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Capital Region publisher sees bright future for community journalism

Outlook

Capital Region publisher sees bright future for community journalism

Newspaper publisher and media consultant Mark Vinciguerra says diversity is the key to success
Capital Region publisher sees bright future for community journalism
Mark Vinciguerra
Photographer: Provided

For publisher Mark Vinciguerra, the future of journalism, and media in general, looks bright.

Vinciguerra, who resides in Clifton Park, is the president at Capital Region Independent Media LLC and the National Press Institute for Audience Growth, a consulting group.

He recently acquired The Ravena News-Herald, a weekly newspaper, after leaving his post as publisher at Columbia-Greene Media. 

Despite a climate in which some media operations across the county have undergone massive layoffs and have been reduced to bare-bones staff, purchasing a weekly community-based newspaper was not something Vinciguerra approached with fear. 

Instead, he saw it as a challenge that would come with large rewards. Vinciguerra started his media career in radio in Syracuse, shifting eventually to the circulation, audience engagement and publishing aspect of newspapers after jumping at the chance to dive in while waiting for a job as a reporter.

Vinciguerra worked in circulation at The Post Standard in Syracuse for about 10 years, and then moved to Pittsburgh to be the circulation director of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review.

From there he went to Trenton, and then to the Albany Times Union, and finally arrived at Columbia-Greene Media, where he eventually left to launch his own businesses.

As the decades went by and media audiences changed, Vinciguerra realized that, in order to find success moving into a newer, digital era, newspapers would have to adapt in order to thrive.

“I believe that any good media right now, whether it be newspaper, broadcast, radio, television, digital, it has to be multi-channel. It has to be multi-platform,” he said. “If all you do is produce ink on dead trees, then you probably are not destined for a lot of future. You need to be diverse.”

He added that, in his opinion, it’s an exciting time to work in the field, whether it be as a reporter, editor or publisher.

“To me, there’s no better time to be in media than right now, because it’s diverse. If you do it right, it’s diverse,” he said.

While Vinciguerra has always desired to own his own business, the right enterprise didn't present itself until late last year. Although he'd had plenty of opportunities to branch off over the years with other people, he wasn't passionate about any of them. 

“I’ve always had the desire, but I’ve never had the opportunity laid out as well as it was in this situation,” Vinciguerra said.

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During his first month with The Ravena News Herald, the paper gained dozens of new subscribers and several hundred followers on Facebook.

That, to Vinciguerra, proves that communities are eager to find media outlets they can engage with and rely on. This makes them receptive to his philosophy of one-size-fits-all.

“That tells me that the community is supportive,” he said. “There is a bright future for community journalism.”

Vinciguerra’s consulting business has allowed him to engage with media outlets and other organizations and new ways to diversify content creation even further. 

Right now, Vinciguerra mostly works with daily papers, weeklies and magazines that are aiming to reduce expenses, grow audiences or advertisers. 

Companies that bring him on as a consultant tend to be open to thinking forward and trying new things, along with making investments in their own organizations. 

“There’s a lot of people who are stuck in their old ways, and they’re probably not the leaders who will take their publications to the next level. That’s just the reality,” he said.

While paywalls might work for some organizations, they won't for others, and Vinciguerra said he can tell almost immediately if a company he is working with is going to be open to working on creative ways to more forward.

“There’s going to be a lot of different ways that you do journalism,” he said. “There will be a lot of experimentation because things don’t work for everyone.”

In the future, Vinciguerra hopes to expand the publications that he owns, expand his consulting business, and bring more passion projects into the fray.

For the time being though, he will focus on bringing passion, audience and attention back to local journalism.

“I’m a big believer in community journalism still has a place, and it's still looked to as a source of information in a community, if it’s done right. Quality journalism is still appreciated in communities,” he said.

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