By: Jason Williams
Newspaper Seeks New Digital Ventures
On the one-year anniversary of being named senior vice president and
publisher of USAToday.com, Lorraine Cichowski is getting a new job – or
During the five-year existence of USAToday.com (for which she wrote the
original business plan), Cichowski has managed to juggle the day-to-day
operations of the Web site, while keeping an eye open for future new-
media projects. As of March 1, she’ll be responsible solely for
exploring and reviewing new-media and digital ventures for Arlington,
Va.-based USA Today .
Cichowski says the move is being made in anticipation of a number of
important business deals coming down the pike this year. ‘The number of
those deals and size of those deals have gotten much bigger and much
more serious, and we can’t afford for me to be doing a day job as
publisher of USAToday.com and juggling the rest of those reviews on the
side or on Saturday afternoon,’ Cichowski says.
One such deal has already been announced. On Feb. 16, Gannett Co. Inc.
purchased an interest in LuxuryLink.com, a travel, property, and
auction site. In addition to travel, Cichowski says Gannett is looking
into health and sports, areas that are ‘strategic to the USA Today
‘The potential deals and opportunities are very different,’ Cichowski
says. ‘They span the gamut from a product-development kind of project
that we may incorporate into the core USAToday.com brand … to the
extreme, a joint venture that may not bear the USAToday.com name.’
Jeffrey A. Webber, former vice president/circulation for USA Today ,
will be replacing Cichowski in the position of publisher of the Web
site. Webber takes over a very healthy operation at USAToday.com. It
was one of the few newspaper Web sites that was profitable last year,
boasting a ‘double-digit return on sales,’ Cichowski says.
‘Starting things is fun,’ she says. ‘I had the wonderful opportunity of
creating USAToday.com and seeing it move into the wonderful position to
being very nicely profitable. And we had an incredibly profitable
January, which is a great way to go out, leaving operations from both
an editorial and a business perspective very solid.’
Jason Williams (email@example.com ) is the
new-media reporter for Editor & Publisher magazine.
(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher