API Summit: Building Reader Revenue for News

The American Press Institute held an invitation-only Thought Leader Summit on reader revenue and subscription strategies on Thursday, May 17, 2018 in Arlington, VA.

Building Reader Revenue for News convened news business leaders, product managers, editors and audience development specialists to learn from each other and identify ways to strengthen reader revenue models that support journalism. The event brought together people with a range of titles, all of whom have hands-on experience or big ideas on the ways news organizations can garner financial support from audiences they seek to serve.

This summit builds on API research, processes and tools that help news organizations prioritize reader revenue. At a time when the industry is in search of more robust business models, part of the solution is for news organizations to recognize the role subscriptions, memberships and other forms of direct support from audiences can play in sustainability. At our summit, we held in-depth discussions on finding and converting audiences for digital subscriptions, organizational structures that best support newsroom- and business-side collaboration, and other topics.

Unlike a typical conference, the intimate, interactive summit allows each attendee to be an active participant, sharing their expertise and experiences while gaining actionable insights from others. Discussion topics for the day were surfaced in advance by invitees before arrival at the collaborative workspace Spaces, our venue for the event (and the former home of the Newseum).

Informed in part by the summit, API will create a series of practical resources on how news organizations can create better processes and structures for pursuing reader revenue. Gwen Vargo, API’s director of reader revenue, and Jon DeNunzio, who helped organized API’s 2014 and 2015 summits on mobile news, were part of the team planning the day.

Participating organizations include, among others:

Advance Media

Ark Republic

The Atlantic

Bay Area News Group


BH Media Group

Boston Globe

Christian Science Monitor

Cox Media Group

Dallas Morning News

Dow Jones




Globe and Mail


Houston Chronicle

Local News Now


Membership Puzzle Project

New York Times

News Inequality Project

Ohio County Monitor

Philadelphia Media Group

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Post and Courier


The Skimm


Spirited Media

Sports Capitol


Virginian Pilot

Washington Post


Space is limited at API Thought Leader Summits and participation is by invitation only; however, people interested in participating may apply for consideration. We look for individuals and organizations advancing the summit’s topic area, with efforts to show. We believe a diversity of lived experiences, skill sets and backgrounds makes these events successful.

For more information, contact Kevin Loker, API’s director of program operations and partnerships, at kevin.loker@pressinstitute.org.