Mei-Mei Chan, (pronounced “me-me”) became President and Publisher of The News-Press in March 2010.  She has a broad knowledge of the media industry holding positions in news, circulation, and advertising. 

She shared a little about her history and transition to living in Southwest Florida.  Mei-Mei was born in Canton, China to the first woman in the village to go to school and an uneducated father.  When she was two, she and her mother and father escaped to Hong Kong, and eventually to America when she was 7.

Professionally, she’s worked throughout the country, including Idaho, Illinois, and across the country in Seattle, and started out as a cub reporter.  She said that Southwest Florida has a wonderful quality of life.  She especially loves wearing sandals and no socks – which garnered a chuckle from the audience. 

She believes leadership is also a lifelong journey, with many tools and lessons learned along the way.   Mei-Mei discussed navigating a changing landscape, pondering how to stay ahead of the curve.

Changes in landscape… remembering our journey from the first PCs, the first ebay and Amazon purchases in 1995,  first cell phones, to today when 25% of homes don’t even have a landline phone.  We also remembered the start of YouTube, where there were 32 billion videos watched in March 2010.  All these changes have occurred in just 15 years. “Ceaseless, creative chaos.”

Changing consumer… rising to the chaos, consumers are in control with 24/7 demand, content and access.  People can and will say anything and are no longer naive regarding pricing.  The younger generation is the “D” generation – digital.  If it’s not online, it didn’t happen.  There are over 100 million blogs today, combined with Twitter and other social media – this has changed society. People are connected all the time.  The new landscape is all about social sharing and social currency.  Consumers are fragmented, fickle and fluid.  They trust their network more than so-called experts.

Implications for communities, businesses and professionals… How strongly are we performing in the social ecosystem in terms of digital differentiation, loyal followers, authenticity, guiding/bridging/leading, reaching wider and deeper to a more challenging audience.  Another factor is considering access for individuals to these social communities, and also what content to provide.  You need sophisticated campaigns across the media to reach consumers throughout the buying process.  Embrace and lead with authenticity.

New media effect on traditional media… The effect of this on traditional media has been a survival of a cataclysmic storm.  Secular changes include classified categories changing, content ownership and have created perplexed advertisers.  Mass media has been redefined.  For newspapers, their unique challenge is their gigantic existing cost structure, including printing and distribution.  Newspapers are adjusting.  Only a handful have actually closed and major metro newspapers are still dominant in their cities.  Newspapers and their web sites remain the strongest of any media in their markets.  Traditional newspapers are trusted, respected brands with a wide portfolio of content and advertising. 

There’s room and space for everyone.  Although traditional media still powers the world with 67% of top news sites tied to legacy media (50% of them newspapers), at the end of the day, it’s about content and storytelling and using devices to fit your life.  Traditional media is in transformation and still powering the world.

Locally – The News-Press… has been around for 126 years.  3 of 4 adults read their portfolio of products each week in print and online.  Sunday circulation is growing.  April page views to were 12.86 million, and unique visits spend an average of 25 minutes on the site.  The cornerstones of free press are connecting, reflecting, challenging and leading. Chan assures us The News-Press is healthy and staying ahead of the curve.  

Blogger:  Kerri Goldsmith, FPRA SWFL Emerging Media Chair