Five Answers is a weekly series that features a member of the newspaper industry answering five questions. If you’d like to participate, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeffrey L. Hartley is President and Publisher of the Log Cabin Democrat in Conway, Arkansas. Prior to this position, Jeff served as the Vice President of Consumer Revenue for the Morris Publishing Group. Jeff has spent over 30 years in the newspaper industry.
1. What drew you into news media?
Actually, it was completely by accident. The incident that caused it involved a hurricane and a demolished drive-in movie theater. My part-time job during high school (and one of the coolest you could ask for) was working security at the local drive-in theater. Free movies, free food and watching for cars trying to sneak in the exits, like I said, really fun. Hurricane Frederic hit Pensacola, Florida on September 13, 1979 and changed all of that, completely destroying the drive-in. It was near the end of the drive-in movie era and they decided not to rebuild. I needed a job. A good friend of mine told me about a district manager job open at The Pensacola News Journal. The rest is history.
2. What is your favorite part of your job?
Working with my team. I’m awestruck by what a small group of dedicated people can do every single day.
Think about it…every day they create excellent content across multiple platforms that engages our audiences and provides solutions for our advertising partners. And then we do it all over again the next day.
3. How did your background in circulation and revenue prepare you for this job?
In circulation, we live and die in the math. Key Performance Indicators are in our DNA. That works well regardless of the revenue stream we’re focusing on.
4. In your time as publisher, what are three lessons you’ve learned?
A) If you have a great team member, hold onto them. Make sure they win.
B) Digital services and our ability to market them are critical to our success. Our knowledge and belief in them open the door to new partnerships.
C) We need to own local from both an audience and advertising perspective.
5. What do you see as the future of newspapers?
I’m optimistic that we’ll continue to provide news and information that our readers need to help live their lives. Content and platforms will continue to evolve but we’re going to be here. Print isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and in community markets it is still delivering solid results for many of our advertisers. Having said that, we must have growth in digital advertising revenue and digital services.