Relationship-building and online media are among the focuses of two new managers who joined Ballantine Communications Inc. this month. Ken Amundson will be the general manager of the companys four newspapers, and Paul Hay will be The Durango Heralds vice president of advertising.
Amundson began in the media business 37 years ago as a sports writer at the Marshall Independent in Marshall, Minn. Most recently, he was the editor and general manager at the Loveland Reporter-Herald. As general manager, he is responsible for advertising, circulation, distribution and business-related matters that relate to the newspapers production and finances.
The Herald is one of several media enterprises under Ballantine Communications, the company owned by members of the Ballantine family, including Richard Ballantine, the Heralds publisher. The company also owns the Cortez Journal, The Mancos Times, The Dolores Star, Directory Plus and social-media site Buzztown.com.
Amundson said he was glad to be working at another family-owned newspaper where revenues and expenses are looked at differently than company-owned papers.
A community newspaper tends to place a great deal of value on the role it plays in the community, Amundson said. It doesnt have to be all dollars and cents.
Amundson succeeds Sharon Hermes as the general manager of the Herald. Hermes new assignments include marketing and promotion, and increasing classified ad sales.
The Herald is unique among other community newspapers in Colorado in the resources it has, he said. Even so, economics will continue to be a challenge in the newspaper industry, and one of Amundsons goals is to increase circulation and extend the reach of the newspaper to increase revenue, he said.
When it comes to generating more revenue, online media is a quickly growing area for advertisers, but newspapers nationwide still garner the largest share of advertising dollars, he said.
As the new vice president of the Heralds advertising department, Hay will focus on developing the staff to become sales consultants for small businesses looking to market their goods and services in the newspaper. A large percentage of small businesses has limited marketing knowledge, so the Herald sales staff need to be the experts who can help business owners develop a marketing campaign using the companys online and print resources, Hay said.
As the media is changing, we need to change with it, Hay said. The old way of selling newspapers has gone out the window. The high-pressure sale is gone.
Hay worked for eight years at several large news organizations. His most recent job was in Juneau, Alaska, where he was vice president of advertising and Internet at the Juneau Empire.
He said he sees potential for growth in both online and print advertising.
I believe theres a lot of opportunity as long as we partner with businesses, he said.