‘The Dallas Morning News’ and Slingshot Announce Formation of Social Media Agency, Speakeasy

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By: Press Release | Dallas Morning News

DALLAS (September 10, 2012) – The Dallas Morning News and Slingshot LLC today announced the creation of Speakeasy (http://yourspeakeasy.com), a joint venture between the two companies that is majority-owned by The Dallas Morning News. Speakeasy is a social content marketing company that will conceive, develop, manage and execute turnkey social campaigns and promotions for both local and national brands.  

Activities for the firm will include content creation, social media management and associated SEO activities, newsletter development and delivery, video creation and distribution and reputation management.  

Jim Moroney, publisher and CEO of The Dallas Morning News, was named Chairman of the Board of the newly created company, and Owen Hannay, founder of Slingshot, was named CEO.  

Moroney said, “Speakeasy will leverage the assets of both partners.  Slingshot has a track record of innovation in the digital realm and has demonstrated an ability to manage a superior service operation for the past seventeen years.”  

Moroney added, “The Dallas Morning News has many advertisers who look to us for marketing solutions and have been asking us to help them with their social media needs. Speakeasy is committed to meeting that trust by delivering superior results with a strong team and efficient operations.”  

Hannay said, “We have felt for a long time that, executionally, social media needs a publishing partner, and we can think of no better partner in that activity than The Dallas Morning News.”  

Mike Orren, formerly the founder and president of Pegasus News, has been hired as the president of the organization. (The Dallas Morning News acquired Pegasus News in July 2012 in an unrelated transaction.) Orren has also served in senior leadership roles at American Lawyer Media and D Magazine and has served as a consultant on digital content and marketing to numerous media companies including Examiner.com and CBS Local. He is a frequent speaker at industry conferences like BIA Kelsey, Online News Association and SXSW Interactive.  

“Speakeasy uses great content to develop and maintain meaningful relationships between companies and their customers—relationships that benefit both sides and deliver real, measurable sales results that go beyond ‘likes’ and ‘follows,’” said Orren. “We have built a launch team of experienced and award-winning editors, journalists and marketers who will focus more on communications and guerrilla marketing than on the mere ability to use social platforms.”  

In addition to hiring additional strategists, account managers and fulfillment specialists in coming months,Speakeasy is building a network of freelance writers, photographers and videographers with deep local and niche expertise. Interested parties can apply at http://yourspeakeasy.com/join/.  

The Dallas Morning News and Slingshot already serve several clients who will benefit from the turnkey content marketing solutions provided by Speakeasy and are working with an elite group of technology partners including locally based MutualMind, Copyblogger, PocketStop, Tactics Digital and Cinsay, as well as out-of-market partners such as Kapost, Orange Soda and LocalEdge.  

About Slingshot, LLC  
Incorporated in Dallas in 1995, Slingshot is a privately held, full-service agency that provides marketing and advertising solutions to clients who understand that their consumers are changing dramatically due to the digitization of their lives and media fragmentation. The agency’s clients include Texas Tourism, Joe’s Crab Shack, Borden Dairy, IHOP@Home and the American Heart Association. Services include traditional and interactive advertising, social media strategy, web development, media planning and buying, and brand development. Slingshot was ranked in Advertising Age’s Best Places to Work in Media and Marketing in 2011 and 2012. For more information, please call (214) 634-4411 or visit http://www.davidandgoliath.com.    

About The Dallas Morning News  
Established in 1885, The Dallas Morning News (dallasnews.com) is Texas’ leading newspaper and the flagship newspaper subsidiary of A. H. Belo Corporation. It has received nine Pulitzer Prizes since 1986, as well as numerous other industry awards recognizing the quality of its investigative and feature journalism, design and photojournalism. Its portfolio of print and digital products reaches an average daily audience of more than 1.1 million people and includes online news and information sites; iPhone, Android and iPad apps; Al Día (www.aldiatx.com), the leading Spanish-language daily in North Texas; neighborsgo (neighborsgo.com), a consumer-generated community news outlet; and Briefing, the free, home-delivered quick-read.  

To advertisers, the portfolio of products is represented by DMNmedia (www.DMNmedia.com), the marketing solutions group of The Dallas Morning News, Inc.  

About A. H. Belo Corporation  
A. H. Belo Corporation (NYSE: AHC), headquartered in Dallas, Texas, is a distinguished newspaper publishing and local news and information company that owns and operates four daily newspapers and related websites.  A. H. Belo publishes The Dallas Morning News, Texas’ leading newspaper and winner of nine Pulitzer Prizes; The Providence Journal, the oldest continuously-published daily newspaper in the United States and winner of four Pulitzer Prizes; The Press-Enterprise (Riverside, CA), serving the Inland Southern California region and winner of one Pulitzer Prize; and the Denton Record-Chronicle.  The Company publishes niche publications targeting specific audiences, and its investments and/or partnerships include Classified Ventures, owner of Cars.com, and the Yahoo! Newspaper Consortium.  A. H. Belo also owns and operates commercial printing, distribution and direct mail service businesses.  Additional information is available at www.ahbelo.com or by contacting Alison K. Engel, Senior Vice President/Chief Financial Officer, at 214-977-2248.

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