Visit by Russian media sparks discussion at the ‘dome

This week, two groups of Russian journalists and business-side personnel from a variety of Moscow-based media outlets visited Thunderdome to discuss local news strategy.
This week, two groups of Russian journalists and business-side personnel from a variety of Moscow-based media outlets visited Thunderdome to discuss local news strategy.
journalists-side

Vice president of national digital sales Brian Georgi discusses Digital First Media’s advertising efforts with visitors from the Russian media. (Photo by Frank Scandale)

Thunderdome took on international appeal this week when two separate groups of Russian newspaper editors and publishers dropped by our New York headquarters. The timing of the visits was coincidental, as both groups learned about Thunderdome separately.

One group connected with Digital First Media after reading CEO John Paton’s blog; the other linked up with Thunderdome through Digital Transformations Editor Steve Buttry (a.k.a. Mr. Twitter). In both instances, it was DFM’s Thunderdome strategy that caught their attention. World channel manager Jason Fields MC’ed the visits, ensuring our guests got an overview of both editorial and business-side operations.

Brian Georgi, vice president for national sales, explained how Digital First’s national reach builds on the strength that comes from knowing our local markets. From the editorial side, VP of print production Frank Scandale walked our guests through DFM’s redesign strategy and the advantages of using standard templates.

“They asked very direct questions in an attempt to understand our strategy and tactics,” explained Frank. “The questions ranged from how our business model worked to our plans to share content.”

Jason offered this anecdote about the first group’s visit:

The Russians, speaking through a translator who sometimes took five minutes to relay something said in one, kept pushing us on what advantages advertisers got from working with us, rather than other people.

I told them a story that my mother once told me. My mom worked at the tabloid New York Daily News and heard it there from an ad sales guy.

The sales guy said that he was determined to get ads from the upscale department store Bloomingdales for the paper, and just wouldn’t leave Bloomies’ ad buyer alone. That is, until he got the following explanation.

“Your readers,” the Bloomies guy said, “are our shoplifters.”

Basically, the stuff you put your ads next to matters. A lot.

That’s when we started to see some Russian heads nodding around the table.

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