The door is far from closed to success in publishing, and there are clear paths to prosperity for newer and leaner independent and local outfits. Even as more and more ad dollars go to a handful of giants, publishers have a chance to turn the tide, provided they invest in talent, maintain the integrity of their brands, and build an audience advertisers find worth pursuing.
In this Q&A, LEAP co-founder and Managing Director Daniel Williams talks about what his company is doing to help local news publishers comb their markets to find customers, sometimes in surprising ways, and build profitable relationships with them.
“I’m not saying that an audience-first culture didn’t exist at the newspaper, say, 75 years ago. But how do we reach today’s audience? It’s not enough to put all the news that we decided is important on the front page and expect everyone to read that as part of their shared experience,” says Nicole Stockdale, director of digital strategy at the Dallas Morning News.
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But Reddit and the LMC each has something that the other wants. Reddit would like to tap into the LMC’s huge pool of 470 million unique visitors and turn many of them into subscribers. LMC publishers wants to learn from Reddit how to make their readers more engaged. Now, old media and new media are teaming up.
Revenue was, naturally, very much on the minds of the 12 publishers, broadcasters, and other news media executives who took part in the Local Media Association’s June 2018 San Francisco Innovation Mission. But Jed Williams, LMA’s chief innovation officer, said the event focused on audience engagement.
A year-long study of newsrooms in the U.S. and Europe by two Danish journalists has singled out 16 local providers in the U.S. who are meeting the researchers’ main criterion: structural changes “to forge closer ties and stronger relations to their communities and audiences”—with a special focus on journalism over commerce, technology, and business models.