Editor who drives digital subs honoured by LMA

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An "obsessed" Mitch Pugh, editor of Charleston's Pulitzer-winning Post and Courier, has been named the Local Media Association's innovator of the year.

Pugh was one of ten publishers who took part in a recent Google News Initiative subscriptions lab. "To say he is obsessed with growing digital subscriptions is an understatement," says LMA chief executive Nancy Lane. "It's rare to find an editor that embraces the business side with such enthusiasm and energy."

She said this had been the key to the Charleston, SC, publisher's success in this space and "a model for others to look at and consider".

The award will be presented at LMA's Digital Summit (May 11-12, Chicago), and recognises a digital media executive who is pioneering new concepts, experimenting in new and creative ways and delivering impactful results for their company.

Lane says that while Pugh's results were impressive - digital subscriptions were up 45 per cent last year and the increase in average monthly consumer revenue was up 56 per cent - it was his leadership that earned him this award. "The entire company has rallied around his plan and strategy, which included using key benchmarks from the Subscriptions Lab to completely rebuild the company's roadmap."

President and publisher P.J. Browning told the recent Mega-Conference of numbers updated three or four times a day, and a culture of experimentation, "which was key to success".

Lane says that while most newspapers put a business-side executive in charge of consumer revenue strategies, "it's the newsroom that ultimately needs to drive this. Pugh is everything the industry needs when it comes to editors leading digital subscription efforts," she says.

Other Digital Innovation Award winners will be announced soon.

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