How The Pilot Transformed its Business Model

David Woronoff

Penny Muse Abernathy, a professor and the Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the University of North Carolina, has done groundbreaking work both documenting the rise of "news deserts" and developing sustainable business models for local news organizations.

She shared a noteworthy example of diversification in her interview with the Medill Local News Initiative's News Leaders Project.

In this article, read about how The Pilot, a twice-weekly hundred-year-old paper in the Sandhills of eastern North Carolina, has transformed its business model, developing critically important digital skills while also remaining first and foremost a newspaper company with strong ties to the community where it is located.

Calendar of Events
September 26, 2019

This free video conference will focus on holiday sales planning: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas and other 4th Quarter sales plans.

October 6 - 8, 2019
December 10 - 11, 2019
Have You Reserved Your Hotel Room?

Photo courtesy of Marriott International

Have you reserved your room at the JW Marriott for the SNPA-Inland Annual Meeting?

Wednesday is the deadline to reserve a room in our block.

What Really Prompts Readers to Subscribe to Digital Content?

Tim Franklin, Edward Malthouse and Christine Taylor

Extensive research and data analysis by the Local News Initiative at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications identified reader habits as vital to retaining online subscribers - but they also encountered some surprises along the way. For instance, subscribers who read a lot of stories and read them more deeply were not more likely to keep their subscriptions.

On Tuesday morning at the SNPA-Inland Annual Meeting, our presenters will detail what really works to cultivate readers willing to pay for your valuable digital news content.

SNPA People

Bryan Sandmeier

Carl Esposito, publisher of The Daily Times in Maryville, Tenn., for nine years and regional president for Adams Publishing Group for nearly three years, will retire effective Nov. 1.

Bryan Sandmeier, general manager of The Daily Times, will be promoted to publisher.

Paul W. Mauney, general manager of The Greeneville Sun and Adams' chief revenue officer for this region, will replace Esposito as regional president for Adams' Tennessee/North Carolina/Virginia group.

Bill and Nickl Atkinson

Bill Atkinson, an accomplished newspaper executive, has been appointed publisher of The Meridian Star.

His appointment was announced by Donna Barrett, president and CEO of CNHI, LLC., The Star's parent company.

Nadine McBride

Nadine McBride, who has led The Bulletin (Norwich, Conn.) for almost five years as its publisher, is leaving to take an executive position in New London.

Jim Van Nostrand

Jim Van Nostrand, previously editor of the Daily Astorian in Astoria, Ore., has been named as the new state editor for GateHouse in Missouri.

John Gallas

There has been a change in some editing responsibilities at The Daytona Beach News-Journal, as part of a newsroom reorganizing announced to the staff this past week by News-Journal Editor Pat Rice.

John Gallas, a veteran of more than 20 years in the News-Journal newsroom, has been named the newspaper's managing editor.

Riley Bunch

Riley Bunch is CNHI's new statehouse reporter. She is a former reporter for the Idaho Press newspaper, where she covered state and national politics and dabbled in education and social issues.

Earnest Horn

A Wyoming County native with more than a decade of newspaper circulation experience is joining HD Media as group vice president of audience development.

Rick Armond

A veteran Ohio journalist began work Monday as the new editor of The Daily Record (Wooster, Ohio) and its website.

Vanessa Wakeman

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications has announced that Vanessa Wakeman, founder and CEO of The Wakeman Agency, one of the nation's leading social change agencies, has joined the College as a Public Relations Department professional-in-residence for the 2019-20 academic year.

Industry News

Arkansas County Broadcasters, Inc., operating under the East Arkansas Broadcasters company umbrella, has purchased the Stuttgart Daily Leader from GateHouse Media.

The Stuttgart Daily Leader has served Stuttgart and the surrounding communities since 1885.

Scott Siler, chief operating officer for EAB, said: "Our company is excited to purchase the Stuttgart Daily Leader. We feel like adding the Daily Leader to our group of six radio stations in South Central Arkansas will be a great outlet to help us continue to provide great local news and information to the area. We will be making plans over the next several weeks to bring the paper back in some fashion as soon as possible."


McClatchy is focusing its attention on the power of its opinion journalism to drive subscriptions and engagement across its portfolio of 30 media companies.

In a memo released to staff last week, Kristin Roberts, vice president of news, and Colleen Nelson, national opinion editor, outlined the effort to achieve deeper results from its opinion pages.


Half Moon Bay Review (Coastside News Group, Inc.) has chosen Brainworks Stratica Advertising & CRM solution.

Barb Anderson, publisher at Half Moon Bay Review, shared: "We viewed Stratica during a live webinar and we were immediately in awe. Stratica is on the leading edge of media technology. It is everything and more of what we were looking for in an Advertising and CRM solution. We are replacing our current antiquated system and our team is extremely excited to move into this century!"


BlueVenn has been selected by Seaton Publishing Company to drive multi-channel audience acquisition, engagement and retention.

Jay Seaton, executive vice president and publisher at Grand Junction Media, Inc. commented: "After participating in The ROUNDTABLE at Vail these past two years, my brother and I have recognized the urgency to embrace a data-optimized approach to audience growth and monetization. Seaton's partnership with BlueVenn will enable us to implement such an approach quickly, effectively and cost-efficiently. We can't wait to get started."

Register by Friday for Free Video Conference

Oct. 6-12

Download editorials, editorial cartoons, promotional ads and more to help your newspaper draw attention to National Newspaper Week, Oct. 6-12.

All of the materials are available for download at no charge to daily and non-daily newspapers across North America.

SNPA Jobs Network

Burlington Executive Editor / Triad Editor, Burlington, N.C.
This person will serve as executive editor for the Burlington Times-News with additional oversight of newsroom leaders at the Asheboro Courier-Tribune and Lexington Dispatch. Learn more and submit your resume

2nd Pressmen for a DGM 430 press, Sun  Publications, Lakeland, Fla.
Sun Publications (DR Media) is looking for 2nd press leaders who are experienced – ensuring safety, quality, basic maintenance and repairs on press. Learn more and submit your resume

Post your job openings with us. To post your employment listing, simply email the text of your ad to cindy@snpa.org.

Training and Development

Free Webinar: Friday, October 18 | 2 p.m. EDT, 1 p.m. CDT
SNPA and Inland members can register free

Research shows that small-town, geographically-bounded U.S. weekly newspapers continue to be viable in the digital era, despite the struggles larger U.S. newspapers continue to undergo. Webinar participants will receive a useful survey tool that they can use in their own communities to better understand the expectations of their audiences. More

Reader's Corner

News and commentary of interest to journalism innovators and entrepreneurs. Read the latest from the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute.

3680 North Peachtree Road | Suite 300 | Atlanta, GA 30341 | 404.256.0444 | Send your eBulletin news to cindy@snpa.org