We sat down with Gannett’s Jerry Hill, the newest member of AAM’s board of directors, to get his take on where newspapers will be in 30 years and how AAM can help them get there successfully.
AAM: What’s your role at Gannett?
Jerry Hill: I’m an ex finance guy who jumped into the circulation and sales realm. My role has dramatically changed over the years and presented many opportunities to go out of my comfort zone. My official title is vice president of strategic segments and marketing operations. That includes responsibility for our strategic segments Sunday Select, national products sales for retail, blue chip, and strategic pricing and education. It also includes revenue performance, budgeting, financial and AAM reporting. and our inbound and outbound call centers. Most recently I have been very involved with integration of our new acquisitions, which is very exciting. At Gannett, we have no silos so we frequently cross over inter and intra departmentally. A key example of this is how we work closely with our national advertising sales. If there’s something where you add expertise or value, you are tapped and jump in. It’s terrific.
AAM: How have you been involved with AAM?
Jerry Hill: I’ve been involved with AAM for about 12 years, and I’ve chaired a few larger initiatives through the NMA Liaison Committee. So I have come up through the ranks on different task forces, and the next step was for me to step into an AAM director role. With the varied experience in circulation, finance and advertising, I think it’s a good fit. And it’s always good to give back to the industry.
AAM: What topics would you like to see the AAM board tackle on behalf of newspapers?
Jerry Hill: First of all, I would call us media companies, so on behalf of media companies, I think AAM needs to remain the gold standard for our print advertising partners. But even more essential is we need to evolve our reporting and metrics, so advertisers and marketers can examine our total reach, not just within a single market or product but across a global network. We need to continue the good work that’s already been done and evolve more digitally with the industry.
Get to Know Jerry
Are you an early riser or a night owl?
I'm up early because I run in the morning. I run about 30 miles a week.
How do you get your caffeine fix?
I get a big Starbucks every day. It's my pay back after the run.
Books or movies? Any recommendations?
I'm reading Gray Mountain by John Grisham. The only time I get to read is when I have down time on a plane so it takes me a while to finish a book.
I would be lost without my ...
I would be lost without my phone. That's a work thing but truly I would be lost without my family, my wife and son. I think it's very important to keep a balance and they keep me grounded.
AAM: What’s one thing you think AAM’s clients should know about the board of directors and how it functions?
Jerry Hill: From an outsider looking in, the value of the board of directors is to really make sure we are first providing media companies and advertisers with accurate metrics. Second, we are helping advertisers make strategic decisions as to what media platforms they use to reach their customers and produce the best ROI. I also remind clients that the make up of the board is advertisers, agencies and media companies who collaborate on a variety of initiatives, not a bunch of circulation people and auditors.
AAM: Where do you see the media industry in 30 years?
Jerry Hill: I think you’ll see more consolidation of media companies, more conversions to digital products and a deeper focus on mobile. But the biggest focus is showcasing our relevance to our audience and advertisers. We have to be able to talk about measurements that are meaningful to advertisers so that they can measure their ROI in our product, whatever format it is in.