“I always believed that history provides a path to the future,” Hughes said in his acceptance speech. “Imagine American industry operating without a consistent flow of information, which enables a modernization of business, products and services.
"What business publishers do is make American strong, whether it's publishing monthly, weekly, daily or now minute by minute,” Hughes said.
Media Business' list of the Top Innovators in Business Publishing featured a host of executives, among them three publishing leaders honored in the CEO category: Les Hinton, CEO of Dow Jones & Co.; Tom Kemp, chairman-CEO of Northstar Travel Media; and Don Pazour, CEO of Access Intelligence.
“Media companies over the past few years have been challenged by the shift from legacy brands to digital formats. The last 18 months have been the most difficult time of my career,” said Kemp, in accepting his award.
“But we need to differentiate the impact of secular change from economic, cyclical impact,” he said. “We need to think of these times in context and not think that there is no future for b-to-b media.”
Pazour also voiced confidence in the future of business media.
“Innovation has to focus on the point closest to the customer,” he said. “We need to move from content to context. We need to leverage the medium in new ways.”
Pazour stressed that business media must discern which content will be free and which will be offered for a fee.
“We don't need to pick between free and paid; we need both,” he said. “We need some content to attract visitors but with added intelligence and insight behind pay walls.”
Other honorees, by category, were:
Audience development: Sandra Martin, director-circulation, Canon Communications
Online: Rob Grimshaw, managing director, FT.com; Carine Roman, senior VP-online operations, Ziff Davis Enterprise; and Guy Maser, senior VP-marketing, GlobalSpec.
Events: Kevin Vermeulen, senior VP, ALM.
Production: Mike Morgan, VP-publishing operations, Farm Journal Media.
Publishing executives: Matt Yorke, president-strategic marketing services, International Data Group; Pete May, president-publisher, Greener World Media; and Michael Rooney, senior VP-chief revenue officer, The Wall Street Journal, Dow Jones & Co.