Tribune Publishing Hires Michael Rooney as Chief Revenue Officer

Former Wall Street Journal and ESPN Exec to Lead Sales and Marketing

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Michael Rooney
Michael Rooney

Tribune Publishing, which owns 10 daily newspapers including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, has hired Michael Rooney as executive VP-chief revenue officer, the company plans to announce Monday. Mr. Rooney, who was chief revenue officer at The Wall Street Journal until last year, will oversee the company's sales and marketing teams across print and digital.

In this newly created role, Mr. Rooney joins a leadership team charged with steering the publicly traded Tribune Publishing -- which was spun off from Tribune Company's more lucrative TV businesses this year -- through choppy waters. Marketers are diverting their advertising budgets from traditional channels -- including print, radio and arguably even TV -- to digital media, where abundant competition and automated ad-buying technology are depressing advertising rates.

Tribune Publishing said last week it was buying 38 suburban Chicago newspapers from Sun-Times Media, parent of Chicago Tribune rival the Chicago Sun-Times, but Tribune has also shifted part of its focus to digital opportunities. The company owns 60 digital properties and commands a large audience across these sites. And it has sought to carve out a marketing-services business aimed at advising small and mid-sized businesses on their digital needs. That has included a minority investment in content marketing firm Contend to produce branded videos for advertisers.

"This is a new company with great opportunity and lots of toys to play with," Mr. Rooney told Ad Age. "It seems like a clean slate to give advertisers what they want" across print and digital, including mobile and video, he added.

"The phenomenon of native and sponsored content has taken off," he said. "I think we can build off that for our advertisers."

Prior to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Rooney worked at ESPN, where he held numerous sales positions and helped roll out ESPN the Magazine. Earlier in his career, he served as publisher of a number of magazines, including Field & Stream, Outdoor Life, Discover Magazine and Men's Health, which he helped introduce.

Mr. Rooney, whose first day is Nov. 10, will work from Tribune Publishing's New York office and report to CEO Jack Griffin.

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