These specific initiatives from companies we’ll visit on the next Innovation Mission will wow you

On the Feb. 5-7 Innovation Mission in Atlanta and Raleigh, attendees will meet the following companies who are creating compelling products and strategies that other media companies can learn from.

Here are some very specific examples of what those companies are doing:


They are making a big bet in verticals, investing in original content and brands in high-engagement categories such as college sports, cooking, and Spanish language news and lifestyle. In college sports, Cox has aggressively expanded from a few team-oriented sites in its local markets (Hook’em for the University of Texas) to a full network of conference sites under the Diehards.com brand. It’s already attracted major category sponsorships.

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They have built successful sponsored video franchises across multiple digital platforms. Its “Car Smarts” series, for example, appeals to auto enthusiasts with original video content produced in conjunction with an advertiser. Topics vary widely, from tailgating tips to weather-proofing your vehicle for winter. Videos are distributed widely, including through Facebook Live, which has driven lots of engagement. WRAL is leveraging these programs, with Facebook as a key component, to secure lucrative advertiser contracts.

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They are one of the most compelling case studies of transformation: a longstanding powerhouse, upended by new technology, that has redefined itself to thrive amid disruption. Adopting design thinking companywide, IBM has built a huge team of designers and an extensive global IBM Studio platform that it also uses to drive business outcomes for clients in areas such as new product development and customer retention. Watch a video on IBM’s reinvention through design here.

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They are bringing together industry leaders, research fellows and students to analyze the role that data can play in improving the costs of effective reporting while also generating new revenue sources. The goals and potential outcomes are significant: introduce new efficiencies into the journalism process, improve the user experience through data storytelling, and find sustainable business models.

Reese News Lab Executive Director Ryan Thornburg dives deeper on using data to productive reporting.

You can register for this Innovation Mission here.