Rising Star Sarah Jarvis, Tribune Publishing

Sarah Jarvis was interested in journalism from an early age. Like many Rising Stars, she was on the yearbook committee in high school and she continued studying journalism in college. From college, she moved into the marketing field and went on to get her Masters in Communications Management at the University of Southern California.

Her first job focused on digital marketing in the beauty industry. She began to miss journalism and the writing aspect. Over two years ago, Tribune Interactive had an opening for a Digital Marketing Activation & Subscriber Engagement Manager – she applied and got it.

“News is a really important field, now more than ever,” she says. “I was eager to get back into that line of work.”

At Tribune Interactive, her main priority is activating print subscribers to use their digital subscription. When subscribers sign up for print, a digital subscription is included at no extra cost, so Sarah helps them get the most bang for their buck.

The typical subscriber she targets is older, bought the subscription years ago and wants the paper in the morning. The audience doesn’t typically follow up with news during the day.

For the older audience, the web can be overwhelming. As part of the digital subscription, tronc readers get an e-newspaper, formatted like a traditional newspaper and emailed to them every morning.

Sarah says this is the biggest selling point because of the familiar format and its accessibility when readers are away from home. “They might not be comfortable browsing a site, whereas with the e-newspaper, that’s what editors have decided is the most important news of the day. You can take it and read it anywhere,” she says. “Everybody loves the e-newspaper.”

In his Rising Star nomination, senior manager of subscriber retention Jon Utz wrote of Sarah, “For anyone else, this would be a seemingly impossible task, but she goes after this goal with enthusiasm and an extremely positive attitude…Changing a behavior of a subscriber like this is extremely challenging, however Sarah has gone all-in to accomplish this.”

As part of her job, she works to make the digital subscription activation as automated and painless as possible. A few times a week, the targeted audience receives an email, asking them to activate their digital account. The email describes the benefits and includes a CTA button. When users click to activate, their information is automatically populated so all they have to do is create a password and hit submit. By signing up, they automatically begin receiving the e-newspaper at their email address.

Last year, Sarah also helped with two LA Times events that were open to subscribers only. The idea was to give subscribers more benefits than they already experience. The events were sports- and politics-themed. They featured editors and writers who took questions from the audience.

“People wanted these kinds of events,” she says. “It was cool to see everyone show up and show a lot of love and appreciation for the work the writers and editors do.”

She says it’s easy to lose the face-to-face connection with readers when working in the digital space. “People really care what you’re writing and putting out every day,” she says.

Her proudest accomplishment is her work with the Student Subscription Program, where college and high school students get a digital subscription at no cost that can be used as a primary news source, research or just to keep informed.

When she was in school, some papers offered discounted subscriptions, but nothing that was free. “I know it’s something I would have taken advantage of,” she says. “Giving students free subscriptions is something I’m really proud of.”

 

Kirsten is the Social Media and Blog Editor at the News Media Alliance.

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