2012 Mega Conference, San Antonio

For the upcoming 2012 Mega-Conference in San Antonio, we wanted to prepare attendees with info that’ll help them get the most out of the show.

Here’s part #1 in a series leading up to the event, put on by the SNA, Inland Press & SNPA.

As readers know, we’re wickedly focused on the fast changing business models of local media. We’re also a bit curious when a really smart news exec with limited sales & biz-dev background, is put in charge of digital operations.

Rick Surkhamer

Recently, Rick Surkhamer; president of the Chicago Sun Times ( and keynote speaker at the Mega-Conference ) announced a new business operation called STM Digital, which will be lead by Fred Lebolt, his senior vp of news. Lebolt will oversee all Sun-Times Media digital content delivery and advertising sales, and will coordinate online activities throughout the company.

We love the fact that Fred has the news chops, but wonder if Lebolt’s editorial-first focus will affect STM’s ability to reach profitability. We suggest that Mega-Conference attendees review the pros & cons associated with placing a salaried newsroom exec in charge of your new ‘digital start-up’.

That being said, we wish the Sun Times all the best with this move, and look forward to checking in on future results.

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