This lively panel discussion will highlight how local media have pivoted to incorporate the digital influence on their audiences. The discussion will also showcase the growth of nonprofit news nationally in response to what many see as a dilution in journalistic integrity. Plus hear how a Raleigh-based digital media native is capitalizing on technology to grow its audience and its brand.
Fran Scarlett is the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) director of programs and services and business growth advisor. She specializes in helping a member network of 130 news organizations understand and leverage their value propositions to build business models that maximize their potential for revenue growth and long term sustainability. Prior to INN, Fran served as the regional director of the Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC) at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She was responsible for launching and growing small businesses and securing capital investment with the goal of creating jobs in the region. She remains an adjunct faculty member of the Cameron School of Business where she teaches Entrepreneurship and Organizational Behavior. Prior to her move to North Carolina, Scarlett ran her own management consulting firm, Scarlett Ink Media, providing strategic and tactical consulting to news media organizations with an emphasis on developing new revenue models; product development and cross-platform collaborations. Scarlett received her MBA from Harvard University and a B.S. in Mass Communications from Boston University.
Nation Hahn is the Chief Growth Officer of EducationNC. At EdNC, Nation is responsible for innovation efforts for the organization, including digital media, new storytelling formats, and the recently launched Reach NC Voices project which is a 21st Century Town Hall connecting people to policy and policy to people across NC.
Nation also serves his community as Board President of the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation, named after his late wife, and through a variety of other board roles. Nation has also served as an Aspen Ideas Fest Fellow and as a member of the Z. Smith Reynolds Community Leadership Council.
Michelle Rhinesmith joined WHQR in August 2017. Prior to joining WHQR, Michelle served as the On-air and Online Fundraising Producer at 90.7 WMFE in Orlando, FL for ten months where she produced two successful fundraising campaigns. Before that, Michelle spent twenty years at public radio station WQCS in Fort Pierce, FL where she served as their Business Manager and Interim Station Manager. Michelle has had a successful track record in public broadcasting of growing revenue and increasing listenership; she also served on the Board of Directors for Healthy Start of Saint Lucie County and has been involved in various capacities with area non-profit organizations in the state of Florida. A graduate of the University of Maryland, Michelle holds a BA in English. Her pride and joy are her two dogs, and when she can, Michelle loves to travel abroad and discover new places and explore historical landmarks.
Scott Saxton has been the News Director at WECT and Fox Wilmington since September 2009. Originally from Ohio, Scott has also worked in newsrooms in Mississippi and West Virginia, where he has held various titles ranging from morning news anchor to assignment manager. Since joining WECT and FW, Scott has participated in the expansion of broadcast news to 7.5 hours each weekday on both stations, while growing a digital department dedicated to providing unique and specific content to the various digital properties.
Melanie Sill currently consults on journalism and news strategy with a focus on sustainability for local news. She’s the former editor in chief at The News & Observer, the Sacramento Bee in California and Southern California Public Radio/ KPCC in Los Angeles.