- Kirsten Ballard
1. What drew you into news media?
I grew up in a newspaper-reading household and I’ve always liked the experience of reading the local paper. As platforms and technology have changed, it has been really exciting to see how the news media business has evolved to how we serve content and advertising to our readers based on their needs.
2. In your career, how have you seen audience behavior change?
When I started in the industry 15 years ago, there were no smartphones and no tablets. Watching the digital transformation has been incredibly fascinating. We try to shift our strategies to be where audiences are, and respond to what the metrics and research says about what they want. That way, we can give people more of it and in a unique way to keep them coming back.
3. How do print and digital audiences differ?
I always find it interesting how many of our former print readers have stayed with us digitally, and how many people from outside of the market are consuming the local news digitally. That said, I think there is still a great affinity for the Sunday newspaper reading experience and the numbers show us that, for the right price, people want to make newspaper reading (on a myriad platforms) a part of their routine.
4. What is the most exciting thing you are working on?
I am a part of a strategy team for a vision of what the news media business looks like in the year 2020 for CMG newspapers and it is very exciting to be a part of the long range planning, so we can continue to grow audiences and revenue while serving our local communities.
5. Where do you see the future of news media?
I think news media will continue to evolve and we have to innovate in the space to be where consumers tell us to be. With so many devices and so many distractions, we have to make sure our content and products are easily accessible and relevant. We play such an important role in the community and it is imperative that consumers feel our commitment and are happy with our products. It is an exciting time to be a part of the changing news media business because it is moving so quickly and has such a significant impact to people’s lives.
Five Answers is a weekly series that features a member of the newspaper industry answering five questions. If you’d like to participate, email Kirsten Ballard.
Ann Poe is the Vice President of Marketing & Audience at Austin American-Statesman. She is responsible for directing consumer revenue, marketing, events and audience engagement strategies. She is also the lead for native mobile product execution for all four Cox newspapers.