| NAA mediaXchange is the largest annual gathering of industry executives in North America, offering unprecedented networking opportunities that combine an exchange of information and ideas with programming designed to generate results. The conference is designed to provide valuable ideas and insights to help newspaper professionals grow audience and revenue for their print and digital products. Sessions highlight leading-edge thinking about media strategies, successes in product and revenue development, new ideas and innovation inside and outside the industry, and tactics and techniques to employ in print and digital.
Digital First: What it really means
By Kara Rose
It is no surprise that news content is becoming more digitalized each day, and media outlets are finding new ways to stack digital dimes.
Adam Burnham, senior vice president for local digital sales of Digital First Media, said the first step is to "be prepared for the realities we face."
Burnham said Digital First is a "local company with a national scale," with more than 10,000 employees, a sales force of more than 1,000, 1.3 million followers on Twitter and more than 600,000 Facebook fans as of January.
This, he said, was achieved through finding social media platforms that invigorate the sales force and drive results because his company follows an audience-based selling principle.
"You should sell things that advertisers want," Burnham said. "They might not like what they're buying, but . . . if there is an audience, the advertisers will buy it."
"We don't talk brands, we talk audience," he added later.
Each panelist said news organizations must start putting "digital first" to survive in the climate of today's journalism.
Derek May, executive vice president newspapers for Morris Communications, said this concept has been a driving force for his company's sales model.
"[It's been a] battle cry for us in the last year as we tried to turn our company around," he said. "If you have a growing audience, you have more to sell. If your audience is shrinking, you're in trouble."
Similarly, M. Scott Havens, vice president for digital strategy & operations of Atlantic Media Group, said 30 percent of traffic he sees is through social platforms.
"For us, a differentiator - and one of the successful things we've done - is clamped down on costs, be more efficient, ask people to do more, force them to take on more responsibilities and . . . refuse to accept the status quo," Havens said.
The biggest roadblocks he has, though, are individuals resistant to change.
"We will continue to shed them if they can't make the leap," Havens said. "If they can't keep moving forward, they probably won't be around too long."
Kara Rose is a student at the University of Maryland. She is one of several local university journalism students reporting live from NAA mediaXchange 2012 in Washington, D.C.
Apr 05 2012, 07:22 AM
About Amanda Knowles
Amanda Knowles is Web & Social Media Manager at the Newspaper Association of America. Before coming to NAA, Amanda spent four years working in print journalism, both at the college and professional level. She has worked as a copy editor and news page designer for two daily newspapers in northwestern Pennsylvania, The Erie Times-News and The Meadville Tribune. Most recently, she collaborated on The American Observer, the online magazine edited and produced by graduate journalism students at American University in Washington, D.C. Amanda believes strongly in the secure future of the newspaper, and is excited to be a participant in the movement to integrate traditional print media into the burgeoning digital world.