Don’t overlook the home of Microsoft, Amazon, Zillow and other innovative companies large and small when looking for voices in media thought leadership. Below are observations and insights from a handful of the city’s media leaders that I collected while accompanying a Missouri School of Journalism innovation and entrepreneurship class as they visited each venue.

Conrad Jungmann, founding partner, LION Digital Media

Nowhere has disruption in the news industry been more pronounced than in how we fund journalism. Journalism schools and news organizations have spent the last decade or more focused on how to innovate in storytelling, information sharing and shuffling the deck chairs for a better view of the rising water. A good story is a good story is a good story. Sure, the tools and platforms have changed, but the challenge has always been about telling those stories with relevancy and actionable context. If we were honest with ourselves, we’d admit we drift toward episodic reports and updates that often fail to provide context. And that we often do not take the time or make the extra effort to explain relevancy and what readers/viewers can do with the information we provide.

Our funding mechanisms have undergone profound changes. No longer a monopoly provider of audience, news organizations must rethink (or actually come up with) the ROI message to local and national retailers. Marketing has become so much more, and more valuable, than simple advertising. And digital advertising is seemingly hell-bent on racing to the bottom when it comes to rates. Programmatic and exchange ad services emphasize volume at the expense of CPM. Smaller, local markets simply don’t or can’t scale up to where that sustains a business.

Conrad and LION Digital are trying to capture the efficiencies of advertising networks and deliver ROI to advertisers that can serve large and small markets, delivering scalable and targeted audiences across a spectrum of market sizes. The goal is to create a network with higher revenue price points, and that can serve previously unavailable smaller local market news operations. This could be more of a game changer than anything that’s being incubated in newsrooms.

Look for more details later this spring at as LION Digital’s new media planning tool/optimizer rolls out of development.

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Brian Steffens  
Director of Communications


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