All Blog Posts By Topic, Journalism

Media Ownership: Sharing Best Practices

The future of alternative media ownership is changing from an independent to corporate-based sphere.

During a workshop on July 11, 2014, at the AAN Convention about the changing face of media ownership, Chris Ferrell, CEO of SouthComm (, began the panel discussion by offering advice to editors on how to improve content—from the perspective of a former Nashville Scene publisher turned businessman who grew his company from owning only two publications to now owning more than eight across the country, including the Nashville Scene, allowing SouthComm to become the second-largest chain of alt-weeklies in the U.S. “You have to have the most culturally relevant coverage in your city,” he said, referring to the best music coverage, the best food coverage, the best investigative journalism and so forth.

Owning Nashville-based SouthComm has opened up Ferrell’s eyes to the importance of alternative media: “Our journalists write amazing stories that shape our city—from making ‘hot chicken’ famous to helping take a woman off Death Row.”

The benefit of having so many media organizations housed under one parent company, Ferrell said, is sharing best practices. By sharing event and sponsorships success stories, for example, great ideas can by copied and recreated across markets. Co-panelist Jennifer Marsh of the Baltimore City Paper shared his insight. She said her employees share stories across publications and platforms and “cover” assignments for each other to successfully balance workload when necessary.


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