It’s the Age of Disruption, And That’s a Good Thing, Says Hearst President Michael Clinton

It’s not enough to cope with disruption, says Hearst president, marketing and publishing director Michael Clinton. Publishing leaders need to actively disrupt their own organizations in order to find new ideas and nurture innovation. That means testing out new platforms and technologies, creating more nimble workflows that can adjust to sudden disruption, and enabling anyone in the organization to find and share new ideas. Clinton is proud of Hearst’s quick adoption of new platforms and believes it is a leader in groundbreaking content and advertising strategies. In the following, Clinton shares how he has encouraged and developed greater experimentation at Hearst and as a result, greater growth.

At the Yale Publishing Course (YPC) in July, Clinton will discuss these topics further in a session on innovation. He will share how Hearst’s adapted to change in the industry and its plans for the future.

YPC is a week-long educational program that assembles a faculty of magazine industry leaders to share forward-looking strategies. Additional program details and registration information can be found here.

Why is your YPC course valuable to publishers?
My session will look at what’s happening in the magazine industry right now and how Hearst is navigating and innovating through the transformation across all of our media platforms. It’s an overview of where we are and where we’re going, and I hope that it will enlighten and inspire the publishing professionals in the audience.

How is Hearst innovating within its organization to keep up with digital change?
Our mantra is “Unbound,” which is our innovation platform for both print and digital. We like to say that we are a publisher with a digital business and that we are a digital company that also publishes magazines. We are on every platform. On the digital front, we pride ourselves on being first to market with our content and advertising strategies.

How can management devote resources and time to staying ahead of the technology curve?
We challenge everyone to innovate, at every level. We look for ideas from our youngest professionals to our most seasoned professionals. I heard a great line recently: If you rest you rust. We all need to surf the technology curve and determine what is right for our business.

What do you see as the next great disruptor of the media business?
It has yet to be invented. Only a few short years ago, Snapchat and Instagram didn’t exist. The same goes for over-the-top television. The world moves at warp speed: In two to three years, we’ll know who the next disruptors will be. Until then, we all have to continue to disrupt ourselves with innovation.


Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.


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