by Jim O’Rourke, CEO

Over the past 18 months, I’ve shared updates on the rapid growth and success of our company and now I’m thrilled to write about David Arkin, an established content leader, joining our talented team of employees as our Chief Content and Product Officer.

In less than two years, we have acquired 14 publications, which includes digital marketing solutions and print/design agency. We are acquiring new businesses that are positioned for growth based on their location and market opportunity. We’re focused on PROFIT and PURPOSE (in that order) and bringing a super-talent like David onboard aligns perfectly with our growth strategy and improves our competitive advantage in each of our markets-big-time!

Arkin will join the company on August 3rd and will assume responsibility for direct oversight of our newsrooms, audience efforts and products across each market. All editors will report directly to him and the team will be tasked with growing and engaging our digital audience, continuing to publish vibrant print products, and of course, proactively supporting monetization efforts through bolstering and launching new products as we work to grow and diversify total company revenue. Have I mentioned that timing is impeccable!

Arkin’s background

David has spent more than 20 years in newsrooms as a reporter, editor, consultant, and executive developing transformative digital strategies that have led to significant audience growth. He’s led everything from corporate news divisions to news start-up publications, introducing new forms of storytelling, digital technology, and high-quality journalism along the way. He most recently was the head of digital at an NBC television station in Houston and in eight months, moved the station for its first time ever from third place to first place for biggest digital audience in the market. He has been named the Digital News Innovator of the Year by the Local Media Association, has led newsrooms to national journalism awards and has served on boards for local media associations, including the Associated Press Media Editors, Local Media Association Foundation Board of Directors and Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas.

Here’s what Arkin and the team will focus on…

An obsession over data

We can’t create content with blinders on. And for too long we have. We know that now more than ever — as we work to diversify our revenues — having journalists who understand data and reader interests that can influence what we should do, is absolutely critical. More effectively using data to guide our decisions, improve our current products and launch new products is a centerpiece to our success as we move forward.

Content that helps people and communities that we serve

Readers want information they can do something with. They want to stay connected to their community. While we will always cover the news, we have to do it now in a way that is more personal through making the information actionable and easy to understand. In each market, we’ll establish plans that center the content around what is best for the reader. It will be our focus every day.

We’re going to boldly address news deserts

The news deserts are sad. And we want to do something about it through acquiring and launching into new markets. Products — driven by new ways of thinking about content — are the future. We want to invest in new markets that are screaming for information. But we don’t want to do this the way it has always been done. We’ll eye a model that centers on visual journalism, quality of life information, and community content presented live in a way that we believe will be a path forward.

Rethinking legacy products

We believe there are products that with a little — or in some cases — a lot of love, could be very special. We believe the right newsletter could lead to a special business and areas like Shoppers/TMC’s — with a content-focused approach — could become a new model that excites loyal audiences and advertisers.

Listening to our audiences

Listening to our audience — through in-person experiences, asking for their feedback, answering their questions, and understanding our data — can build products that readers feel like is their own. It takes newsrooms to really understand why this is so important and why readers should be loved for their feedback and willingness to engage. Doing this will be incredibly meaningful for our future.

A healthy distribution of our content

We want a healthy distribution of our content in platforms that we are able to monetize. This is about being intentional and putting our content resources in areas that help us diversify our revenue. By having a healthy portfolio mix of onsite, search, newsletters, multimedia, and apps, we’re able to own more of our future, and newsrooms, based on the decisions they make, play a huge role.

Welcome onboard to David Arkin. Onward and upward as we continue on our quest to change the game for local community newspaper and media companies!