Publishers and executive teams from the nation’s leading newspapers mapped a path to a sustainable future with their Web businesses at Transformative Content Strategies, the first stop of the American Press Institute’s Transformation Tour on September 20-21 in Salt Lake City.
Innovation visionary Clark Gilbert, president and CEO of the Deseret News and Deseret Digital Media and a former Harvard Business School professor, guided fellow news executives through two days of top-level presentations and discussions on proven and evolving ways for publishers to excel in reshaping their digital content strategies.
“Today our industry needs leadership in thought and in action as it relates to how we implement change to thrive in the future,” said workshop attendee Richard Jones, general manager of digital and automotive sales for The Dallas Morning News. “What the ‘Transformative Content Strategies’ workshop provides is clear benchmarks around key measurement and action points to deliver 'best-in-class' opportunities founded in solid research and proven concepts with leading publishers like Deseret Digital Media. While success will prove to be an individual business effort, this is the right thing for our industry to undertake and support. This workshop provides a solid road map to follow and a council of leaders to share ideas and best practices. Very much needed in these times of change.”
Members of the DDM leadership team shared some of their successes as well as some of their challenges including a digital content dashboard to benchmark operations on 21 points of comparisons with the industry. A step-by-step plan for identifying and implementing key digital content strategies was presented by Chris Lee, vice president of digital, Russell Banz, vice president of products, Brett Atkinson, general manager of KSL, Matt Sanders, general manager of Deseret Connect, Nathan Gwilliam, director of strategic verticals and social strategy, and Paul Edwards, editor of the Deseret News.
“It's rare to gain access to a significant portion of an organization’s management team, but the Deseret team was very generous talking about their strategies, successes and shortcomings,” said Zack Kucharski, senior manager of newsroom operations of Iowa SourceMedia Group in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “The content strategies workshop provided a variety of short term action items, and practical ideas that could be grown into strategies.”
Staff presentations included: Content Cost and Differentiation in a Digital World, Content Merchandising, Using Analytics, Search Strategies, Social Strategies, and New Sources of Digital Content. Participants returned to their organizations with specific plans for growing and engaging audiences with digital content.
The Tour returns to Salt Lake City on Oct. 25-26, 2012, for part two of the executive series, Transformative Business Models. Gilbert and his digital revenue leadership team will lead the two-day workshop on changing the business model, which requires new digital capabilities, sales innovations, and new products.
The workshop explores successful emerging models, not just from start-ups, but also from innovators inside the industry who are willing to do the hard work of creating new ways to grow.
The Transformation Tour brings together the best of API and the Poynter Institute to present seven topics critical to the success of the industry. Each workshop is offered twice to accommodate busy schedules and budgets of newspaper executives and managers. The Tour travels to Arlington, Va., in 2013 to repeat both executive workshops: Transformative Business Models (Jan. 24-25) and Transformative Content Strategies (Feb. 28-March 1).