- Kirsten Ballard
Digital’s ever-changing impact on contemporary news organizations requires greater collaboration between newsrooms and business staff than ever before. Platforms like Facebook, Google and Apple are not the sole domains of the editor or the marketer – they must be shared for maximum effectiveness. Chloe Stepney, manager of audience development at tronc, has a remarkable ability to build bridges between business and editorial teams. Her boss, Mark Campbell, SVP of digital marketing, jokes that he wants more Chloe “clones” on the team—the one request she hasn’t been able to fulfill!
What drew you to this industry?
I kind of fell into and discovered journalism in my senior year of high school. I went to USC and majored in journalism, and that if nothing else confirmed my interest in working in media. I started out print-focused, wanting to be a reporter. Through various internship and other experiences, I was exposed to other elements of media, primarily social media.
What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day is filled with several calls and meetings. There are always lots of projects to handle; my to do list is endless, but it’s not a bad thing. I work with all of our markets in various cities spanning a couple different time zones. . The key to staying organized is to assess what’s on the table and what’s important. Communication is key and that’s one thing that has driven my success. It’s easier to be productive when you communicate well.
Is your young age an advantage or disadvantage?
I’d say it’s an advantage, although I’ve never thought of it that way. It’s not uncommon in the places I’ve worked. It’s advantageous because I’m able to pivot and adapt very quickly. I’m not intimidated by something I don’t know or can’t do.
You’re going to have an edge on other people if you’re willing to dive into new things every day. Social media changes so much. It’s essential to continue to learn and to read as much as possible every day. My inbox is flooded with up to 10 newsletters every day. Some are about the industry, some are about journalism and some are about women in the industry. There are many different ways to get informed.
What are your goals for future?
It’s tough to predict where I want to go. I’ve been at my current job for three years. With the pace at which the industry moves, it’s tough to predict where things will be one to three years from now. I’m excited about the change and never let it scare me. It motivates me. Of course I want to continue to rise. Leadership is a goal of mine.
Where do you see the future of the industry going?
I think the next five years will be acutely focused on delivering information in the best way possible. It is key for people and companies to listen more than ever to their readers. People are trying to get informed right now. Politics are a whirlwind. There are always things happening and people want as much information as possible. We need to understand the needs and gaps. Ultimately it’s a service industry. We’re here to provide information to people and vocalize things that otherwise would be overlooked. I’m not the one creating the content, but I know my skillset allows that content to get into the hands of readers and provide information they otherwise wouldn’t be able to consume.
Every company needs to evolve and get faster or smarter. That’s how a company is going to succeed. There are always cuts and layoffs, but ultimately the industry will continue to stay relevant by continuing to evolve. We have to serve the needs of our readers.