Archive for the ‘Media industry’ Category

Meeting of the Minds about “extending the print” runway

I asked Sammy Papert (from Wormhole) for permission to share a link to his post about a discussion he had with Gordon Borrelll about the path forward for newspaper companies.

I’d love to hear from colleagues that are (or who once were) in the media industry on how you view this discussion.


Digital Ad Agency positions

Do you (or someone you know) work in digital advertising … or want to do so?  If so, it might be worth taking a look at these positions we’re opening up for a digital ad agency.

I work for excelerate digital, which is a national digital advertising agency owned by McClatchy (a national media company which is probably best known for its newspapers in 30 markets, including The Sacramento Bee, The Kansas City Star, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Charlotte Observer, Raleigh News & Observer and the Miami Herald) but is also a strong digital player.

  1. Operations Manager: link here
  2. Media Strategist: link here and also this one, which is called Media Specialist II but is actually a Media Strategist
  3. Media Specialist: link here – (think more like a junior media strategist position)
  4. Display Specialist: link here 
  5. Digital Marketing Analyst: link here (this is part of the Marketing Research team and you’d get to work with me)
  6. Reporting Specialist (opening soon)
  7. PPC Specialist (opening soon)

Here are a couple of videos to give you an idea of our company culture and the type of people you’d be working with:

Please note that the majority of the excelerate digital support positions are based in Raleigh but, for the right candidate, we allow some employees to work in remote locations; i.e., the excelerate marketing research team has 2 in KC (including me) plus 1 in Charlotte and 1 in Raleigh.

If you apply, please let me know and/or let them know I referred you for the position.

Hello New Job, Same as the Old Job

Well, not exactly the same but pretty similar.

As of December 26, 2016 (which was Day 1 of Fiscal 2017 for my employer) I no longer work for The Kansas City Star but instead work for excelerate, the digital ad agency that McClatchy started in summer 2016.  However, I still sit in the same spot that I sat previously doing pretty much the same work.

We (Isaac Hindle and I) still provide support (using marketing research and other resources) to all of McClatchy’s local markets (including our newest market in Durham, N.C.) but we will now work closely with Carlos and Brian (who are both located in North Carolina) to support the research needs of excelerate.

I’m also still serving as a Smokejumper / design thinking coach for McClatchy (in fact I’m currently serving as a coach at McClatchy’s Innovation Academy in Sacramento) and I’m still helping out with communications regarding Project Warmth which works at #ComfortingKansasCity with its coat and blanket collection on the first Saturday of November and financial donations throughout the year.

I worked at The Kansas City Star for 6 years from 1998 to 2004, left for a year and a half to work for Decision Insight, and then returned on April 10, 2006.  During 2016, I received the Full Nelson Award, which can only be given to someone once during their career at The Kansas City Star.  Little did I know then that I got it just in time.

I love Kansas City (and apparently you should too) and I also love what I do as my job; now, I’m doing my job for our cool new digital advertising agency.  You can now reach me via email at or by all of the ways you previously contacted me.

Highlight of D.C. was in a classroom

I’ve been attending the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) mediaXchange this week in Washington, D.C.

It’s been a great conference and I always enjoy seeing colleagues from throughout the industry.   I’ve been fortunate to hear lots of great speakers including Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron (whom many will now associate with the Oscar-winning movie “Spotlight“) as well as several interesting companies such as Blendle, American Press Institute, Stringr, and this little startup named Google that you might have heard about.

However, the highlight of the week was not actually at the conference but instead it was in a classroom a few blocks away.  On Monday evening, I met my friend & McClatchy co-worker Julie Moos for dinner.  Julie and I met in early 2015 when we were being trained by the Stanford on Design Thinking.

After dinner, I joined Julie as she taught her graduate class at Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies.  Once there, I got to share some about the sessions at NAA mediaXchange, hear from the students about their background and interests, and be interviewed by Julie about my career. Then, after Julie gave them a refresher on Design Thinking, it was time for them to enter the Testing Phase and I got to provide them with feedback.

It was nice to see these student journalists at work and to hopefully help guide them to continue to seek feedback, fail fast and come up with the next big thing. For an early look at what they’ve been up to, please visit their projects:

Thanks and enjoy Washington D.C. through the work of these journalists!

Super Bowl of Media

One time per year, we choose to watch commercials and that’s during the Super Bowl.  Otherwise, we make a point to avoid them.  In Kansas City, about 1/2 of the adults have a DVR and among older affluent Kansas Citians (adults 50+ with a HHI of $100K+) it jumps to 3/4, based on data from Scarborough Research 2015, Release 2.   Also, various research studies through the years have indicated that one of the main reasons people get a newspaper is for ads.  So, while we avoid ads on TV, we look for them in print.  Newspapers also tend to show up as the most trusted source of information.

All of this is a rather long lead-in to a blog that was originally published by the Newspaper Association of America on Feb. 9, 2016.



The Super Bowl is truly an American cultural phenomenon.111.9 million people watched the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers to take home the crown on Sunday, making it the third highest-rated television event in U.S. history. Aside from the pure astronomical numbers, viewers also vary demographically – in 2015, nearly 40 percent of affluent Americans and 35 million females tuned. And perhaps most importantly, 20 percent of the highly coveted millennial audience watched football’s biggest night.

Outside of the touchdowns and the interceptions, the halftime show and the endless snacks, why do millions of people watch the Super Bowl each year? One word: Ads.

