The Union now has an “audience development manager”

I don’t learn much from The Union publisher’s column because it increasingly is an ad for the newspaper — without any new information.

But this week, Jim mentions (for the second time) what he calls the newspaper’s “audience development manager.”

In this weekly column he writes about being invited to a woman’s house (a subscriber, he points out) to see “ghost photographs.” Well, OK then.

Then he adds: “I found myself wondering if I should be visiting a reader’s home without having ever met her, so on the way out the door to meet Merrill I stuck my head in The Union’s audience development manager’s office and said, ‘Hey Elizabeth, come be my bodyguard. There is wine involved.'”

I have been a journalist for 35 years, but have never heard of that title.

So I looked it up on LinkedIn and other journalism sites, including Swift. As it turns out the “audience development manager” for The Union is named Elizabeth Baldwin. On her LinkedIn account, that is translated to be the circulation manager for The Union and TheUnion.com.

Elizabeth lists her experience as circulation manager (AKA “audience development manager”), senior accountant at The Union and office manager for Sierra Plumbing Supply before that.

Now I get it. In the “old days” the “audience development manager” was the circulation manager.

Here’s how the New York Times describes its “audience development strategy.”

To me the solution for our local newspaper is more simple (and others in our community agree — from “electeds” to nonprofits to civic leaders to grassroots activists).

•The basics of journalism: grammar, spelling, multiple sourcing, institutional knowledge, etc.

•A fair and balanced Op-Ed page, with proper vetting of submissions.

•Timely delivery of breaking news on the web and social media.

It’s a tough time for newspapers, because the internet is changing how we communicate.

About jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.
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