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"

Are you yesterday or tomorrow? Learning to take risks

A yesterday business falls back on “well this is how we’ve always done it, so this is how we should continue doing it.” And for much of American history, this strategy has been enough for plenty of businesses to succeed. But in the last 20 years, we’ve seen a growing class of disruptors who take the old model and find a way to change it for tomorrow.

Be prepared for some changes to your workplace in 2024

E&P columnist Doug Phares isn't expecting huge workplace changes during 2024. Instead, as he gazes into his crystal ball, he's predicting change will come with small, gradual steps. Read his predictions about pricing, AI and the job market.

The curious personnel case of Carla Minetti

Managing personnel can be a fraught subject even in the simplest of circumstances. Specifically, it can be hard to balance your desire to do right by the company with your desire to do right by your people. This case study from 1969 offers a lot of insight into how employers should approach managing today.
More Corner Office
Fear is an inherently defensive feeling. It can lead to hunkering down and weathering the storm, but staying safe and growing are two very different things. In business, these two actions may sometimes be mutually exclusive.
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Regardless of your industry, at least part of your organization’s core function is communicating information to your target audience. Whether that’s telling them how to make good dietary decisions or providing information on your latest sale, you are usually seeking a reaction. Because if you don’t understand their perspective, you will screw it up.
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Employees who are happy with their current employers aren’t likely to be tempted into another position. So, how do you ensure you don't lose your people to a new, more appealing offer? Simple. You become the other job. Instead of the boring person at home, you become the mistress.
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Business momentum tends to be a more significant factor in gauging a business’ performance than many people think. Some of what is happening to you may be of your own making, but it’s important to remember that you're surrounded by outside forces that could change your trajectory.
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We’re well into the new year, and by now, you certainly have some sense of what you want to accomplish in 2023. I know because it seems like everyone has been forced to identify some goal, direction or thought for the year. But setting up a goal, or “strategic objective,”  is not the same thing as executing one.
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I’ll give you some business advice you probably don’t get a lot: Stop. Stop already! Your business is trying to do too much at once; you’re trying to do too much. Stopping is often viewed as a failure or, at the very least, a lack of success. But “not winning right this second” and “losing” are very different things. But how do you tell what’s worth your time?
Read more.
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.
Read more.
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.
Read more.
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.
Read more.
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!
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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E&P Exclusives
In the 1980s, many cash-flush news organizations employed a public editor specifically to build and foster trust between readers and journalists. These days, just two news organizations in the United States — NPR and PBS — still appear to employ a public editor. So, is it time for more news organizations to consider hiring ombudspersons to help rebuild trust in the media — one community at a time?
In this month's column, E&P columnist Guy Tasaka shares some thoughts on what the future local media website looks like and how local media publishers can thrive in the new environment. As you read his thoughts, consider that any local presence that has the legacy trust can take this playbook and run with it. It could be the two largest television stations in the market, the public media company, the big university or the local chamber of commerce. There are no swimlanes anymore, and local media 3.0 will be a winner-take-all race.
The 2024 class of 10 News Publishers That Do It Right is now E&P’s News Media’s 10 to Watch. They represent our industry with small-town publishers to large properties; monthly, weekly and daily publications; legacy print and digital publications; business, university and alternative publications — representing the breadth and depth of our industry. Each faced challenges and innovated to overcome them, and each has a story to tell — revenue, content, community service, engagement, business model or platform. We’re excited to highlight these 10 to Watch to give you energy and ideas.
Although media and journalism may seem to be endangered species, they are critical to revealing the truth, supporting democratic principles and creating more enlightened voters. In the many excellent collegiate media and journalism programs nationwide, the next generation is preparing to step forward to support those principles at Temple's Klein College of Media
In a move signaling a “renewed commitment to the heart of its community,” Detroit Public TV announced its relocation back to the city of Detroit and a rebranding as Detroit PBS. This significant shift underscores the organization's dedication to serving Southeast Michigan with unparalleled quality, trust, and fairness in media.
#NewsMedia Industry News
The U.S. ambassador to Russia visited Evan Gershkovich, the Wall Street Journal reporter who has been in custody in Moscow awaiting trial for more than a year, as negotiations continue behind closed doors to secure the American’s release.
A number of media outlets covering Donald Trump’s Manhattan criminal trial are playing right into the former president’s manipulative little hands, effectively assisting him with juror intimidation.
Five senior female BBC News channel presenters have commenced legal action against the British broadcaster after a prolonged spell on the sidelines.
CalMatters, a nonprofit news outlet focused on California politics, policy, and community issues, has acquired The Markup, a nonprofit news site focused on technology and data privacy investigations.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Seattle Times’ successful newsroom mentorship program boosts staff engagement and contributes to professional development. Here are five tips for starting a successful mentorship program in your organization.
#NewsMedia News People
Jennifer Mitchell, president of CBS Stations (West Coast—Midwest), has announced a new California-based investigative initiative, CBS News California Investigates, and named longtime journalist Julie Watts as the regional CBS California correspondent.
Scripps News is announcing the launch of the Disinformation Desk, a team dedicated to exposing sources of disinformation and examining how it spreads. Liz Landers, former chief political correspondent for Vice News, will join the network as its lead disinformation correspondent. 
Rachel Cohrs Zhang has been promoted to chief Washington correspondent at STAT News.
Dr. Jennifer Ashton is scrubbing out at ABC at the end of June.
Reuters has hired Kavya Balaraman to be an editor on the commodities and energy team.
Industry Partner News
Help us recognize the foundation of news publishing, the Operations leaders who help us produce quality products each day while keeping an eye on the bottom line! Nominate an Operations colleague today, so we can profile them and share their ideas with the global news publishing industry in our 2024 class of "Operations All-Stars!"
In a strategic move aimed at optimizing its public notice services, Wick Communications, a third-generation family-owned and operated media corporation, has embraced Column’s latest professional service offering — Column Pro. This shift has reallocated staff resources, cost savings, and increased operational stability. “Column is great about attending to the details, such as keeping our newspaper logos on the invoices. Their team works with us to ensure our long-standing clients understand that Column is our newspaper partner — that we’re all working together," stated Manuel Coppola of Wick Communications.
In 2023, Amsterdam News partnered with Column to streamline its legals. Siobhan “Sam” Bennett, the President and Chief Revenue Officer of Amsterdam News in New York, NY, highlighted three stand-out reasons why their choice to go with Column has paid off. The three most impactful payment features that Column offers are payment alerts, invoice reminders, and the option for prepayment. Read about the solutions.
The National Press Institute for Audience Growth (NPIAG) along with Kelly Robinson, CEO of RedDot announced today they have partnered with Julian Placino, a professional recruiting consultant, to offer an innovative, cost-effective method, known as the Placino Carrier Recruitment Method, to identify, interview, qualify and contract newspaper carriers for any size market.