When Super Bowl I aired in 1967, it cost $37,500 to run a 30-second commercial during game time. As televisions became staples in the homes of Americans and viewership of the big game increased each year, football gained national popularity. The cost of a spot was $1.9 million by the year 2000, and today, Super Bowl advertising is reserved for brands who can afford to pay $4.5 million for a half-a-minute ad.

The numbers alone can cause advertisers to have a field day. But what else makes them cough up millions for a simple TV commercial? Engagement.

Although many may think otherwise, the Super Bowl is actually the exception – not the norm – when it comes to television ad viewing and engagement. The biggest football game of the year is one of the only remaining times that people actually seek out the ads. In fact, in many cases, they look forward to them.

Famous Super Bowl commercials like the Budweiser lost puppy ad,Volkswagen’s “the force” commercial or Cheerios’ “Gracie” spot are remembered by viewers years after airing. Outside of well-known brands, companies like Avocados From Mexico splurged for an ad during the game and have since seen increased brand awareness and sales. Clearly, Super Bowl advertising works. It works because the ads are believable, they are well-done and the audiences are engaged with the content.

Some may find it hard to believe that there are other times – and other mediums – in which audiences are highly engaged with ads. Look no further than your daily newspaper.

According to a Nielsen study, newspaper media – in print and online – scored the highest out of all media (including television, radio and social media) when it came to overall consumer engagement. Specifically, newspaper media is also the most trusted source for advertising, and delivered a 12 percent larger advertising-engaged audience than the overall average for all other media.

On a typical day, most people would immediately change the channel when their favorite program ended and the commercials started rolling. For television, it takes one really special event to make Americans pay attention to ads. When you look at newspaper media, we have engaged audiences daily – without all of the fanfare. We don’t need it. Our readers are more engaged with our content and our ads than they are with any other type of media. Think of the opportunity this creates. We just have to be able to tap into it and provide them with the information and the advertisements they seek.

This could be our Super Bowl moment.

First Published: February 09, 2016

Incubator 1.0

Congratulations to all of those that participated in this month’s McClatchy Incubator 1.0. I was honored to be one of the coaches and look forward to seeing what’s next.

Here’s a video of David Kelley speaking about Creative Confidence, which is also the title of a book that we recommended to those participating in the Incubator.  Furthermore, I’m sharing a couple quotations from Solving Problems with Design Thinking, a book that Pat had recommended (back in January) to those of us on the Leadership team:

  • “we are often truly our worst enemies when it comes to implementing design thinking. The approach summons a host of demons: our impatience for ‘results,’ our discomfort with ambiguity and messiness, and our fear of stepping into the unknown.” (page 140)
  • “where you start is not where you should expect to end up. And that’s good news. You didn’t get it wrong – you learned. So many of our flawed solutions can be traced to having stuck with a limiting question. One of the most significant contributions of design is to help us live longer in the question. It is our willingness to revisit the question we asked at the outset that allows us to reframe the way we see the world and discover new possibilities.” (Solving Problems with Design Thinking, page 157)

This photo looks back at our gathering in January when we were first planning the Incubator:

Incubator Planning in 2015-01

And here we are last week, celebrating as we concluded McClatchy Incubator 1.0:

Celebrating as we conclude McClatchy Incubator 1.0

Finally, here are a couple photos of the team I coached this week:

OMO with Coach Mark Things are looking up for OMO

It was a great (but exhausting) experience.




Make new friends, but keep the old

A few weeks ago, on Scouting Ministries Sunday at my church, one of the Girl Scouts sang this song:

Make new friends, but keep the old
One is silver and the other gold.

A circle is round, it has no end
That’s how long I want to be your friend.

Here is my hand, and here is the other
Let’s put them together and we have each other.

This came to mind as I reflect back on my recent travels for work as well as my trip taking the youth group to Young Christians Weekend in Branson, at Silver Dollar City.   Plus, I’m seeing friends from work leave,  some due to downsizing and others due to retirement or new jobs.

It’s hard to say goodbye to anyone but it’s nice to be reunited with old friends.  I am also reminded that my old friends were once new friends.  During our trip to Sacramento, Kim made a comment at dinner on Wednesday evening that “We’re family and this is our dining room table.”  While I agree completely with her that the group is all very close to one another, I realize that some of those in the group are folks that I’d never met until January.

I was really pleased to see Pauline and Nikhil at NAA mediaXchange in Nashville but sad to think of all those that were there in years past but no longer joining in the fun.  Still, new members of the Media Research industry are arriving.  The newest members of our McClatchy research team are Isaac in KC, Kate in Sacramento and Galen in Columbia, South Carolina.  I just met Kate on Thursday and she’s already contributing to the team.  I’ve only spoken to Galen once but he seems really sharp.  Meanwhile, Isaac has been an amazing gift; looking back to the past 3 months, I don’t know how I could’ve managed to do everything without him there day-in, day-out taking care of so much of the ongoing research support.

On my youth trip, one of the young men going with us is one that was part of our group a few years ago and is being reunited with us for this weekend.  It was nice to see him on Sunday morning yet ironic too.  Back when we went on a Mission Trip to Jefferson City, I commented that Nickolai reminded me of my nephew Kenny and when we were reunited on Sunday morning at church, it happened to be Kenny’s birthday.

And then there’s all of my friends/classmates from years ago; I keep up (primarily through Facebook) with people that I knew at NKC High School, Missouri State, and Ohio State.

So, in closing, let me repeat:

Make new friends, but keep the old
One is silver and the other gold.

Of course, my closest friend is my bride and just the sound of her voice makes me smile and know that all is well in the world.