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Alisa CromerAlisa Cromer started her newspaper career, in the early 1980s, in Las Vegas, home of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the flagship paper of the Donrey Media empire, founded by Donald W. Reynolds.

“I met old man Reynolds,” Cromer says, and she cut her teeth learning how to compete against him. She ran a small business publication; her strategy was to be the nichiest niche. “If they had one business journalist, we’d have two — we’d outman them in whatever niche we were in.”

Cromer kept running small publications for decades. The whole time, she watched technology play an ever-greater role in media production and distribution. She also watched executives — herself included — make big investments in tech they couldn’t fully evaluate before purchasing.

She saw a business opportunity.

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In 2010, Cromer founded LocalMediaInsider.com, a case study–based trade journal that lets readers get the straight scoop on the hardware and software products and services that media companies use. The site published articles about how media companies employed the products, their ease of use and how effective they were.

But the site had a few challenges that kept Cromer’s mind churning. One was that it was difficult to find enough case studies to cover a large portion of the media technology products available. The other was that it focused exclusively on the buy-side of the transaction.

Cromer wanted a way for small companies with good products to efficiently find their perfect media customers, and vice versa. In 2012, she landed an RJI fellowship to develop a referral-based media technology network, which become MediaExecsTech.com.

“Our goal was to help connect the R&D arm of the local media industry with the media technology industry in a way that made it easy for them to identify and project technology platforms they could use to transform their companies,” Cromer says.

The Angie’s List–style site hosts descriptions and ratings for hundreds of products in dozens of categories.

“Our goal was to help connect the R&D arm of the local media industry with the media technology industry in a way that made it easy for them to identify and project technology platforms they could use to transform their companies,” Cromer says.

It gives an effective, affordable way for those niche companies to find their market, Cromer says. “These companies don’t advertise. They’re not in trade publications. They don’t have a full-time marketing person. They just go to one or two conferences and sign up people one by one.”

Since the fellowship, she has continued to expand the scope of her services, now building out a marketing function for technology providers, called TechRefs.com.

The focus, Cromer says, continues to be on providing information that allows media executives to make quick decisions with conviction. That ability has only become more important as media companies become more reliant on technology and the number of technology partners they use grows.

“We do a lot of research on how executives at the C-Suite level and how they purchase technology platforms,” Cromer says. “We want to revamp our model to match more closely the type of information they need and how it’s used so we can serve journalism-based media with the technology they need to continue to transform and prosper.”

Cromer started LocalMediaInsiders.com on a third-party platform. She says her RJI fellowship, which helped her launch MediaExecsTech.com from scratch, raised her confidence to a new level.

“It gave me the experience and therefore the courage to develop something on my own,” she says. “I was able to do it without a tremendous amount of expense, and I probably would have never done it without their support.”

Erik Potter  
   
Guest blogger



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