Daily Report: SNA Foundation’s North American Innovation Mission

SNA President Nancy Lane will provide daily reports from the road while traveling with the Innovation Mission. Eighteen community media executives are taking part in this week-long study to visit with some of the most innovative media houses in North America. The group is focusing on new business models and emerging content strategies.

Clark Gilbert, President
& CEO, Deseret News
Publishing Company and
Deseret Digital Media

Monday Afternoon Report – Content Strategies

“Strategy is never more than 49% of the solution; you must have great people” – Clark Gilbert, President & CEO, Deseret News Publishing Company and Deseret Digital Media.

One thing was clearly evident, the greatest disruptor in our industry has assembled an unbelievable team to execute. All come from a digital background (0 years of collective newspaper experience).

The innovation mission attendees met with more than 14 of the top managers at Deseret Digital. The afternoon focused on content strategies and after a tour of the amazing converged newsroom, executives shared some of those strategies.

Chris Lee, VP of Digital, shares information about web round-ups, database content and the family media guide.

Chris Lee, VP of Digital, explained that unique content online results in a much larger web audience. They are executing four major strategies (all to be covered in the in-depth industry report. They are:

  • Web round-ups
  • Evergreen content
  • Automated deep linking
  • User generated content

The user generated content is accomplished through Deseret Connect (a contributor network that now has over 1,000 participants). There contributors are well-screened and receive tremendous feedback via “coaches”. Many receive little or no compensation. They have quickly become a valuable and welcomed resource for the newsroom. They also have enabled Deseret Digital to greatly reduce their cost per story online without compromising quality. Much more detail will be shared in the report and follow up webinars.

The day included a tour of the integrated newsroom. KSL.com and deseretnews.com take center stage.


The SNA Foundation would like to thank Clark and his team for the exceptional day and generous amount of time devoted to our group. We can’t wait to share everything that we learned upon our return.

Next up: Meeting with GateHouse Media & Dow Jones Local Media (pay walls, ROI-based advertising models, creating the digital agency).