies from higher-ups, there won’t be buy-in from newsrooms. That’s why it’s essential that management show leadership by taking calculated […]

Investing in ‘high-touch’ customer service

Automated phone systems, online self-service portals and other low-touch tactics have become the standard when it comes to customer service across industries. Companies these days seldom deploy real human beings to interact with customers when answering their questions or processing their transactions. But for the embattled journalism industry, high-touch service may be one of the […]

Making the customer experience frictionless

After breaking down organizational silos and integrating different systems, news outlets should get more granular in assessing areas where they can improve the customer service experience for potential subscribers. One simple way outlets can achieve this is to make the online user experience as frictionless as possible. That’s exactly what The Keene Sentinel, a daily […]

Breaking down silos and integrating departments for better communication

As news outlets increasingly rely on digital subscriptions as a primary revenue source, many are finding that barriers separating their print and digital functions — particularly on the business side — are hindering their ability to provide quality customer service. Get your systems talking to each other For Terrence Williams, president and chief operating officer […]

How customer service can build trust and engagement with audiences

With advertising becoming a less reliable source of revenue for the embattled journalism industry, more news outlets are turning toward sources of consumer revenue to shore up their coffers. This rise of subscription and membership models has dovetailed with the rise of audience engagement in recent years, as newsrooms seek to build stronger relationships with […]

How Santa Cruz Local proved the value of community engagement to staff

Founded in January 2019, Santa Cruz Local is a local news platform that produces a podcast, newsletter and website about public policy in Santa Cruz County, California. As of August 2020, Santa Cruz Local had 592 paying members, its newsletter had 4,877 subscribers, its podcast attracted 1,000 regular listeners and its website captured 64,000 unique […]

How the Detroit Free Press partnered to engage underserved communities

The Detroit Free Press is the largest daily newspaper covering Detroit, Michigan. At 189 years old, it is the local paper of record. The Free Press’ website,, attracted 8.8 million monthly visitors in 2019. That same year, the newspaper had a daily print circulation of 131,000 and a Sunday circulation of 925,000, both down […]

How The Pilot used reader data to boost digital subscriptions

The Pilot is a 100-year-old newspaper that covers Moore County, North Carolina, and publishes biweekly. As of August 2020, it had a print circulation of 10,000, while attracted 155,000 unique visitors and its daily email newsletter had 21,000 subscribers. Goal After “several years of minimal subscription sales,” The Pilot wants to increase and retain […]

Local news sustainability: API advisers highlight three paths forward

As the coronavirus ravages local journalism outlets across America — resulting in countless layoffs, furloughs and closures — it has laid bare how much we rely on local news to inform our lives. If national media is our window into the country, then local media is our window into community. More than that, local media […]