New VP leads Reed Business Interactive’s editorial transformation

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On July 29, Karen Field stepped into the newly created position of VP-editorial director at Reed Business Interactive, the online-focused division of Reed Business Information.

Field said her job is “to identify and introduce best practices, and innovative ideas across the portfolio. We will specifically look at how to drive traffic, increase reader engagement and identify opportunities to monetize editorial content.”

Field reports to Jeff DeBalko, Reed’s chief Internet officer and president of RB Interactive. DeBalko said Field is responsible for driving the changes that transform printcentric editors into online editors who can also produce great print products.

Prior to accepting her new position, Field was editor in chief at Reed’s Design News, a technical title for design engineers, for five years. She has worked on editorial teams for Reed and predecessor Cahners Publishing since 1988. Her online innovations at Design News included blogs, forums and programs developed around reader-generated content.

Field and two full-time staffers—Content Director Dan Blank and Content Manager Judie Ryer—are working with Reed’s brand groups to analyze past online performance and build individualized content plans for the future.

Aiding in that process is a new Web analytics system from Unica Corp. called NetInsight. DeBalko said the system will allow about 2,000 people in the company to directly access online metrics, compared with “a couple of dozen” in the past.

Editorial was the first department to employ the system, DeBalko added, “because they were most in need of tools that would enable them to drive our brands with content.”

Field said: “Editors can get instant feedback on how their content is performing. They can look at page impressions, at specific articles, at the names of sites that are referring traffic and how long are people spending on the site [as well as other metrics].”

Over the past six months, Field said, Blank “has been instrumental in setting up over 100 bloggers across the portfolio. He’s been introducing the concept to a lot of publications, helping to recruit and train bloggers from among our own editors and outside, and to integrate blogging into the daily work processes.”

Ryer is beginning to pick up more of the blogging project now, Field added, because Blank is helping Reed editors integrate podcasting and video into their repertoires.

Separately, DeBalko has taken on a new group publisher responsibility in addition to his Internet duties. He was recently named president of Reed’s television group, which includes Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TWICE (This Week in Consumer Electronics).

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