The News Media Alliance mourns the loss of John Murray, News Media Alliance VP of Audience Development. He was with the Alliance for over 20 years and was a treasured member of our team.
John began his career in 1976 as a division manager at Sears Roebuck in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Wanting to look at other career options, he remembered that “the concept of working at a newspaper was exciting.”
“It was about being a part of something larger than any one industry. I saw the job as having the potential to be a vocation as well as an occupation. It was intriguing. At the time, I was looking at a career path where I could apply my marketing skills and education in an industry that was in short supply of business acumen. Newspapers were looking for trainable young people in search of a career and I signed up.” John joined the Columbus Ledger-Inquirer, followed by Fort Wayne Newspapers, building his career in circulation.
At the Alliance, he specialized in helping members achieve increased audience growth and circulation through new and creative approaches. He was the face of the organization for many members — providing benchmarking data and sales trends, and capturing success stories of innovative practices. He was the man behind the NAA Facts, Figures & Logic, Single Copy Snapshot and Circulation Analysis reports, the popular Audience Development Symposium held annually at the mediaXchange conference through 2017, and more recently, the Driving Digital Subscriptions report and our summer audience webinar series.
“John was not only a great colleague and a tireless champion for the news business, he was also an incredibly kind and personally generous man. John devoted his life to the business and people that he loved, and we will be diminished by his absence,” says David Chavern, President and CEO of the Alliance.
John believed the future of news was going to remain focused on the human need for news and information and fought relentlessly to help prepare our members to continue to meet these needs in the digital age. He had many friends across the industry. “I simply can’t count the number of people who pulled me aside to sing his praises,” said Chavern. John made it a particular point to connect with members and partners constantly, taking a genuine interest in their work.
When he wasn’t serving as a staunch ambassador for our members, he was doting on his children, Peter Murray, Matthew Murray and Kathryn Murray Powars, and grandchildren Adam Powars and John-Ellis Powars. He was looking forward to greeting grandson Theodore Murray later this month. He also adored sailing his boat, the Shooting Starr, and dreamed of conquering the Bahamas-Havana loop.
This is a true loss for the Alliance and the industry. He will be greatly missed.
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Members of the News Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.