- Kirsten Ballard
David Stone is the Senior Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Manager at the Austin American-Statesman and SEO Lead for Cox Media Group- Newspapers. He spends his time leading SEO tactics, training and technology as well as running the in-house SEM campaigns. David works in the Audience department and loves working with the newsroom when breaking news happens. He was born in Tulsa, OK and raised in Austin, TX with an affinity for Centex BBQ and Big Nature.
1. What drew you to working in news media?
I grew up in Austin and already had respect for the Austin American-Statesman as a community resource. I haven’t been disappointed with that ideal by coming to work at The Statesman. I’ve found that the people I work with are passionate about the product and content we provide to the local community.
2. Tell me about your experience with audience development.
I think audience development is about creating relationships with people, to help them discover our content and products. Thinking about it in that context helps me to imagine the journey I’m taking a potential customer on as I’m doing my job.
3. What is the most exciting thing you are currently working on?
Using data to drive decisions and finding gaps in audience engagement or content is something I find exciting. Often times you start with an idea or assumption and with data we can verify our assumptions. Digging into and making data-driven decisions is something I find exciting. Give me some coffee, a quiet spot and some data to analyze— that’s an exciting day at work for me.
4. What’s the most surprising thing you have learned about working with SEO (search engine optimization)?
Working with SEO is always surprising because it always changes. Even as I’m answering this question Google News made an announcement that could impact how people engage content on news.google.com. There is always something to learn, something to do and something to read with SEO and that tends to be surprising and exciting most of the time.
5. How do you see the future of news media?
In two words, courage and confidence:
Courage: I think everything has a beginning and end, and while we know news media is changing, it’s also the beginning of something new and innovative. I feel the people I work with are facing those opportunities and finding solutions with tremendous courage.
Confident: I work with some superbly talented millennials in Audience and in the Newsroom. I think their ability to leverage technology (social, search, email and tools) as a vehicle for news is amazing. I have a lot of confidence in them as the next news generation to reach all generations in a new way.
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.