For this report, we relied primarily on answers from 39 senior news leaders and media executives at 31 organizations. The organizations and participants listed below represented a range of news operations — some local, others with broader or more topically targeted audiences; some grounded in print or broadcast, others created primarily as digital outlets; some non-profits, others with commercial, for-profit business models.

Each leader responded to an online questionnaire in July and August 2015. We also conducted two dozen follow-up interviews by phone and/or by email. The answers were anonymous and were only quoted here with permission. When we spoke to two people from the same organization we asked them to reconcile any differences on hiring priorities or tell us whose answers spoke for the organization.

Given frequent turnover and organizational changes in the news industry, some people’s titles, roles and affiliations have changed since we interviewed them. The list below notes affiliations at the time we spoke to each participant as well as any subsequent change of address that we are aware of. (The titles in the body of this report are for the most part the titles the participants used at the time we contacted them, but those change frequently, too.)

  • AJ+: David Cohn (now with Advance Digital).
  • Alabama Media Group: Michelle Holmes
  • Billy Penn: Jim Brady
  • BuzzFeed: Ben Smith and Annie-Rose Strasser (Strasser is now with Gimlet Media)
  • Deseret Media: Burke Olsen
  • Fusion: Alexis Madrigal and Daniel Eilemberg
  • Gimlet Media: Alex Blumberg
  • Houston Chronicle: Nancy Barnes
  • KING-TV: Mark Briggs
  • Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Greg Borowski and Ron Smith
  • News Corp: Raju Narisetti
  • NJ Advance Media: Kevin Whitmer and Lamar Graham
  • Quartz: Kevin Delaney
  • Star Tribune (Minneapolis): Rene Sanchez
  • Storyful: Mandy Jenkins
  • The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C): John Drescher
  • Tribune Publishing: Bill Adee
  • VICE Media: Drake Martinet
  • Vox Media: Trei Brundrett
  • Washington Post: Emilio Garcia-Ruiz
  • Chalkbeat: Elizabeth Green
  • First Look: John Temple (left in July 2015) and Betsy Reed
  • Marshall Project: Gabriel Dance
  • National Geographic: Keith W. Jenkins
  • NPR: Scott Montgomery and Brian Boyer
  • PRX: John Barth
  • Southern California Public Radio/KPCC-FM: Melanie Sill and Kristen Muller (Muller is now a Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University)
  • Texas Tribune: Emily Ramshaw
  • Voice of San Diego: Scott Lewis
  • WBUR-FM: John Davidow
  • New York Public Radio/WNYC-FM: Jim Schachter and Paula Szuchman
  • We also interviewed Fusion’s Kevin Roose, though he did not participate in our questionnaire.

The authors and the participants in this research share many professional connections. By way of disclosure, Stencel and Perry are both NPR alum and have worked in some way with all of the participants affiliated with that organization and its member stations (including Alex Blumberg, now of Gimlet Media). National Geographic’s Keith Jenkins, another NPR alum, also worked with Stencel at the Washington Post. In addition to the Post’s Emilio Garcia-Ruiz, other former Washington Post Co. colleagues include Jim Brady, Mark Briggs and Rene Sanchez (Raju Narisetti is also an alum, but he and Stencel did not overlap there). Nancy Barnes and Melanie Sill are among Stencel’s former bosses at The News & Observer. He also has done consulting and training work for Michelle Holmes at Advance’s Alabama Media Group.