FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nancy Lane, Chief Executive Officer, Local Media Association
(March 9, 2020) — Mitch Pugh, executive editor of The Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C., has been named the Local Media Association’s Digital Innovator of the Year for his leading work in generating significant digital subscriptions growth for his company, emerging as an industry leader in this area.
The award, which will be presented at LMA’s Digital Summit, May 11-12 in Chicago, recognizes a digital media executive who is pioneering new concepts, experimenting in new and creative ways and delivering impactful results for their company.
“To say Pugh is obsessed with growing digital subscriptions is an understatement,” said Nancy Lane, CEO, Local Media Association. “When President and Publisher P.J. Browning put him in charge of the company’s audience revenue strategy, he took that charge very seriously and has owned every aspect ever since. It’s rare to find an editor that embraces the business side with such enthusiasm and energy. This has been the key to Charleston’s success in this space and it’s a model for others to look at and consider.”
Pugh was one of 10 publishers to participate in the GNI Subscriptions Lab, which recently wrapped up after 10 months.
While Pugh’s results are impressive — digital subscriptions were up 45% last year and the increase in average monthly consumer revenue was up 56% — it’s his leadership that earned him this award, Lane said. The entire company has rallied around his plan and strategy, which included using key benchmarks from the Subscriptions Lab to completely rebuild the company’s roadmap. Browning told a packed room at the recent Mega-Conference that Pugh provides updates on the numbers 3-4 times a day. He also champions a culture of experimentation, which is key to their success.
Most newspapers put a business-side executive in charge of consumer revenue strategies but it’s the newsroom that ultimately needs to drive this. “Pugh is everything the industry needs when it comes to editors leading digital subscription efforts,” said Lane. “We think he’s created a model worthy of duplication in other markets.”
“This honor truly is a reflection of the great work our team at The Post and Courier has done over the last year,” Pugh said. “We’ve had complete and total buy-in on our audience revenue strategy, all the way from the leadership of President and Publisher P.J. Browning to the amazing work of our frontline journalists. Our newsroom has readily embraced this challenge and the promise it holds for our future. I’m blessed to work alongside such a great team.”
About Local Media Association/Local Media Foundation
Local Media Association (https://www.localmedia.org/) is a thriving and innovative organization serving more than 3,000 newspapers, TV stations, digital news sites, radio stations and research & development partners. LMA is the only industry trade organization that brings all local media together for the purpose of sharing, networking, collaborating and learning. The association’s focus is on reinventing business models for news. LMA’s innovation engine, Accelerate Local, launched six projects in 2019 with 50 different media partners. The Local Media Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable trust that supports the mission of LMA and the essential role of local news and information in a healthy democracy.
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