Cox Preaches Togetherness p.15

By: MARK FITZGERALD DAVID C. COX is a sophisticated businessman with a Harvard MBA and a dozen years of experience as president and chief executive officer of the sprawling Cowles Media Co. Yet his philosophy about the newspaper industry could be summarized in six words: We are all in this together.
As he prepares to take the chairmanship of the nation's biggest newspaper association at the Newspaper Association of America annual convention in Chicago, April 27-30, Cox said a hallmark of his administration will be cooperation.
"The things that help promote cooperation and working together are things I believe in," Cox said. "I look forward to providing my support in any way I can to find opportunities for cooperation, and where there is already cooperation, I want to look for ways to heighten cooperation."
For instance, Cox says, he would like to see NAA increase its already growing cooperation with state associations. And he applauds the joint initiatives with IFRA, the research arm of Europe's biggest newspaper association, and the newly reorganized Canadian newspaper industry.
"It seems to me that what a trade association ? and NAA is a trade association ? does best is work on those things which help its members with membership needs by cooperating to do things together."
After all, Cox says, "We have enough competitors ? we don't need any more competition among ourselves."
Cooperation can pay real dividends, Cox maintains.
"I think that's the secret to building national advertising: Really thinking hard about how we can grow national advertising so that newspapers become a natural alternative," Cox said.
Reflecting his optimism about the newspaper business in general, Cox says he is pleased with the gains the industry has made in attracting national advertising.
"We're a complex industry when it comes to national advertising," Cox said. "Yet, on the other hand, we have very, very attractive audiences. And I think it's impressive how much national advertising newspapers have been able to gain up to this point ? and I think it's only a beginning. More and more newspapers are focusing on this opportunity and realizing we need to make more opportunities. It's really a matter of delivering on the production and the follow-up and the billing."
Cox is especially hopeful about the Partners 2000 project under way at the Billings (Mont.) Gazette, Dallas Morning News and the Record in Bergen County, N.J. Partners 2000 takes a process-oriented approach in which all departments involved in advertising map their activities in an effort to find greater efficiencies.
Like his recent predecessors, Cox is also committed to the so-called "visioning" process NAA implemented several years ago to focus on reacting to changes in the newspaper industry, the marketplace and society at large.
"I've been part of that process, and I believe in it," Cox said. "I think another priority of mine will be continuity ? continuing to focus on the things that are already under way."
Another priority: Diversity.
"I think it's an important thrust for the industry," said Cox, who adds he is concerned not only about recruiting minorities ? but ensuring they stay.
"Most organizations, both newspapers and other businesses, that have had a real effort getting [minorities] into jobs . . . have found they have to move beyond that. They have to make people from diverse backgrounds comfortable, and have them succeed. One way to do that is to share information on success stories and ideas. Our industry is not alone in having that be something of a challenge."
He brings to NAA a willingness to experiment.
"In an age of dramatic change . . . I believe . . . in undertaking things and if not everything is successful, that is not something one need feel anxious about. You just go on to the next thing," Cox says. "You try it, fix it, try it, fix it."
?("In an age of dramatic change . . . I believe . . . in undertaking things and if not everything is successful, that is not something one need feel anxious about. You just go on to the next thing. You try it, fix it, try it, fix it.") [Caption]
?( David Cox, president and CEO of Cowles Media and incoming chairman of the Newspaper Association of America) [Photo & Caption]
? Web Site:http://www.
?copyright Editor & Publisher- April 26, 1997.


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