Graham Watson-Ringo is a senior director with the News Revenue Hub where she helps local news outlets create strategies to become profitable and sustainable. Graham, a 20-year journalism veteran, spent the bulk of her career working in sports journalism with major metros such as the Dallas Morning News and St. Louis Post-Dispatch before moving into digital journalism with ESPN and Yahoo. She left sports to pursue holistic digital strategy at the San Antonio Express-News before eventually fostering a love of nonprofit journalism at the San Antonio Report, where she served three years as managing editor. Graham is a lover of the full-funnel approach, well-crafted CTAs, killer UX, and insider journalism speak.
Graham is a graduate of the journalism school at the University of Missouri – Columbia and played goalkeeper for three seasons on the Tigers’ women’s soccer team. Graham is also graduated from the inaugural year of the Executive Leadership Program at the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY. She currently serves on the board of the APSE Foundation, which helps to foster diversity in sports journalism at the managerial level. Graham resides in San Antonio, Texas with her husband and three children.
Graham’s vision for the future of digital journalism
I don’t think anyone knows what the future of digital journalism holds.
Last year, we gathered in Los Angeles for ONA, and during the opening session, we were shown how AI could create deep fakes and fake news that felt implausible and even somewhat ridiculous. A year later, there’s essentially an AI tract of programming.
Digital journalism is ever-changing, and ONA, the organization that represents digital journalism, needs to be equally agile. This is why I’m running for another term on the ONA Board.
Through my work at News Revenue Hub and the coaching I provide to various outlets, I have seen the ebbs and flows of digital journalism and the struggles to keep pace. ONA must continue to provide its members with information, resources, and support that help them navigate this rocky landscape. And it’s even more important to make sure that these resources are available and relevant to the smaller, independent news organizations that are increasing around the world.
It’s no secret that ONA has often been top-heavy. Major news outlets and digital companies are part of the foundation on which ONA has been built, but those organizations aren’t always the ones who could benefit from all that ONA has to offer. Unfortunately, smaller independent local publishers don’t have the funds or resources to attend the conference, and with much of the local programming on the coasts, it can be difficult to access that as well.
I want to change that.
Outgoing Institue for Nonprofit News CEO Sue Cross noted last year that INN now has more members than Gannett has employees. That’s staggering. Yet, few of those organizations are represented at ONA, and much of the programming isn’t tailored to their journalism experience.
It’s time for ONA to show its agility and think beyond its traditional roots. I have started a push for that change during my first two years on the board, and I’m eager to continue the work moving forward. Please allow me to keep pushing ONA to be more representative of the digital news landscape as a whole so that the online journalism community can not only survive but thrive as we all navigate the challenges ahead.