Get inspired

9 up-and-coming media leaders you need to follow

By Alex Wood 7 August 2017
Sam Parr, CEO of The Hustle.
Summary

Meet the next media moguls.

Getting ahead in the media has never been tougher. Now anyone can publish, are we living in a golden age of content?

Or are we drowning in fake news and suffering the embarrassing lack of diversity in our modern media?

Allow us to introduce you to 9 up-and-coming leaders we believe are pushing the industry forward. Sharing the stories that need to be told.

If you’re not already following them on Twitter, Facebook or your social platform of choice, you need to be…

Freddie Ossberg, Co-founder and CEO of Raconteur

@FreddieOssberg

If anyone tells you ‘print is dead’, point them in the direction of this man.

Back in 2008, Ossberg went against the grain and launched Raconteur, a premium publishing house with a passion – in print.

You’ll find Raconteur’s special reports on the future of business, current affairs, finance, culture and technology inside The Times & Sunday Times, meaning the brand reaches some of the UK’s most powerful decision makers.

It’s not all been plain sailing. Raconteur launched its own current affairs freesheet magazine in London last year but closed it after only 9 months, citing a lack of advertising revenue.

The future looks bright though – with the company’s new thought leadership division now pulling in millions in revenue in 2017. 

Pankaj Mishra, Co-founder of Factor Daily

Pankaj Mishra, Managing Editor and Co-founder of Factor Daily

@pankajontech

In the West we often fail to recognise smart ideas from the rest of the world. Even the biggest technophobes know the names of leading Silicon Valley darlings, and yet we barely recognise the equally groundbreaking pioneers from outside the US and Europe.

That’s why, in 2015, with over a decade of journalistic experience at publications like The Economic Times, Mint and TechCrunch, Pankaj Mishra decided to turn the spotlight firmly on India – the world’s fastest growing economy.

Co-founded alongside Jayadevan P. K., Factor Daily covers cutting edge technology trends, and places them in an engaging, consumer friendly context that anyone anywhere in the world can learn from.

Last year, the publication raised $1m in a round led by Accel with Blume Ventures and Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma.

With fantastic long-form, slick videos, and a daily newsletter, there’s no excuse to stay out of the loop anymore.

Sarah Jones, Head of Media, Coventry University + Queen of VR

@VirtualSarahJ

Undoubtedly one of Europe’s leaders in VR and AR, Sarah Jones is never far from a 360° camera.

A veteran BBC TV journalist, Jones joined Coventry University’s School of Media to put herself at the forefront of next generation media and now heads up the school of media at Birmingham City University. Her more recent achievements include co-founding VR Girls UK and being named as Apple Distinguished Educator.

Currently Jones has been working on immersive storytelling via VR and is at the forefront of developing experiential learning platforms, aiming to help others walk in someone else’s shoes for a day.

Watch this space to discover the next big thing.

Willis Wee, CEO Tech In Asia

Willis Wee, CEO and Founder of Tech in Asia

@williswee

Ahead of the trend, Wee launched Tech in Asia build and serve Asia’s tech and startup scene. This Singapore-based media outlet might not be the slickest, but it’s grown into a beast.

With a team of over 100, it’s got the people power to report breaking news, attend industry events, and even has a media, events, and jobs platform on a mission to build and serve Asia’s tech and startup community.

Wee aims to focus on all of Asia. The young entrepreneur noticed a steadily growing Internet user base and an opportunity to promote Asian technology in a field that tends to be rather exclusively Western-dominated.

And it looks like investors wholeheartedly agreed – to the tune of $4 million. In 2015 the company was selected to be part of Y Combinator, a seed accelerator company that serves as a mentor for organisations. 

As expected, the expansion has proven to be challenging. Earlier this year the company had to downsize its editorial staff in India and cancel its Bangalore conference. 

Nonetheless it looks like the future is bright for this media outlet.

Tarmo Virki, Co-Founder of CoFounder magazine

@virki

It might seem counterintuitive to launch a print magazine in the digital age, but that is exactly what Tarmo Virki, Co-founder of the first pan-European magazine CoFounder did. And it paid off.

