Lloyd Armbrust is CEO of OwnLocal, which he founded in 2010 to help local media companies improve their digital advertising revenue. Below he writes about “Broadsheet,” a video podcast series sponsored by OwnLocal. Knight Foundation has invested in OwnLocal through the Knight Enterprise Fund. “Broadsheet: The Business of News” launches this week as a video series to discuss the importance of local media and showcase the innovative ideas that newspaper publishers from across the country have developed.
In my 15 years in the newspaper industry, I have seen two types of leaders. There are thought leaders whose job it is to think about the big picture of media (and what the future of the newspaper industry holds), and then there are local media execs who are in the weeds and run the day-to-day operations of producing a newspaper.
Both positions are important for the success of the industry, but there is a disconnect between the two ways of thinking. The big picture thinkers have a hard time wrapping their heads around the everyday struggles of the modern newsroom. They cannot understand them on an intimate level because they don’t live and breathe them.
The people who do understand that are the local publishers who spend every day figuring out what they need to do to grow their profits in a time where print revenue is dropping and digital is overwhelming. My work with OwnLocal has provided me with a unique perspective on this. When I visit our various clients across the country, I see innovation happening at many small publications. The challenge is those publications do not have the time or the resources to share their ideas with the rest of the industry; they are too busy doing to stop and teach.
This is “Broadsheet,” a combination of industry leaders and operators talking about the business of news.
We began this project with no expectations, but came out of it with 120-plus hours of video footage filled with innovative ideas and anecdotes. We are breaking that footage into topical episodes that will be released as a weekly podcast available on broadsheet.org, iTunes and YouTube.
What we found were recurring core themes that have the potential to change how local media agencies operate and positively affect their bottom lines, including ways to add new revenue streams and best practices to organize legacy and digital sales organizations.
If one media company puts this into action and adds an additional $30,000 to $300,000 in revenue, we’ve positively impacted the industry and we’re really happy with that knowledge.
This is meant as a conversation starter for the industry. We’d like for our viewers to participate in conversations on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter so ideas can continue to grow and flourish. Please join in.