Lee Named Participant in Google News Initiative Data Lab

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Lee Enterprises, Incorporated, a trusted local news provider and leading platform for advertising in 50 markets, announced that the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has been selected as a participating publisher in the GNI Data Lab. The program is a partnership between the Google News Initiative, the Local Media Association and Deloitte Consulting and is designed help publishers build sustainable and thriving digital businesses through improved use of audience data.

“This is an outstanding opportunity for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Lee and the other participating publishers,” said James Green, Lee vice president of digital. “This project will allow us to share and develop best practices with leading experts inside and outside of our industry. Our company has a long history of strong digital growth, and the discoveries from participating in the GNI Data Lab should contribute greatly to sustaining and accelerating that growth in the future.”

According to information released by the partnership, the GNI Data Lab will help publishers further establish a data-driven culture, develop employee skillsets, define key technologies and refine the data they gather. The project will also review opportunities for digital advertising revenue growth, including enhanced audience-based advertising, improved pricing strategies and better management of digital inventories.

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A recent study by Deloitte Consulting found that less than 10% of news and media companies maximize the use of data to operate and grow their business.

“Building a data-informed culture requires a real commitment from multiple stakeholders across a company,” said Director of Google Global News and Publishing Partnership Solutions Ben Monnie. “We’re excited to continue our partnership with LMA and Deloitte Consulting to launch the GNI Data Lab, so that publishers of all sizes can learn how to transform their advertising businesses through responsible data use.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Publisher and Lee Vice President Ray Farris said better use of data is fundamental to the future of the industry. “As a leading local digital advertising provider, we’re very excited to participate in the GNI Data Lab,” Farris said. “The digital media landscape is evolving at a breakneck pace, which makes this opportunity to share successes and learn from others a great benefit to our industry as a whole.”

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The St. Louis Post-Dispatch was one of six participants selected for the program. Others selected were: The Seattle Times; Meredith Corporation’s WFSB-TV in Hartford, Connecticut; The Philadelphia Inquirer; Graham Media Group’s KPRC-TV in Houston; and the Tampa Bay Times.

“We invited a select group of media companies with respected digital abilities to apply for this transformative opportunity,” said Local Media Association President Nancy Lane. “The companies chosen represent highly engaged, talented teams, all backed by strong executive leaders excited about the project and the opportunity that smart data strategy and execution provides.”

Findings from the study will be completed later this summer and will include recommendations and tactics to spark both near-term and long-term improvements to the digital publishing industry.

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