Based in Estonia and equipped with over 20 years of experience in journalism with magazines like Forbes Eesti, Postimees, and Thomson Reuters, starting a print magazine seemed like a natural step. And the rest is history.

Despite its classic appearance, CoFounder takes a fresh approach to media by getting involved in its stories. The magazine focuses primarily on startup journalism and tech news.

For example in an issue about crowdfunding, the magazine launched its own Indiegogo campaign where it raised over €17,000.

Future plans include expansion to turn CoFounder into a global magazine. Needless to say, this is one to watch.

Danielle Weisberg & Carly Zakin,  Co-CEO's and Co-Founders of theSkimm

Danielle Weisberg & Carly Zakin,  Co-CEO’s and Co-Founders of theSkimm

@DMWeisberg @cbzakin

They say good things come in pairs – and that is certainly the case with Danielle Weisberg and Carly Zakin.

In 2012 the two former NBC news producers started, theSkimm, which quickly acquired an impressive following of over 5 million ‘Skimm’ers’ with their millennial, women-focused daily email newsletter.

But it hasn’t all been a bed of roses. TheSkimm has been criticised for trivialising and oversimplifying complex topics in their brief newsletter.

Despite the critics, the newsletter continues to grow and flourish by creating concise, well-researched, fact-based content – a feat traditional news outlets should take note of.  

And it doesn’t look like Weisberg and Zakin will be slowing down anytime soon – they’ve successfully launched theSkimm app after raising $8 million in funding.

As for the future? The duo look forward to establishing a video venture – Skimm Studios.

Nelly Gocheva, New York Times, T Studio

@nellygocheva

The way brands and editorial interact is changing, and when it comes to new ways of brands reaching audiences, no-one has their finger on the pulse more than Nelly Gocheva.

A veteran magazine journalist, Gocheva made her name in publishing at Monocle, the luxury lifestyle and current affair magazine.

She shot through the ranks – moving from Associate Editor to Special Projects & Publishing Editor in the span of six years, before settling into her current position as Editorial Director in the T Brand Studios at the New York Times

Her work merges advertising, tech, and design to create an immersive digital experience. Shining endorsements of T Studio’s work include the Single Execution Omma Award and the 2016 Cannes Lions Mobile Grand Prix.

Needless to say, we can’t wait to see what’s in store for this risk taker.

Sam Parr, CEO of The Hustle

Sam Parr, Co- Founder and CEO of The Hustle

@theSamParr

If you ever wondered about the who’s who of tech and business entrepreneurs look no further than Sam Parr.

CEO and Co-founder of The Hustle with John Havel, Parr is paving the way for business news and content for millennials.  It’s conception started out with a convention – Hustle Con, a conference for entrepreneurs – and after sending out email after email Parr got the idea for The Hustle.

 Around 95 % of The Hustle’s content is read directly via email, with a few articles occasionally posted on The Hustle website. A majority of its content has shifted from a blog format to an online newsletter – a shining example that email has not kicked the bucket.

The Hustle has also made a few changes to its writing staff. Previously the website was written by men and for men and it showed – over 80% of the website’s readership was male.

Parr made the decision to include more female voices on the editorial team, and The Hustle has a more inclusive approach leaving the readership at a steady 50% – 55%.

The plan is to expand readership beyond entrepreneurs, but to anyone interested in business and technology, and we are sure that with Parr at the helm it will be smooth sailing. 

Lauren Kern, Editor in Chief for Apple News

@LaurenKern1

Lauren Kern is poised for news domination at New York Magazine.

At the end of May, Apple announced that Kern would be taking over in June of this year as the editor in chief for Apple News.

The tech giant is keeping mum about the details of Kern’s role, but with her background as the Executive Director of New York Magazine and former Deputy Editor of the New York Times it’s not difficult to see why she landed the job. For now it looks like she will continue simultaneously to hold both positions.

One thing’s for sure, however  –  as Editor in Chief Kern will be at the helm of an app that has been viewed by over 40 million people and her influence will span over thousands of screens.


Additional reporting by Andrea Hoffman.