Why The Newspaper Business?

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There was some news in the media about my future yesterday.

Let me start off with this: I am not leaving Mirum (formerly Twist Image). I will not be putting less time into Mirum (in fact, I’ve been working harder and harder at it). I will not stop blogging, podcasting, speaking, writing books, and publishing articles. I won’t even slow down the sarcasm on Twitter or Facebook. I will (hopefully) be adding in another – very important – responsibility to my professional portfolio (pending shareholder approval). It’s a big one. It’s a big change for me. It’s something that requires attention. I have been nominated to become a board member for Postmedia.

What is Postmedia?

It’s a large media and publishing company that owns The National Post and many local newspapers (Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun and others), they also recently acquired Sun Media, and have their hands in many others businesses in the media, publishing and technology space (200 brands). It’s a big and powerful media company, here in Canada. And – as you can see by a simple Google search – has a fair amount of challenges (and opportunities). if you’ve been following my work for any semblance of time, you know why this is so important to me. I started off in journalism, I published magazines, I have written and contributed to many publications over the past two decades and – ultimately – I believe in the importance of these news institutions, and how they serve the public, while still being pragmatic that they are a business and responsible for both returning revenues and innovating, as the customer has so many more media outlets to choose from.

Change is hard. Change is possible.

This won’t be an easy task. My main role (should I get nominated) is to provide guidance and leadership in the space of how they can best transform their business, as customer’s primary news gathering preferences have shifted. How can digital marketing best serve the businesses needs (and how well they’re doing this through analytics, their advertising offering, etc…)? Where can they improve on their marketing innovation? How can they improve on the myriad of transactions they have with their customers? And – of course – the quality of the products and services. My desire to take this on comes from a very simple and honest place: quality journalism is still key to a modern society, and an important (though often overlooked) component of how information gets distributed. Yes, you can get information a lot faster in a world where everyone can lifestream our world in text, images, audio and video in social media, but that doesn’t mean that we’re able to understand the real issues. Who will help us look at the data and opinions beneath these stories, and help to provide a broader perspective on the issues that are shaping our lives? Companies like Postmedia provide this service. It’s an important service, and one that I think I can add my particular skill set towards.

An insider from the outside.

I have not been shy about newspapers and traditional media spaces in the past. That won’t change. I have been critical of the business model, what comes as we move from paper to screens to whatever comes next… and much more. I love reading the paper (yes, the physical one… anyone who has met me on a plane knows this). I love the new business models that many of these traditional institutions are evolving towards. More than anything, I am curious. Curious about what Postmedia can (and should) look like going forward, and how disruption (from within and from new comers) is going to change the face of news, journalism, publishing and media.

New adventures…. it’s always exciting.