Maggie also sits on the board of The McClatchy Company. Here we discuss some of the market preassures facing McClatchy and what she views as the way ahead. Of course, we have discussed the newspaper industry’s woes in a fair bit of detail here recently. It’s interesting to hear how a Board Member views those challenges.
SM: I saw that you are also on the Board of McClatchy. MW: I am, and I am also on the board of Xerox. I joined the Board of McClatchy back in 2001. I have been familiar with McClatchy for many years. When I first started my career with CableData in the late 70’s, it was headquartered in Sacramento, which is also where McClatchy is headquartered. McClatchy has been doing business in Sacramento for 150 years. They were also in the cable business back then, so they were a customer of mine at CableData, and I did get to know the principals of the company.
Over the years I saw what they have done, and they saw what I have done. The newspaper business, being a business to business advertising supported industry, as well as a business to consumer marketplace, you look at my background and I have experience in both those areas including advertising with Wink communication. It was a good fit based upon my capability. It is also a public company and I have been (and am) a public company CEO, so that fits. It just made sense for me to go there.
SM: What do you see happening in the newspaper industry given the assault of new media? MW: I think that whenever you have disruption, and there are events which have been disrupting the basic business model of the newspaper industry, it gives the industry an opportunity to course correct and make sure they survive in the long run.
Gary Pruitt, who is the CEO of McClatchy, is a terrific leader. He is great at strategy and execution and at staying focused on what is important from a customer perspective. I have a lot of confidence in Gary’s ability to weather the storm and come out with capabilities and opportunities which will keep McClatchy viable in the long run. I do believe that people will continue to read newspapers. Folks will continue to get news either in the printed form or online, or from the television or radio. There are many outlets for people to obtain their news.
One of the things that McClatchy has is great journalistic excellence. For people who want to go deep on stories, whether it is online or newspaper, they will continue to seek out the type of companies that will provide content in that fashion. McClatchy also has the number one internet websites in the markets where they do business. They have done a great job of building revenues on the Internet side, counter balancing some of the losses they have seen on the newspaper side.