CEO Update: A monthly column from Caroline H. Little
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CEO Update is a monthly communication from Caroline H. Little, NAA president and CEO, that focuses on industry issues and trends.
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
This has been an exciting year for the newspaper industry. I believe 2014 will be even better. During a time when all media are transforming and experimenting with yet another wave of digital nuances and advanced technology, growth is something most businesses only hope to achieve. Despite the overstated newspaper cynics, our industry has seen growth in virtually all of our endeavors. Looking back at some of our biggest accomplishments throughout 2013, it is easy to look around and survey the tremendous successes in our industry.
As I told Fortune this summer: companies change with the times and newspapers are no different. Now, they are emerging in a strong position.
This is shaping up to be one of the most critical holiday shopping seasons in recent memory. Due to a quirk in the calendar, Thanksgiving arrives less than a month before Christmas. With the economy looking to rebound, this year’s Black Friday has drawn even more attention.
For consumers, Black Friday marks the official start of the holiday shopping season. For retailers, it’s the day of rock-bottom prices, long lines and the busiest weekend of the year. And for those of us in the newspaper industry, Black Friday is the reason consumers, advertisers and retailers flock to our Thanksgiving newspaper and individual websites to find and publicize the best deals. MORE 4
Where would we be as a nation without the freedom of speech? After all, according to the annual State of the First Amendment survey, it is by far America’s favorite freedom and our most important right. In that survey, 47 percent voted for free speech, compared to 10 percent for the next closest right, freedom of religion. It is only appropriate that we dedicate a week to celebrating free speech.
The freedom to express ourselves and speak our minds is an inextricable part of a strong democracy. When you have a government directed by its citizens, it is critical that those citizens be engaged and informed. Indeed, our founding fathers recognized the critical need for the free flow of information. MORE 4
In the summer of 1787, the nation’s most influential lawyers, generals and politicians gathered in Philadelphia with a single purpose: To create a government that was ruled by the people instead of ruling them.
The first words of the Constitution underscored this principal: “We, the people, of the United States of America…”
To protect the people’s power, our founding fathers carefully divided the government into three branches. With this system, no one person or governmental branch could ever rule with absolute authority. MORE 4
The nation learned in May that the Justice Department secretly obtained the phone records of more than 100 Associated Press reporters and monitored Fox News reporter James Rosen’s personal e-mail and cell phone records, branding him a “possible co-conspirator” in a classified leak case for asking questions to a government source.
These revelations sent shockwaves throughout newsrooms nationwide. Reporters can no longer assure their sources that interviews will remain confidential because there is no way to tell whether the government is listening. This attack on journalism reaches far beyond hardworking journalists and their sources. Make no mistake: The ultimate victims are the millions of Americans who rely on investigative journalism to inform them about their communities. When the government creates a chilling effect in newsrooms, it keeps important news away from the American public. MORE 4
I am inviting you to join us at NAA's mediaXchange at the Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando, from April 14-17. Why? Because we have some terrific speakers, including Terry Lundgren, CEO of Macy's.
Because we have a story to tell. Yes, we have worked together on so many important issues that face our industry, from leveraging our competitive strengths, and transforming our businesses in a digital age, to cementing newspapers' role in our local communities. We have worked on the legislative front, including lobbying on postal and cross-ownership issues, on leading best practices, training and research, whether as part of the Transformation Tour, market research or webinars, and on advocating the value of all that we deliver to the stakeholders in our communities. MORE 4
It seems like each time a newspaper implements a bold new strategy or deviates from the traditional model, pundits interpret those changes as acts of desperation. Ironically, these are often the same pundits who claim newspapers are not innovating and transforming fast enough.
Developments such as reduction of publication frequency, adoption of more aggressive paid-content strategies and creation of full-service digital agencies need to be viewed through a more objective lens – as the experimentation required to secure continued quality journalism and a sustainable business model for the future.
The transformation of newspapers is based on three factors. MORE 4