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2015 Study Mission Perspectives Shared
group of 25 senior-level local media executives banded
together for last month’s sold-out Innovation Mission,
the signature event of the Local Media Foundation. This
6th annual week-long intensive study tour offers an educational
and often game-changing experience to participants via close
up visits with some of the world’s leading technology and media
Led and developed by LMA President Nancy Lane, the 2015
tour included visits to Pinterest, Yahoo, Mashable, the Rubicon
Project, Hearst, Yelp, Parse.ly, McClatchy, Tout, Yext , The New
York Times R&D Lab, Radius and the Mobile Marketing Associa-
Top goals for the 2015 tour included: discovering new revenue
streams, understanding how to create a culture of innovation,
finding sustainable business models on the digital side, exploring
new content strategies and identifying top vendors/ R&D partners
to help fuel growth.
A few of the participants were good enough to share the
impressions of the I.M. and a couple of key takeaways and action
The Innovation Mission is my single most valuable and inspiring week of the year, and this one certainly
did not disappoint. Not only do we have terrific meetings lined up – and I learn something at every single
one – we also have terrific interactions with our peers on the trip who are inspiring in their own right. Each
day is jam-packed with valuable conversations, learnings, and takeaways. I use this trip to find inspiration to
drive innovation at Dream Local and with our partners. Can’t wait until next year!
I am so very inspired by this trip and look forward to it each year - it gets me out of thinking too small
which we call get caught up in. From my wrap-up notes and action items:
■ Continue to double down on culture development and accountability and innovation
■ SMB’s need our help navigating options
■ Data matters, need to rethink business and how to leverage it in audience, product development and
■ We have to reinvent our businesses. I will be investing more in R&D
■ It's time to recognize that mobile is VERY different and create different products, content and strategy.
■ We will be following up with Radius and also competitors like them to try to get more data for our partners
■ I'm going to do training on content creation based on what we heard at Mashable and Hearst, offer incen-
tives for engagement vs. just traffic
■ I'm going to create our own training material based on lessons from Yelp and dive deeper into optimized
■ I'm interested in Yahoo culture work
Founder and Client Success Officer, Dream Local Digital
The Innovation Mission was well planned and expertly executed.
To boil down top takeaways isn't fair because there were so many meaningful discussions about various
strategies, especially new ways of implementing native advertising, the value of various social media plat-
forms for certain types of content and brand halo.
But, here are a couple of ingredients we'll consider dropping in our secret sauce:
■ From Mashable visit: Native advertising - Publish a community challenge to post photos to Instagram
around a certain topic or theme, then publish the results. The client gets two articles — the challenge
and results — and all the social juice in the middle. It's a powerful way to lift a brand in an engaging and
■ From Tout visit: Publications can use Tout to increase video play — preroll — on their site, including one
of our own publishers that's going down that path right now, but we're also going to engage Tout to in-
tegrate via an API with our own vibrant contributor network, making it easier for our members shoot and
submit videos with a handy app that we can use to enhance editorial content and monetize preroll.
■ From Hearst visit: We discussed the value behind certain social networks. High-end production videos
intended to go viral aren't usually worth the production cost. The importance of letting data determine a
portion of your content strategy is important, even critical.
— Jacob Hancock
Managing Editor, Deseret Digital Media
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