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WNN - Jackson Hole News & Guide - Interviews

Kevin Olson

Associate Publisher

Kevin Olson began his publishing career and held a variety of sales and marketing positions with the Orange County Register in Santa Ana, Calif. He is a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Telecommunications at Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ. His professional background includes sales management, hotel/resort/tourism advertising, sponsorship development/acquisition and publication product development.

Aside from his professional responsibilities, Kevin is an avid skier, cyclist, golfer and family activities planner.

[WY 0101] - Part 1: Intro and Contribution (7:43)

Kevin Olson, associate publisher, The Jackson Hole News & Guide, Jackson Hole Daily, started at the newspaper in September 2001. Olson says a small-town weekly has impact. “You publish a story and you go to lunch and wait on line and people are asking questions,” says Olson. Olson’s company publishes a $1 weekly newspaper and a six-days-a-week free newspaper. Olson believes the newspapers are key to building a community dialogue. “You are creating a town square for your community,” says Olson.

[WY 0102] - Part 2: Dual Newspaper Model (6:55)

Kevin Olson, associate publisher, The Jackson Hole News & Guide, Jackson Hole Daily, says at one time Jackson, Wyo., had two competing weekly newspapers and two competing free dailies, but the two companies printing them merged in November 2002. “Fortunately advertisers and readers were trained early on … that there was a perceived and real difference between the audiences that read the papers,” says Olson. The weekly was aimed at local residents and the free daily at visitors to Jackson Hole.

[WY 0103] - Part 3: Strategic Changes (6:49)

Kevin Olson, associate publisher, The Jackson Hole News & Guide, Jackson Hole Daily, says the newspapers reduced their overhead after the recession began in 2008 by making cuts in production, distribution and advertising costs. There were no layoffs, but under-performing staff was let go and some positions were reduced through attrition. Despite the cutbacks, the newspaper was able to launch a new product -- www.jhpropertyguide.com. Olson says it’s doing well: “We expect to pay down our [launch] costs in a year.”

[WY 0104] - Part 4: Adaptation & the Future (8:03)

Kevin Olson, associate publisher, The Jackson Hole News & Guide, Jackson Hole Daily, says the pace of life in this western community is intentionally slow, so “we’d like to slow things down and avoid change for the sake of change.” “We’d like to watch what is happening and sift through it slowly,” says Olson. “We’d like to be the ‘Old West’ as long as we can be,” says Olson, “but we can’t be there forever.”

[WY 0105] - Part 5: Web-related Revenues (4:13)

Kevin Olson, associate publisher, The Jackson Hole News & Guide, Jackson Hole Daily, says his newspapers earn dollars on-line by selling an e-edition, web display ads, and photo re-prints, and they sell classified advertising and subscriptions online. They have opted for local control in their web business initiatives, avoiding third-party partners. “We are reluctant to help others share the fruits of the audiences we have worked so hard to get,” says Olson.

[WY 0106] - Part 6: Prospects & Preparation (2:54)

Kevin Olson, associate publisher, The Jackson Hole News & Guide, Jackson Hole Daily, says anyone seeking a job at the Jackson Hole newspapers first needs “to be prepared for seven months of winter.” He says the Jackson Hole newspapers are a pleasant place to be employed. “It’s fun to work for owners who care about the individual,” says Olson. As for prospects for the profession, “There’s a future in journalism,” says Olson.