About Doug Phares

Managing Partner, Silverwind Enterprises & E&P Columnist

Doug Phares is passionate about finding ways for businesses to get past the hurdles that everyone stumbles on. From small-scale work like examining product bundling to helping decision-makers develop 3-year plans, Phares has seen it all over the course of his career.

Phares was most recently the CEO of the Sandusky Newspaper Group (SNG), a media holding company operating in Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee. Phares joined SNG as publisher of its namesake, the Sandusky (Ohio) Register, and made such an impact in change management than he took over leadership of the entire group a short time later.

While Phares’ most recent position was focused on local media, he maintains that the rules of business are universal: Simplify your processes, keep clear lines of communication, and keep everyone engaged in meeting goals.This approach has met with many successes, and Phares now has a pool of professional contacts who are available for all Silverwind clients who may need industry-specific insight or any other form of highly targeted assistance.

More than anything, Phares understands the power of setting goals and sticking to them. Beyond ever-changing “hot tips” or new industry-generated buzzwords, Phares identifies problems and sets people on clear paths to progress. Phares will never claim to have secret shortcuts to success or any other hollow promises, but he does have the experience to help clients identify their pain points and stay on the path to fixing them.

Outside of his professional life, Phares serves on the board of directors for the local chapter of Rotary International. In the past, he's held various board positions with United Way, and has also served as President of chambers of commerce and other non-profit groups in several cities.

A University of Illinois graduate, Phares spends what free time is left sailing, scuba diving, and playing with cameras. He fails to understand the allure of Twitter but will sometimes engage in frustrated dalliances with it. Additionally, he regularly contributes to a column in Editor & Publisher.

Latest Columns from "The Corner Office"

The next job market phenomenon: The Big Regret?

Just a couple of months ago, everyone was talking about the Great Resignation or the Big Quit. Whatever industry you were in, whether you were hiring a barista or a senior sales executive, suddenly everyone was desperate and hiring much more generously. Better salaries, better benefits, better everything. And hopefully, you got yourself into a stable position, because we’re entering a new era on the job market — the Big Regret.

Are you managing or doing?

It's important for managers to take stock of what percentage of their time they spend leading versus doing. By leading, this means managerial tasks like project management and enabling your team to do the work. By doing, it means completing the vital functions that keep revenue flowing.

