Three new jobs for local media companies

Seth Godin recommends that every web company needs these three positions for success today, and I couldn’t agree with him more. I would add, however, that to the extent that media companies are attempting to reinvent themselves, these certainly apply to them as well:

  1. COMMUNITY ORGANIZER. Find and connect and lead a tribe of dedicated users that contribute to and benefit from the work you do.
  2. STATS FIEND. Measure everything that can be measured. Do it efficiently and consistently. Find out what metrics are important and cycle until they improve.
  3. MANAGER OF FREELANCERS. Find and hire and manage the best outside talent in the world. If it can be defined as a project, and if great work defeats good, seriously consider having the MOF get it done.

Media companies simply must begin the slow process of developing communities of interest, so the first job is obvious. The Web is social, and social activity takes place within communities.

One of the practices of successful media company online ventures is an incredible thirst for data, so the second job is equally important. Web selling is all about data, but whose data? Local media companies really suffer here, and this needs to be changed.

I’ve written here before about the rise of independent journalists, so staffing a position to oversee all that will also be important for local media companies downstream.


  1. “Blog Jockey” is a good one! Whether they use the titles or not, these roles are becoming essential in newsrooms.

  2. This may be a (rare) case in which the Old Media is ahead of the game. I’ve been seeing job posting bearing similar descriptions for several years now — particularly the online community development role, which I think is pretty much a standard part of the structure in Gannett markets. Stats monkeys were identified as a requirement way back in the last century. As soon as you discover stats cost a LOT of money to gather, you right away allocate manpower to make sure you’re not throwing the money down a rathole.

    What’s changing right now is a move to integrate these functions at the working level in newsrooms, as opposed to being part of some separate online department (or even delegated up to the corporate team).

    Freelancers, of course, have always been a routine part of journalism, to the degree that union contracts allow the practice.

  3. can i add one to the list?

    4. MOSW (click my name)

  4. Good info, Steve. Newspapers are way ahead of TV stations on this, especially in stats and community development. I do think the freelance job will increase in importance as more journalists are forced to fend for themselves and the industry shifts to independent contractors. And I’m always cautious when old media adopts new media thinking. It very often isn’t complete, because it’s driven by the all-consuming need to make money through brand extensions.


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