MU School of Journalism alum Aja Williams will take on the role as Nine PBS’ new chief content officer in St. Louis on Jan. 24.

Williams will be joining two other MU J-School graduates at Nine PBS, Peggy Goodfriend, director of broadcast promotions, and Veronica Mohesky, digital media associate.

In her role, Williams will provide leadership and guidance in the creation and distribution of content. She will bring new strategies to the table, encouraging innovative interactions with the community through media.

“One thing I’m excited to do for Nine in coming into the position is figuring how we are going to tell it, like what does our future look like?” Williams said. “We are undergoing a big transformation, we have a solid foundation of community engagement and public affairs, but we’re really going to dive into how to really intertwine better our digital and broadcast elements and what that looks like for us going forward.”

Her main goals coming into the position are to assess the current state of community engagement and to better understand what other resources they might need to accomplish this goal.

In 2020, Williams received her master’s degree in digital innovation in marketing from Temple University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from MU in 2009. She previously held the position of digital media producer for Nine PBS from October 2014 to August 2017.

Nine PBS president and CEO Amy Shaw said she is thrilled to have Williams coming back to Nine, as she brings the right qualities and skills to make sure content is anchored in the priorities of the St. Louis community.

Recently, Williams held positions at Ameren Missouri as a social community manager and the position of senior content strategist at Edward Jones. In both roles, she had to find new strategies for civic engagement.

“I had been thinking and wanting for quite some time now to enter into a leadership position and be able to really help be strategic in terms of content as well as just be an asset to an organization in a different way,” Wiliams said.

Williams is from East St. Louis, Illinois, and has served on the boards of the Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists and the St. Louis Press Club and is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Williams reflected on her time at MU and how it led to this career.

“Mizzou really did prepare me for, you know, being able to ask hard questions, which apparently has become a very big forte for me in my positions,” she said. “People are always like, ‘Man you ask really good, thoughtful, hard questions,’ like, yeah, I guess the journalism background could pay off.”

As for Williams’ advice to journalism students at MU, she said that being open to new opportunities within public media is vital or with anything they might want to pursue.

“Don’t be risk-averse. Take the risk. You never know. You might become chief content officer,” Williams said.

  • General Assignment Intersession Reporter for the Columbia Missourian, Winter 2021/2022. She can be contacted by email at gajmgt@mail.missouri.edu or at (417) 850-2155.

  • Cameron Barnard is an assistant city editor and copy editor for the Columbia Missourian. You can reach him in the newsroom at 573-882-5720 or on Twitter @Cameron_Barnard.

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