Coming soon: The Digiday Changemakers 50

We’re busy putting the finishing touches on the next issue of Digiday magazine, which will you’ll receive in mid-June. Earlier this week, I got a message from a publishing executive asking, “Is Digiday the only trade pub that doesn’t do lists?” It was fortuitous timing since this issue will feature our first-ever list: The Digiday Changemakers, 50 people in media and marketing that are making change happen.

We have avoided lists for the past seven years. I inherited a project to do a Digiday 100, but that was mothballed. The reason: I was burnt out on doing manufactured lists that are simply a reason to sell congratulatory print ads. I saw business models based on this kind of ego-vertising.

But as time passed, I started to reconsider my aversion to lists. Most are simply done poorly, opting for the same people for the same things. For our first list, we decided to skip the big names you see regularly on innovators lists. Instead, we are focusing on those making change happen day to day. The future of media and marketing will be written by those with their sleeves rolled up, doing the hard work. It’s often unglamorous. It’s not going to be written by the professional conference circuit speaker on “disruption.”

Here’s a preview of the type of people we’ve chosen to highlight:

  • An editor who is making people rethink what kind of media young women want.
  • A French newspaper’s digital lead who is transforming a venerable journalistic institution.
  • A marketer who is proving there’s brand value in standing up to intolerance.
  • A newspaper product whiz proving tech can thrive in legacy news organizations.
  • An anonymous social media activist group forcing brands to reconsider their media values.

That’s just a sampling. The list is varied, diverse and, hopefully, includes some unexpected names. We are holding an event honoring these changemakers on June 7 in New York City at 7pm. As Digiday+ members, you’re invited to join us. I hope you will. RSVP here.

Every crisis is an opportunity
The well-timed YouTube brand safety “crisis” unsurprisingly took center stage at both the NewFronts and this week’s Upfronts presentations. The digital media presentations naturally focused on how they really, really are brand safe, while old-line TV execs took potshots at digital media. NBCU’s Linda Yaccarino was on-message yesterday, basically telling ad buyers not to trust anything the internet kids are saying. This is, of course, curious considering NBCU’s own digital ad business and investments in BuzzFeed and a raft of others through parent Comcast. Here’s what senior reporter Sahil Patel says is behind the gamesmanship.

Every crisis is an opportunity, and the TV business — which has long been under attack from Google and Facebook — was not going to pass up a chance to hit back against its digital competitors. One senior exec at Viacom, which has been doing more intimate client dinners in lieu of several big upfronts for its networks, said the company is emphasizing trust in its negotiations. ‘We’ve built our relationships on the bedrock of trust; that’s not something we’re going to take lightly as some other companies [implying Google and Facebook] have been accused of doing.’ Yaccarino was even more direct on stage, arguing that ‘promising brand safety is a really low bar, and some companies can’t even do that.’ Advertisers aren’t stupid, and several buyers laughed off the idea that they’d stop spending money with Google and Facebook. But they were also quick to credit the TV networks for improving their targeting capabilities across TV and digital — which means digital-only publishers, as usual, will have the toughest road ahead.

The Digiday+ Slack is up and running
In case you missed it, we started the Digiday+ Slack channel with an hourlong conversation with Dotdash CEO Neil Vogel. Our editors are in there every day discussing pertinent topics. We’ll have our next town hall with Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore on Thursday, May 25, at 1 p.m. ET. You were sent an invite. If you have questions about logging in, please contact David Amrani.

More in Media

NewFronts Briefing: Samsung, Condé Nast, Roku focus presentations on new ad formats and category-specific inventory

Day two of IAB’s NewFronts featured presentations from Samsung, Condé Nast and Roku, highlighting new partnerships, ad formats and inventory, as well as new AI capabilities.

The Athletic to raise ad prices as it paces to hit 3 million newsletter subscribers

The New York Times’ sports site The Athletic is about to hit 3 million total newsletter subscribers. It plans to raise ad prices as as a result of this nearly 20% year over year increase.

NewFronts Briefing: Google, Vizio and news publishers pitch marketers with new ad offerings and range of content categories

Day one of the 2024 IAB NewFronts featured presentations from Google and Vizio, as well as a spotlight on news publishers.