2018 McAllister Top Management Fellow Jeff Klein On the Rise of Multiplatform and Data Journalism at Medill

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Each year, Connectiv and the Business Press Educational Foundation award the McAllister Editorial Fellowship and the McAllister Top Management Fellowship to an editor and an executive, respectively. These fellowships promote the study of business media, with McAllister Fellows acting as teachers and advisors for several days across multiple classes and campuses at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

Recently, Jeff Klein, executive board chairman of 1105 Media, visited the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University to serve as the 2018 McAllister Top Manager. Jeff spoke to 150 graduate and undergraduate students across six classes at the school’s Chicago, Evanston and San Francisco facilities. He also met with the dean and faculty members, and dropped in on the Knight Lab start-up space and the Spiegel Medill IMC Digital & Database Research Center.

Jeff shared his thoughts about the residency with Abe Peck, Medill’s Director of Business to Business Communication.

Goals for the visit: Twofold. One, I wanted to communicate to the students the state of B2B media today, what the challenges are, what the future looks like. But I also wanted to hear from students about their interests, and how they use media.

What he heard: A lot of interest in the multiplatform aspect of the business, and the impact of technology. They seem to be engaged and enthusiastic, but skeptical of how you overcome all the challenges. Very good questions, well informed, thoughtful and challenging. It was surprising how knowledgeable journalism students appeared to be about the business they’re going into.

His sense of the programs: I’m very impressed with Medill – the diversity of approaches, the combining with engineering students, the effort to actually do real work with organizations. Young journalists are learning how to design apps, which you would not expect journalism students to necessarily do.

You’ve got over 600 undergrads and over 200 graduate students. It’s a big, complex organization, but high-quality people, passion for the work. It’s very impressive.

The role B2B companies could play with academe. Too often, companies don’t want to start internship programs because they envision that students won’t have that much to offer, that they’ll spend a lot of time on training, they’re afraid the students are entitled and spoiled. I would encourage companies to rethink that. I think it is worth the effort.

There will be some effort – you don’t have institutional memory, and people come in and out. But you can often find some really talented people who can help you.

Collaborations the visit suggested: I was impressed with the focus on data science. I think that most B2B companies are struggling with how to collect data, with what data to use, what does the data mean, how can they monetize data. I think the Spiegel Center has some talented people and has done some really significant projects. There’s a potential for collaboration there.

Concluding thoughts? Just that you kept me a little too busy. I’m not used to working this hard. But I’ve enjoyed it. Now I need to fly back to LA and take a nap.

Matt Matt Kinsman is vice president of content + programming at Connectiv, the only association focused on the integrated b-to-b model—including publications, events, digital media, marketing services and business information. Prior to joining Connectiv's predecessor American Business Media in 2011, Kinsman was executive editor of Folio:, the leading information provider for the magazine industry.