Winning the race

neilI have nearly 30 years of experience in digital media innovation and I’m eager to bring my passion for the field to another exciting race.

My focus on understanding how to delight and captivate consumers began in the early 1990s, when I would sit at my kitchen table creating a Visual Basic prototype of what The Wall Street Journal might be like in an online world. After launching and running through several iterations of design and technology, I went to Yahoo News and took it to a new level, including going from zero video to more than 100 million monthly streams. I’ve also done startups and have extensive international experience.

Most recently, I was vice president, news, and executive editor of the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., for three years. There I oversaw all news operations for all digital platforms and the print newspaper.

Previously, I was founding CEO of a non-profit news organization we branded AxisPhilly and focused on data journalism. I developed strategy, filed incorporation papers and IRS non-profit application, established branding, hired staff, set up all aspects of operations, recruited board members, and launched site. We won the Online Journalism Award for General Excellence in Online Journalism after only seven months of operation.

My previous role was president and chief product officer of personalized news technology provider DailyMe, which I joined in March 2008. At DailyMe, I helped build the Newstogram platform for personalization of news content and scaled its network of affiliated sites to about 300. Its ad network was among the top 100 ad networks, reaching more than 11 million monthly uniques and delivering more than 75 million ad impressions.

I joined Yahoo! News in November 2004 as general manager and helped build the site into the No. 1 news site on the Internet. I led the team that completed a major redesign of the site and that produced the company’s first original multimedia news offering: Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone, for which Sites was honored with the 2006 Daniel Pearl Award for Courage and Integrity in Journalism. I was elected to the board of the Online News Association in October 2005 and became its treasurer in January 2007.

Previously, I was the founding editor and publisher of The Wall Street Journal Online, the largest paid news site on the Internet with nearly 700,000 subscribers at the time I left. My pioneering work on began in early 1993 when I started formulating the original ideas for an online version of The Wall Street Journal. My Visual Basic prototypes soon found wide favor within Dow Jones and I was asked to form a small team to create an online Journal in late 1993.

After a year spent working on a proprietary approach to delivering the product I had envisioned, our team recognized that the Internet offered a better technology platform for achieving our goals. Work switched to the Internet in early 1995, and the team launched its first site – Money & Investing Update – in July of that year. In April 1996, the team rolled out the full Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition and stunned many observers by announcing that it would soon begin charging for access to the site. It stuck with that business model through the Internet bubble and steadily grew the subscriber base as well as advertising revenue, achieving a cash-flow-positive status in late 2002.

From the inception of, I directed the design, development and evolution of the product and its free companion sites on careers, real estate and other vertical categories. In January 2000, I added the title of publisher and assumed responsibility for all finance, advertising sales, marketing and business development in addition to my prior duties as head of news, design, development and technical operations on a global basis.

Prior to my appointment as founding editor of the online Journal, I was deputy editorial director for Dow Jones News/Retrieval, where I oversaw design and development of new information services, including early natural-language searching features.

My career began with a decade of experience as an editor and reporter at The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., USA Today and The Richmond Times-Dispatch. My positions have included assistant business editor, associate editor of the Sunday magazine, copy editor and business reporter.

I earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Ky., and an MBA from the University of Louisville in Louisville, Ky.

In 2005, I was one of three inductees into the Western Kentucky University Hall of Distinguished Alumni, and in 2010 I was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame.

I currently serve on the board of The News Literacy Project and as its treasurer. I also served two years on the board of the Kentucky Press Association and I’ve been on the board of the First Amendment Coalition and the Online News Association.