How the brand new chief of The Hill, NewsNation views politics, PR and media success

News Author


The Hill

It’s been a rocky twenty first century for the information media, and the final yr hasn’t provided any reprieve.

Media organizations outdated and new have seen layoffs and bankruptcies — and a few have simply closed store altogether.

Add that to a deeply polarized panorama the place journalists themselves typically grow to be the story, a looming election and it’s a frightening time to take the helm of a political information group. However that’s precisely the place Joe Ruffolo, senior vp and common supervisor for The Hill and NewsNation Digital, finds himself.

However he’s not scared.

“There’s clearly an enormous transition, however we’ve been doing very nicely on either side of my place right here,” Ruffolo informed PR Day by day throughout a latest interview. “Clearly we’ve seen optimistic site visitors and outreach, but additionally from our promoting companions, I see a whole lot of energy in that as nicely.”



Ruffolo’s profession in media has spanned practically 30 years and your complete evolution of digital information, from his early profession at CNN to stints with ABC Information, AOL and MTV Networks. Most lately, he served as managing director for OceanX.

“I typically snicker to myself, once you actually take a look at how far (digital media) has come because the earliest days of CNN Interactive, and the way monumental and simply the basic habits of most individuals’s information consumption has grow to be on the digital aspect,” Ruffolo stated.

He’s at the moment tasked with discovering a method to convey non-partisan information to individuals at a time when nearly nothing feels non-partisan. However that makes the work they do much more essential.

As Ruffolo has talked to common individuals about his new position, he stated he’s heard the identical complaints: I don’t really feel knowledgeable, I don’t know what’s really occurring as a result of I don’t know who to belief.

Ruffolo, maybe idealistically, believes {that a} give attention to the basics of journalism and what issues most to individuals may give them causes to belief once more each The Hill and NewsNation, he says, thrive once they give attention to making the main points digestible — and even pushing past the overtly political protection they’re so identified for.

“I feel typically we are able to get caught up in only a few large tales that the media likes to speak about. However once you actually get into the economic system, and well being and schooling and all these actual points that truly influence individuals’s lives, I feel that’s what’s being neglected,” Ruffolo stated. True bias, he believes, comes from story choice and what information retailers select to cowl and select to not cowl.

You’ll be able to anticipate finding broader protection on each information retailers within the coming months, together with on subjects like what it means to be a dad or mum, well being and psychological well being struggles, and extra — which implies extra pitching alternatives for PR execs. Ruffolo needs that collaboration.

“We’re attempting to be a bit extra proactive and placing out extra info round what we’re doing,” Ruffolo stated. “However I actually wish to simply be a bit extra interactive with individuals on concepts … attempting to speak to as many individuals as I can.”

Waiting for 2024

Ruffolo wasn’t fairly able to share the retailers’ plans for 2024 presidential protection — keep tuned within the subsequent few months for that. However he did reveal that video will paved the way in protection. Search for large issues from The Hill TV, their YouTube channels and NewsNation.

NewsNation, he defined, advantages from having the infrastructure of Nexstar behind them to assist distribute programming like “The Hill on NewsNation” to a broader viewers.

“What you’ll see us proceed to do is elevate all these completely different native items as a lot as we are able to to essentially reply what individuals care about,” Ruffolo stated.

The metrics they use to find out what individuals care about differ. Clearly, internet site visitors is a vital, if blunt measurement of success. Nevertheless it’s removed from the one metric he cares about.

“I additionally take a look at simply the journalism of what we do,” he defined. “I feel it’s crucial that we do have an ideal range of tales. So not every little thing can really be judged by site visitors.”

The Hill’s Cheyanne M. Daniels and Alex Rosenwald will converse at PR Day by day’s Media Relations Convention in Washington, D.C. on June 6. Register as we speak

Allison Carter is govt editor of PR Day by day. Comply with her on Twitter or LinkedIn.