Local Media Consortium Rusty Coats moderates a panel

LMC Executive Director Rusty Coats moderates a panel of new member partners (from left) Ryan Stephens, Brandforge; Charity Huff, Okanjo; and Jim McIntosh, AdPerfect.

CHICAGO — The Local Media Consortium semi-annual meeting in Chicago (May 16 – 17, 2017) brought together more than 160 top local media executives and key players from companies like Google, YouTube, Monster and several LMC partner companies. The two-day event provided critical information to LMC members and provided unique opportunities to network and collaborate.

More than three-quarters of LMC member companies were represented at the meeting at the downtown Chicago Hilton on South Michigan Avenue. Sponsors included career platform Monster, law firm Cooley LLP, Thatcher + Co. and LMC partners AdPay, Memoriams, Google, Legacy.com and Tout.

No longer a start-up partnership, the LMC has grown from a 32-member partnership with no revenue and no cost savings to members to a 70+ member partnership with combined savings and revenues for partners of more than $110 million.

The Chicago meeting included a keynote discussion from Monster CEO Mark Stoever, who discussed leading a digital media company in an era of change. “Real digital transformation involves the entire organization. It involves people and culture as much as — or perhaps more than – it involves technology,” Stoever said. In the recruiting industry, Monster is battling niche sites the way news organizations are battling them, in many ways.

Stoever cited Winston Churchill: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Today, that means Monster and all digital media companies need to adjust their strategic approach. Monster, for example, has changed its site significantly to respond to opportunities and to focus more on giving people what they want. With an eye toward the future, Monster is already starting to track Gen Z preferences and needs.

Rusty Coats, Campbell Brown

Facebook’s Campbell Brown talks with LMC Executive Director Rusty Coats at the LMC spring 2017 member meeting in Chicago.

In a Q&A with Facebook’s head of Global News Partnerships Campbell Brown (moderated by LMC Executive Director Rusty Coats), Brown discussed Facebook’s role in the local news ecosystem, fake news, building healthy and informed communities and the steps Facebook is taking to work more collaboratively with local news publishers.

Facebook may have a role in partnership with news organizations to figure out the future financial model for journalism. “I think morally we have an obligation to help make sure news organizations are successful for the long term and we are committed to helping figure that out,” Brown said.

Google also has a strong interest in having a healthy news ecosystem, said Richard Gingras, Vice President, News at Google. From delisting fake news websites to Project Shield, ongoing development with Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and ad technology improvements, Google is focused on helping news publishers succeed.