US News…On The Future

US News’ Bill Holiber and Brian Kelly are out with a new memo to staffers — “2009 Growth Strategy” — which announces some key promotions and discusses “our growth plan for 2009 and beyond.”

No mention of the magazines new monthly publication schedule in this monthly, reported today by FishbowlDC, but that is expected in days.

Join us after the jump…


    TO: U.S. News Media Group Staff

    FROM: Bill Holiber and Brian Kelly

    RE: 2009 Growth Strategy

    We’re now ready to finalize our growth plan for 2009 and beyond. As most of you know, we are organizing our efforts around five key vertical content channels that will operate as self-contained editorial and business units with their own goals for development and growth, and their own dedicated teams – Nation & World/Opinion, Health, Money & Business, Education and Rankings & Reviews. This is the next phase of our brand transformation that began last spring when we announced that we were moving away from a weekly magazine with a discrete website to become a multi-platform digital publisher of news you can use and analysis.

    We’re accelerating this transformation in response to our rapid growth online where our audience is now about 7 million uniques a month and growing. Each channel now has well over a million users, with significant growth potential.

    Going forward, each channel will feature a dedicated interdisciplinary team incorporating reporting, editing, sales, marketing, business development, circulation and manufacturing. Teams will be charged with producing even more targeted consumer products, including special reports, daily news updates, blogs, newsletters, rankings, guides and videos, as well as developing lead generation businesses and partnerships.

    To help us move to the next level of our expansion as a digital publisher I’m pleased to announce some significant promotions. Effective immediately Margi Mannix and Tim Smart will become Executive Editors with each overseeing several of the new online groups.

    Tim will have responsibility for the editorial, audience and business development areas of Money & Business, Health and Education. He will work closely with sales and marketing to coordinate our efforts to make each of these channels a stand-alone publication that can maximize the full potential of our content.

    Margi will oversee both Nation/World and the growing Opinion channel, also working with the audience and business side to create a series of products and publications to showcase the array of our journalism.

    Reporting to Margi and Tim will be a managing editor for each channel. We’re happy to say that we’re able to move Terry Atlas, Jim Pethokoukis, Anne McGrath and Kenneth Terrell into these enhanced roles. All four have been instrumental in helping us build our online presence and will now take on the added responsibilities of shaping that content for the next generation of journalism as well as helping us grow our audience.

    Also key to each channel will be the audience development managers. In Christie Garton (Money) and Mary Catherine Bain (Health) we have two proven talents. We’re looking for top candidates for Nation/World and Education. The business side is also reorganzing along these channels and Bill will share more of those details after his sales summit this week.

    Chad Smolinski will continue to run the Rankings & Reviews channel, which is already a stand alone, as we expand our automotive rankings and look to add new consumer product categories.

    This new model allows us to focus even more energy on our online audience and revenue growth which — thanks to all of you — has gone from strong to phenomenal in the second half of the year. More importantly, it addresses the needs of today’s consumers by offering them contextually relevant, exclusive journalism and other content, as well as advertisers by providing them with highly customized marketing solutions.

    It’s important to note that it is our strength in these vertical areas — our unique value proposition of packaging policy and analysis of newsworthy issues in a news you can use format — that allows us to stay ahead of a changing media landscape and do an even better job of motivating our readers to act on the information we provide them. For all of you who have worked so hard to make this transition possible, say good-bye to Web 2.0 and welcome to Journalism 5.0.

    Bill Holiber Brian Kelly