I am a former reporter and editor now working on the business side of the news. I worked in the newsrooms of a variety of publications, including the Alpena News, the Insider Business Journal and the Ann Arbor News, before getting my MBA at the University of Michigan. I joined the Associated Press in 2006, and I now serve as head of market research. My job is to help the AP stay in touch with what our current and potential customers want and need from us.
Why are you coming to BCNI Philly?
I am grateful to have been peer pressured into learning about social media and now I’m a Facebook and Twitter addict. But I know I still have a lot to learn about the available tools and about how to get the most value from them. I’m excited to hear from people who care about the future of news enough to give up a Saturday to talk about its future. Online tools give the media great opportunities to tell stories in different ways, to serve advertisers better than ever, to create a dialogue instead of a one-way stream, and I’m interested to hear the innovative ideas that come up.
If you decide to present, what would it be about?
I won’t presume to be enough of an expert to present but I would love to be part of a conversation on how we make online news self supporting. I’m also really interested in how news organizations are using social media for marketing, not just as a reporting tool. I worked as a clown when I was in high school, so I could also teach everyone how to make balloon animals.
Where can we find you online?
And finally, finish this sentence: What the news industry really needs is ___.
Hope. I heard someone explain once that when you’ve given up hope, there’s no motivation to try to save yourself. Why would you pick up a bucket and start bailing water out of the Titanic when it’s clear it’s going down? I think sometimes journalists fall prey to fascination with our industry’s challenges and we seem to take perverse satisfaction in writing our own obituary.
How about instead fixating on the incredible opportunity to use new tools to distribute news faster and cheaper, and on the public’s seemingly insatiable demand for news and information? Did you see the ComScore report that the number of people who access news and information daily on the mobile Web more than doubled over the last year?
I’m not saying we ignore the significant challenges, but the news business has had to evolve to accommodate the arrival of radio, television, cable TV, the Internet and mobile phones, and I think we need to consider this part of a continuing transformation. Like Winston Churchill said: “The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”