The addition of the two papers will bring 22nd Century Media’s totally number of publication to 15 with 14 of their weekly publications in Chicago’s suburbs and the Malibu Surfside in California. The company started in 2005 with the launch of The Homer Horizon and has rapidly expanded ever since. CEO Jack Ryan founded the company with the intent of creating products that were ‘category killers’ in local markets by providing the most relevant and best content to a targeted area.
“In these markets the two most important things people care about are their largest financial investment, which is their house, and their largest personal investment, which is their family. Our strategy is to provide 40 to 50 stories per week with a focus on those two topics,” said Ryan.
While the company was originally envisioned as focusing on digital content, they have found success with both advertisers and with local readers with their print products. Advertisers continue to see more value in getting their messages in the hands of consumers rather than paying for online banner ads.
“We're printing papers because the world is making us print papers,” Ryan said.
He attributes a lot of the company’s success to a relatively young core management team of four individuals that have helped to rapidly grow the company. This team is composed of chief revenue officer Andrew Nicks, chief events officer Heather Warthen, chief creative officer Shannon Mashek and managing editor Joe Coughlin.
Warthen recently spearheaded the launch of 22nd Century Media events, with four signature events a year as well as several smaller community events. These events give the company a chance to connect with their customers face-to-face while providing their advertisers with additional opportunities as well.
The company’s commitment to excellence in their digital and print products has won them 112 awards. They have been recognized by both national and state level organizations. Most recently they received seven awards in the 2014 Better Newspaper Editorial Contest held by the National Newspaper Association.