Welcome to Technology for Publishing’s roundup of news about women’s roles, contributions, and achievements in the evolving media business. This latest installment highlights Nylon EIC Gabrielle Korn’s approach to the brand’s digital transition, a talk with top NatGeo execs on competing in modern media, how Medium VP Siobhan O’Connor is shifting to a subscription-based model, Elisabeth Goodridge’s role as editorial director of NYT newsletter strategy, and more.

Gabrielle KornFashion mag reboot

The industry’s transition to digital marches on, and for those completely shifting from print to digital, that means preserving what’s proved successful in their legacy models while creating something new from the ground up. That’s the approach Nylon EIC Gabrielle Korn (pictured) is taking as she builds a digital “dream team” and prepares for an overhaul and expansion of the former fashion magazine’s website. “Digital content should not be less than magazine content,” she tells Folio. “The same care that goes into magazine stories should go into digital stories.” In addition to her strategy for the new site, set to debut in the fall, Korn shares her thoughts on audience development, hiring for digital, and how she inspires her team.

Staying relevant

National Geographic executives Susan Goldberg, Courteney Monroe, and Rachel Webber know a thing or two about modern media: Together, they run the brand’s magazine, global networks, and digital properties. And they know what it takes to be successful across today’s evolving landscape. As Monroe, CEO of NatGeo’s TV networks, puts it, “I compete with anybody who’s taking a consumer’s time away from watching National Geographic content.” And, of course, that includes social media, where NatGeo has built a big lead among publishers, boasting the largest non-celebrity Instagram audience with almost 89 million followers. In a podcast with Recode’s Kara Swisher, the execs discuss how the 130-year-old brand is thriving in a rapidly changing, cross-platform world.

New model, new challenges

Siobhan O’Connor needed a change and was ready to take a risk when she left her executive editor position at Time magazine in 2017 to join Medium, which had just switched to a subscription model and had yet to show much in the way of revenue. Now, just six months into her role as vice president of editorial, O’Connor says she’s seeing some “encouraging” results: Traffic almost doubled to 13 million unique visitors in July, and Medium’s subscriber base has grown 160% since February, with a 95% retention rate. In a Digiday profile, O’Connor describes how she’s working to chart a new course for the evolving content platform.

In-box innovation

In a Q&A on Medium’s site, Elisabeth Goodridge discusses her role as editorial director of newsletter strategy at The New York Times and the challenge of driving innovation on an “old-school” platform. Goodridge says when she began her work back in 2016, “there had been no real thought about audience.” But that’s changed in 2018: “I’m trying to tell everyone in the newsroom that they can’t just care about the text. They also have to care about the product, and they have to care about their audience.” Add to that a laser focus on aligning new product launches with those audiences. Goodridge also offers insights on “newsletter overload,” how newsletters differ from other content, and the importance of experimenting with the medium.

Hiring News Roundup

  • Kelley Gudahl was named Fatherly’s vice president of marketing. She previously headed industry marketing at Condé Nast and held related roles at Esquire and Popular Mechanics.
  • Kate Lewis is taking over Joanna Coles’ former role as chief content officer at Hearst Magazines. Lewis has worked at Hearst since 2014, most recently as senior vice president and editorial director.
  • Melinda Merino was promoted from executive editor to editorial director and associate publisher of Harvard Business Review Press, where she has worked since 2000.
  • Betsy Morais was named managing editor at the Columbia Journalism Review. She has also worked in editorial roles at The New Yorker and The Atlantic, and most recently served as senior editor at Harper’s.
  • Jennifer Mullin is succeeding Cecile Frot-Coutaz as FremantleMedia’s new CEO. Prior to her appointment, Mullin served as CEO of FMNA, the largest global unit at FremantleMedia, and had previously worked at Paramount, Telepictures, and Universal.
  • Dawn Ostroff is Spotify’s new chief content officer, previously serving as president of Condé Nast Entertainment.
  • Sharon O’Sullivan joined Ozy Media as its first-ever chief revenue officer. She had been an ad executive at Discovery Communications.
  • Christa Scharfenberg, acting CEO of The Center for Investigative Reporting, was named the permanent CEO. She previously headed the organization’s studio, overseeing audio and documentary content.
  • Melinda Stevens was named editor in chief of the merged U.S. and U.K. editions of Condé Nast Traveler. Stevens had served as EIC of the U.K. edition since 2012.
  • Meridith Webster was appointed Vox Media’s chief communications officer, a new position at the company. Previously, she ran Emerson Collective’s public affairs practice.

Let us know in the comments if there are any other recent stories or career moves you’d like us to include in our next Women in Media roundup.

Photo: Folio

Technology for Publishing’s Women in Media blog highlights the news and achievements of female leaders and role models in the publishing and media industry. Look for our in-depth profiles and interviews of top women to watch. Is there someone you’d like to nominate for an upcoming Q&A? Drop us a note!

Posted by: Margot Knorr Mancini

A thought leader in the publishing industry, Margot Knorr Mancini has helped numerous publishers redefine their missions to become nimble content generators with the ability to repurpose content easily and efficiently. As Founder & CEO of Technology for Publishing, her analytical mind allows her to remain a step ahead of the industry, recognizing early trends and developing pivotal best practices.