CEO Update: A monthly editorial from Caroline H. Little
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CEO Update is a monthly opinion piece by Caroline H. Little, NAA president and CEO, which publications are encouraged to publish.
The past twelve months have been an invigorating time for the newspaper media business. The next twelve are shaping up to be even better.
In 2014, the newspaper industry overflowed with new ideas, technologies and content. Our industry developed better ways to reach readers and give them more of what they want – more stories, more engagement, more personalized information, and more content on their preferred platforms. The future of the newspaper media industry is across all platforms, from print to digital to mobile. MORE 4
It has become a never-ending quest to define millennials. Those between the age of 18 and 34 are often portrayed as a self-absorbed, narcissistic generation obsessed with technology. They are a group more likely to check their Twitter or Instagram apps than keep up with world events. In fact, voters age 18-29 made up a mere 13 percent of the vote in this month’s mid-term elections.
So you’re probably thinking, “Millenials are not engaged with the news.”
Since Time Magazine dubbed millennials as the “Me Me Me Generation,” that has been the prevailing thought. But that is not true.
There is only one question on the minds of retailers and advertisers for the next two months – what is the best way to reach consumers?
The answer this year, as it has for many years prior, is newspaper media.
As we enter an exciting holiday shopping season, retailers will experiment more than ever with mobile apps, geolocation push notification and other advertising strategies to reach elusive consumers. However, data reveals that one of the most effective methods remains print and digital newspaper advertising.” MORE 4
Free Speech Week 2014
There is a reason freedom of speech was carved into the governing fabric of our nation. The founders considered free speech one of humanity’s basic rights, and its provision in the First Amendment has been cherished by Americans ever since.
The Bill of Rights guarantees free speech to citizens and freedom of the press. They both go together. Both are necessary elements for democracy to work.
As James Madison once wrote, “A popular Government, without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both.” MORE 4
Journalists like to tell the story. They do not like to become the story.
Unfortunately, during the past several months, journalists have been thrust into the spotlight under tragic circumstances. Around the world, journalists are putting themselves in harm’s way to report on the most important stories of our time and, sadly, the results have been horrific.
In August, the gruesome and senseless murder of James Foley stunned the world. His death was a vivid and painful reminder of the risks journalists take when reporting from conflict zones. Since 2011, 66 journalists have died in Syria alone and another 30 are missing, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. This is not acceptable. MORE 4
The sky is always falling and newspapers are always dying.
For more than a decade, that has been a common and constant refrain. While working at washingtonpost.com, the Guardian US, and now, the Newspaper Association of America, I have been asked frequently about the state of the industry as people search for the worst.
Though newspaper media is enjoying the largest audiences ever as well as continuing to play a unique and critical role in our communities, there is one fact that always tends to be obscured or outright ignored – newspapers are still making money and newspapers remain a good investment. MORE 4
To say technology has changed the newspaper media industry is understating the obvious.
While much discussion focuses on how we read the news, technology is changing the way we report the news. The image of a reporter showing up to a scene with a pen and a pad is iconic but lost to the vestiges of time. MORE 4
The newspaper industry has transformed in a way that we could not have imagined just a decade ago.
Across the globe, there is a renewed energy to innovate, strategize, and meet these growing opportunities and challenges. That was the theme of the World Newspapers Congress, which I had the pleasure of speaking earlier this month, and it rings very true for our industry in America. MORE 4
Every day, city hall reporters at local newspapers distill hours of city council meetings into cogent stories that inform readers about how their elected officials are spending their tax dollars. Sports reporters document the successes of the high school team. Investigative reporters dig through thousands of pages of documents to expose government corruption, waste or ineffectiveness.
This journalism plays a vital role in local communities and in our nation’s democracy. But it also costs money: newspapers continue to invest more than $5 billion a year in journalism, far more than any other medium in the United States. Newspapers deliver news and information when and where readers want it, in print, digital and mobile platforms. MORE 4
There are few aspects of American life that are the same today as they were 100 years ago. Two of them are newspapers and baseball.
While spring officially starts in March, it doesn’t truly begin for many until Opening Day rolls around and ceremonial first pitches are thrown. Whether it’s at Wrigley Field, Fenway Park or your local minor league stadium, it’s been that way for over a century and I imagine it will continue for at least another century. MORE 4
The newspaper industry has momentum and it will guide the way forward.
Newspaper digital readership hit a record high. Mobile readership soared. Circulation revenue grew for the first time in 10 years. Brilliant investors chose to focus on newspapers to expand their portfolios. Interactive article experiences were piloted. New innovations led to reconstructed business models and increased revenue streams. MORE 4
Over the past year, newspapers have transformed. We told the world that we were going to evolve, adapt and remain essential. We have done just that. Not only are newspapers still delivering on that promise, they are thriving as innovation and new ideas drive our success – across all platforms.
While much of our recent success has been attributed to digital initiatives, it is very clear to me that our readers need to be reminded of the critical balance that newspapers must strike between print and digital. MORE 4
In 2014, I believe the news industry will be marked by creativity. I’ve heard this over and over in my conversations with publishers, advertisers and journalists. We’re already seeing big ideas being implemented, and the industry as a whole is eager to collaborate in developing better consumer experiences and more unique product offerings.
As we look ahead to 2014, there are three key topics that will drive our continued growth – mobile, native advertising and individualized content. MORE 4