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WNN - Opelika-Auburn News - Interviews

James W. (Jim) Rainey

Publisher

Jim Rainey has been publisher of the Opelika-Auburn News since December 2002. He also serves as news leader for Media General newspapers, television stations, and affiliated websites in the Gulf South Region. Since 2002, the News has won the Alabama Press Association’s General Excellence Award six of the past seven years. In 2006, the Newspaper Association of America’s Presstime Magazine named Rainey one of the nation’s top 20 newspaper professionals under the age of 40.

Rainey came to Lee County from Atlanta, where he was associate publisher of the Fulton County Daily Report, an American Lawyer Media publication.

[AL 0101] - Part 1: Intro and Contribution (6:12)

Jim Rainey, publisher, The Opelika-Auburn News, joined The News Dec. 16, 2002. Rainey says, “We give the community a good look at itself.” He adds: “We not only offer an unflinching view of the community, we help it to rally around itself.”

[AL 0102] - Part 2: Strategic Changes (4:56)

Jim Rainey, publisher, The Opelika-Auburn News, says “Team Innovation”: an employee group of non-managers who periodically examine the newspaper’s operations and recommend new initiatives, has augmented his newspaper’s success. If their new ideas don’t work, their motto is: “Fail quickly and fail cheaply.”

[AL 0103] - Part 3: Adaptation & the Future (5:49)

Jim Rainey, publisher, The Opelika-Auburn News, says newspapers had essentially abandoned the breaking news business before the Internet arrived. “Now we can get the content out there before anyone else,” says Rainey. Rainey also sees a long future for print. “The [printed] newspaper will be what’s already been reported on the website with more depth and more analysis,” says Rainey.

[AL 0104] - Part 4: Digital Revenues (4:46)

Jim Rainey, publisher, The Opelika-Auburn News, says The News benefits from sales training from its Media General corporate management team. Rainey says digital revenues could not support the quality of news reporting his newspaper revenues fund, but, he says, “We’re stronger by having both [revenue streams].” Looking forward, he believes, “The [printed] newspaper is going to be central to whatever we do in the future.”

[AL 0105] - Part 5: Prospects & Preparation (1:26)

Jim Rainey, publisher, The Opelika-Auburn News, says his newspaper demands a standard of excellence from all its employees in everything they do. “You have to be cross-trained and willing to continue that” to succeed at a newspaper today, according to Rainey.