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emember how awesome the original
‘Mission: Impossible’ show was?
Mr. Phelps would get his mission as-
signment, then the tape would self-destruct
in 5 seconds? No time to debate on Mission:
Impossible, things move fast, and need to
be taken care of! And of course, if you fail
your mission, the Secretary will disavow any
knowledge of your actions.
Earlier this year I attended my first Inno-
vation Mission with LMA, and I was struck
by the similarity we face today with the dis-
ruption digital has brought to our industry,
and what at times feels like an impossible
mission. Things move incredibly fast in
the digital world, and some of the changes
almost feel top secret. By the time you start
to understand them a bit, they’re yesterday’s
news, and you’re off on a new mission to
discover the next ‘big’ thing.
During our Innovation Mission visits in
June, we of course heard a lot about mobile.
Has anyone figured out the mobile mission
yet? We also heard a lot about big data, and
I think some of us felt like we needed to go
back to school again.
We also saw a lot of great culture exam-
ples, on both coasts, and I know I was really
excited to bring some of those ideas back to
the office. Getting back to work, however,
came with the realization that culture is not
something you implement or command,
but rather something you cultivate. It takes
some time, patience, and constant attention.
The Innovation Mission convinced me of
how critical a good culture is to success, and
has given me lots of new ideas to cultivate.
During our Mission, a headline came out
about Apple making it easier to block display
ads on mobile when iOS 9 is released. A
separate headline touted Apple’s new app
‘News’, also bundled with iOS 9. The two
moves make a lot of sense, given the success
of news aggregator apps like Flipboard,
and that Apple doesn’t rely on advertising
revenue to line it’s pockets (yet). Why not try
to disrupt both the news and advertising seg-
ments at once?
This is our reality now – that technol-
ogy will continue to make life better for the
masses, and continue to make life harder for
business that rely on getting their message
out to consumers. We’re all still working to
figure out both the digital disruption, and
then the mobile disruption embedded in it,
and along comes another potential disruptor
to mobile itself.
It’s too early to gauge the impact Apple’s
planned changes will have, but it also
doesn’t matter. There will always be some
new challenge to deal with. Many of those
challenges will emerge from the rapid pace
of technology changes that are now a fact of
As technology continues to disrupt, our
culture and values become all the more
important to our success. The publishing
industry has always been seated in deliver-
ing quality content that connects with our
readers, and in providing solutions that help
our advertisers be successful. If we cultivate
our culture, we can meet new challenges
with optimism and strength, rather than fear
Take a moment to reflect on how your
organization is responding to the current
challenges we all face. Are they embracing
the challenges and generating creative ideas
to move on?
This was a significant take-away for me
on this year’s Mission. There are lots of
companies out there facing the new world
head-on, and they have cultures in place that
create enthusiasm in facing that challenge.
That is the culture I’m focused on, where our
personal values and actions allow us to man-
age the technology chaos that surrounds us.
I’ll leave you with a final thought to pon-
der about technology’s impact on publish-
ing. What if technology is successful some
day, in completely eliminating advertising
from digital platforms? How will your local
businesses get their message out in that
world? Might they not again rely on good
old-fashioned print advertising? Call me an
This message will self-destruct in 5
Director - Information Services
'Your mission, should you choose to accept it...'
Pinterest hosted a stop on this year’s Innovation Mission. Greg Treece, second from left, brought home
many lessons from the I.M. experience including the impact that workplace culture has on productivity.
The Innovation Mission convinced me
of how critical a good culture is to success,
and has given me lots of new ideas to
t the heart of every in-
formed community are
the journalists who watch,
listen and report on all that is mak-
ing that community tick. In order to
truly transform and keep investiga-
tive reporting alive and well at the
local level, media companies must
remain relevant and sound so they
can continue to put the needed
resources into their journalistic
They need help identifying
initiatives that are sustainable
and realistic. They need training.
They need research and case study
reports. They need the work of the
Local Media Foundation.
The LMF covers all of these
bases - digital training for journal-
ists and advertising executives,
white papers that focus on case
studies and emerging trends, study
tours, research, symposiums – and
its annual fund drive is underway
Join the movement to advance
knowledge and media company
success by participating in the 2015
crowdfunding campaign. The goal
for this year’s drive is $20,000 and
your donation will help this vital
cause. Please make your support
known today. All amounts wel-
come – none are too small.
Donate today at http://me-
The Local Media Foundation is
a 501 c-3 organization that exists to
help the local media industry with
the digital transition. A donation
to the LMF is an investment in
community journalism. For more
information about the Local Media
Foundation, visit https://www.
Calling All Media Supporters
Invest in community journalism through your support of the Local Media Foundation
A group of media supporters – includ-
ing LMA President Nancy Lane, LMA board
members Suzanne Schlicht and Chris Ed-
wards, LM Foundation board member Myra
Cortado and LMA’s Amie Stein – are part of
the 12-person relay team who will be running
200 miles over 48 hours next month.
From the Golden Gate Bridge to the Napa
Valley, our team will be pounding the pave-
ment next month in support of local media
by way of the
shout out to
support to the
200 Miles in 48 Hours...on foot!
Ragnar relay teammates Chris Edwards and Amie Stein
modeling the latestin team t-shirts.
1Tomorrow’s Media, Understood Today, page 20, June 2015
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