Put away the COVID business plan — find the one you used in 2008

If you’re reading this and your organization is still standing — congratulations! The worst of the pandemic, physically speaking, is behind you, and you’ve managed to navigate an unforeseeable global crisis for over two years. And your reward is an oncoming recession.
More Corner Office
The timeless pursuit of contracting experts to give new insights is a fairly standard practice in the business world. And whether it’s a consultant, a subject matter expert or anyone else, it’s vital in these situations to think of why you brought someone in to look at the situation and give their assessment. And, once you have someone you’re confident can help you, you have to listen to them!
Read more.
When sharing your financials with your team, try to not give people more information they need to perform their jobs. Isolate the things that are high-impact and they can control. For example, instead of issuing that 47-line sheet, offer routine updates with three items that they have the most control over on the revenue side and four items that they have the most control over on the expense side.
Read more.
Businesses used to pay newspapers obscene amounts of money to run help-wanted ads; then, job seekers paid for access to where the employers were. But monopolies rarely last forever, and like with every other facet of life, the internet came in and disrupted the traditional dynamic. So, what’s the alternative to a dating app culture becoming the way we hire people?
Read more.
Sales can get a bad rap, but there are fundamental elements of selling that can be useful at any level in an organization. In fact, I'd argue that many of the core tenets of sales are really just good management skills. And the higher up the corporate ladder you are, the more essential sales skills could be for you.
Read more.
If you’ve received any business advice in the past, say, 50 years, I’m willing to bet that it came with the assumption that you wanted to expand. We hear that advice all the time — make it bigger and better, scale this area, try these new strategies for growth and similar ideas. But should growing always be the ultimate goal of every business venture?
Read more.
Here are a few ideas of ways you can work on yourself and, by extension, your organization in 2022.
Read more.
There is something to be said for one particular philosophy from 1991’s “City Slickers.” The grizzled old ranch hand, Curly, relays the secret to life — to focus on “one thing. Just one thing.” As you're starting 2022, pick one single thing to focus on. If you can't pick one big thing, try to find four things you can give your attention to in 2022. Then, rank them in order of when you think you could reasonably roll them out during the year.
Read more.
Managing is a constant juggling act, where you’re trying to get your organization, your team and yourself to the place you want them to be. And as you work on getting to that place, you’ll often find that that goal you’ve been working toward isn’t actually what you want.
Read more.
We’re well past the halfway point for the year, and in many ways, it’s starting to feel like the new normal is setting in. It’s not quite what most of us were used to, but as new buying habits, new patterns, new products, and new services have changed everyone’s lives, we’re starting to see groves form as the baseline for “normal” shifts.
Read more.
When was the last time you called your own phone system? If you don’t remember, now is the time to make that call. Literally, stop reading right now and call your own main number—not somebody’s office, call the one that rings to your auto attendant.
Read more.
While managing different companies over the years, I learned a few tricks with onboarding new employees. One of my favorites could help a lot of people in the coming months.
Read more.
It may seem impossible after dealing with the pandemic for so long, but we are finally on the cusp of the world reopening. There’s some variance depending on where you are, your vaccination rates, and other important factors, but the overall trend is that we're certainly inching closer to a post-pandemic world.
Read more.
After more than 12 months of getting by in a pandemic, I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all learned a lot. We’ve all but made it through one of the biggest business disruptions in contemporary history, and that has required a lot of adaptation and flexibility from all of us.
Read more.
I recently had lunch with a friend of mine who’s an architect, and in our conversation about our lives, he told me that before he shows a client a first draft of his work, he gives them a disclaimer: “This is not the house you need. It’s the house you thought you wanted.”
Read more.
Congratulations. You’ve started your year and the 2021 budget is officially in full swing. Bet it’s going just how you planned it, right? You put time and research into crafting your budget, you make educated assumptions, and you put in the work to get ready for the new year.
Read more.
Collaboration is a buzzword that we hear a lot. To some extent, we all know why it’s important: More eyes on a project can lead to more ideas, better troubleshooting, etc. And while collaboration is all well and good, it’s important to consider the real, operational costs of bringing everyone together.
Read more.
It would be a drastic understatement to say that we’re living in a time of change. In the past eight months, we have seen core improvements to the way we approach long-distance communication. So, what does that mean for the traditional office meeting?
Read more.
As we all keep going and the pandemic drags on, there’s a temptation to just “hang in there” until normal comes back around. But as many people are realizing, normal isn’t …
Read more.
"Leopards don’t change their spots, they just learn to hide them."
The phrase “unprecedented times” has become a platitude at this point, and while this situation is unique, I believe that we can draw from past experiences to help navigate these new …
Read more.
Read the Current issue Online
E&P Exclusives
Reporting on prisons in the United States can be challenging and often frustrating for even the most respected publications and seasoned journalists. It can't be approached like any other beat. The good news is that organizations are penetrating the confusing, dense veil of prison policies and prison life. And, they’re supporting prisoners who dare to write as incarcerated journalists and sharing tips with editors and journalists on the outside who want to report on prisons.
The term “objectivity” is itself subjective. If you were to poll the public about their desire and demand for “objective” journalism, many might opine that reporters should stick to the “who, what, when, where and why” model — sans the “why” part. But the “why” is, after all, the essential context of the story, and without it, the public is less informed and not as inclined to read the bare-bones carcass of the story that remains. Of course, contemporary conversations about objectivity and fairness in reporting are much more nuanced and complex.
In the early days of the internet, a few early adopters were starting careers in the news industry and seeing opportunities in digital that their bosses did not fully understand. Today, digital pioneers have become the bosses. Those ahead of the digital movement — like Conan Gallaty, Lisa DeSisto, Grant Moise and Robert Granfeldt — saw their careers take shape in ways they never expected.
Louie Mullen owns over 30 weekly newspapers in small towns across seven states. “Every newspaper is run as an individual. It is a representation of that community. It’s more of an old-school style of running newspapers,” said Mullen, who is buying community newspapers across the country. And, his ownership style is hands-off.
Gaps in news coverage are spreading across the country. But even with this challenge, newsrooms are finding resources and innovative ways to save or even revive their storytelling capabilities. One example is partnerships between universities and media companies. This trend is especially prevalent in local newspapers, which are facing increasing newsroom layoffs as they struggle to survive.
#NewsMedia Industry News
President Joe Biden's granddaughter Naomi Biden's White House wedding to Peter Neal was closed to the news media, frustrating White House reporters whose complaints grew louder on Tuesday when Vogue magazine's exclusive pre-wedding coverage was posted online.
The planned merger between Trump Media & Technology Group and Digital World Acquisition Corp. has attracted regulatory scrutiny because of concerns that it potentially violated rules designed to keep investors informed.
A helicopter pilot and a meteorologist who worked for a North Carolina television station died Tuesday when a news helicopter crashed along a Charlotte-area interstate, with police praising the pilot for heroically avoiding the roadway in his final moments.
The program will devote more staffing and resources to women’s sports coverage, with a focus on basketball and soccer.
As the 2022 World Cup kicks off, USA TODAY Sports+ launched interactive Augmented Reality (AR) features for the most dedicated soccer fanatics, including a customizable design for a World Cup Kit and “Make the Save,” an immersive World Cup app.
#NewsMedia News People
Amanda Choy and Mantai Chow are joining The New York Times as video journalists for New York Times Cooking.
On Nov. 17 Jeff Sine was elected by the NPR board of directors as chair of the board. Sine first joined the board in 2017, serving as a Public Director.
The News-Review (Roseburg, Oregon) has welcomed a new multimedia reporter to its editorial team. Nancy Yingtao Lu recently graduated from University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, where she received her master’s degree in journalism in August.
Rick Weegman, who has worked at The Eagle since August 2021 as news editor, was named managing editor on Monday, Nov. 21.
Mark Treinen, executive editor of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, will become the editor of The Capital Times (Madison, Wisconsin), editor and publisher Paul Fanlund announced.
Industry Partner News
It's going to be a rough year for local advertising in 2023. Borrell is forecasting that growth will be at a near-standstill, held back by a combination of economic pressures and a dramatic reshaping of the type of businesses now operating in each market. Borrell will unveil its forecasts and describe the change in business composition during a 45-minute webinar at 11 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, Nov. 17. The webinar is free.
Mediahuis, an international media group with a range of powerful brands and activities in many European countries and Ireland's leading print and digital media publisher, reaches millions …
Times-Journal Inc, is a 150+ year old family-owned media company now in the hands of 3rd generation news publishers who are committed to serving local communities with award winning journalism and results driven advertising programs.  In short, there are no hedge-funds or corporate “bean counting downsizers” here to contend with. We are committed to a long-term future in this industry!  Located in the heart of Georgia’s most desirable markets, our communities are the ideal place to live, work and play. 
"There’s got to be a better way” was what Keven Zepezauer and his team kept saying to each other whenever they talked about affidavits. Zepezauer, the president and publisher of Restoration NewsMedia in North Carolina, knew that the public notice process — with all its labor-intensive, manual inefficiencies — was a problem. “It was ugly,” Zepezauer stated. “We had a full-time person dedicated just to affidavits. We knew we needed to do something different.”