News Take Episode 203: Pioneering Innovation at Legacy Magazine and News Media Brands

Our competition is not another news outlet in Philadelphia, it’s the 24 hour clock, it’s Netflix, it’s YouTube, it’s scrolling through Instagram. So how are you going to break through in someone’s day, so that they feel compelled to read your content, and further compelled to pay for that content. We think about this in terms of our content strategy in the newsroom, we strive to be useful, revealing and responsive, that’s the lens that we look through what we produce.

– Lisa Hughes, The Philadelphia Inquirer

Guest: Lisa Hughes, Publisher, The Philadelphia Inquirer

How can magazines and newspapers innovate to attract and keep subscribers in an increasingly competitive landscape? What must news and magazine publishers do to continue to keep their readers engaged over the long-term?

In this episode of News Take, Lisa Hughes, the first female Publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer, joins News/Media Alliance VP, Research & Insights, Rebecca Frank, for an insightful conversation about the evolution of magazine and newspaper media during a time of rapid change. Hughes shares how she’s led with innovation at top magazine and news publications to introduce successful new products and brands that have kept readers and subscribers coming back for more. She talks about her very first experiences working in the magazine publishing business, and how she rose through the ranks to become a top executive at The New Yorker and Condé Nast Traveler before making the transition to Philadelphia’s flagship newspaper, The Philadelphia Inquirer, where four weeks in she found herself brand new and having to adapt and respond amid a nationwide shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She shares how innovative strategies and products, including live blogs, newsletters and gamification have been successful in driving audience engagement, as well as the potential of new platforms such as TikTok for meeting audiences where they are. She also talks about the risks and opportunities that come with new technologies such as generative AI and where she sees the technology having the most potential to optimize the reader experience.

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Speaker bio:

Lisa Hughes is Publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer. As Publisher, Hughes brings to the role an impressive track record, having successfully transitioned an iconic print brand into a multi-platform, profitable business. Hughes is the first woman Publisher and Chief Executive Officer in The Inquirer’s 190-year history. Hughes is known as a skilled business executive who values and respects journalism. Under her nine-year leadership, The New Yorker, owned by Condé Nast, grew from a largely print-only magazine into a multimedia enterprise. Over the past decade, The New Yorker revamped its website and paid digital content strategy and built award-winning mobile apps. Hughes launched the acclaimed New Yorker Radio Hour and Podcast, and restructured The New Yorker Festival into a profitable business. She left the company at the end of 2017. Prior to The New Yorker, Hughes served as VP Publisher of Condé Nast Traveler for 10 years, steering that magazine through the most successful period in its history.

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News Take Production Team:

Host and Executive Producer: Rebecca Frank, VP, Research & Insights, News/Media Alliance

Production Support, Editing & Distribution:

Georgi-Ann Clarke, Social Media & Content Manager, News/Media Alliance
Rachel Fox, Manager, Membership & Events, News/Media Alliance
Lindsey Loving, Director, Communications, News/Media Alliance

Audio & Video Engineer: Current Media Group

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