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McClatchy’s Maria Ravera on how collaboration drives innovation

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This interview is part of the Alliance for Audited Media’s new Media Mavens article series that features industry leaders and the impact they have made throughout their careers on their colleagues, companies and the industry.

Maria Ravera started out in the industry selling newspaper subscriptions for The Sacramento Bee. What began as a summer job in college eventually turned into a life-long career. She’s currently the senior director of subscription strategy — mobile, direct marketing and digital migration for McClatchy and president of the Audience Development Media Alliance (ADMA).

Here Maria shares insights from her career, including advice for those new to the industry, how McClatchy accelerated its digital transformation and what news media means to the communities they serve.

AAM: Is there anything in your career or the industry that has surprised you?

Maria Ravera: I’m surprised that even after 27 years, every day is a new adventure. I’m amazed at the resilience of our industry, our team and the individuals that pour their hearts and souls into our success day after day. It’s not for the faint of heart and our teams are so committed to our success. I was also surprised to learn just how important news media are to peoples’ lives, to the businesses that we help advertise and build, and to the communities and governments that we hold accountable.


AAM: Could you share one initiative that helped your company achieve its goals?

Maria Ravera: We launched a digital Saturday edition that was a company-wide initiative across all our markets. This initiative accelerated our digital transformation, improved our financial outlook and optimized several areas of our business. It was successful because every division was involved and we learned and adjusted together as we expanded.


AAM: How has AAM supported your company in reaching its goals?

Maria Ravera: AAM has been helpful in reviewing programs and adjusting as the industry shifted. As newspapers and advertisers need new solutions, AAM is at the forefront of ensuring that we have solid practices in place. The quality of audits and products such as AAM Brand View help us tell our story and ensure the trust and confidence of advertisers.


AAM: What in your career are you most proud of?

Maria Ravera: I’m most proud of being a part of something that is bigger than I could have ever imagined. First, in audience, our role has been to take the amazing work that our journalists and advertising teams do and bring it to the consumer. What we do is crucial to democracy, civic engagement and even day-to-day survival. Second, I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many talented people over the years — bright, creative, thoughtful people who are passionate about what we do. Third, as an industry we’re stronger together and there has been an unbelievable willingness to share ideas and lessons learned and genuinely give back.


AAM: What word describes your company?

Maria Ravera: Transformative. We are constantly asking questions, testing and launching new initiatives. We’re optimizing the legacy side of our business while transforming every aspect of the company.


AAM: What piece of advice would you give someone starting out in your field?

Maria Ravera: Look forward to a bright future but don’t dismiss the lessons and knowledge of the past. Newspapers have been using data and analytics to drive growth and revenue for 150+ years. We need innovation and creativity today and we can take the best of what we’ve accomplished to become a digitally sustainable business.

To read more interviews with AAM’s Media Mavens, visit auditedmedia.com.

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