In another sign of Noozhawk’s continued growth, veteran newspaper and sales executive Kim Clark has joined the company as vice president of business development.
An experienced New Media sales executive with an extensive background in local news publishing, Clark will be responsible for Noozhawk’s sales, marketing and promotions, as well as identifying and developing new products to help the company better serve its clients and readers.
“We’re thrilled to have Kim on the Noozhawk team,” founder and publisher Bill Macfadyen said. “We’ve got an already strong publication, but we expect her experience, talent and organizational skills will take us to an even higher level.”
Clark was instrumental in developing the Santa Barbara News-Press’ New Media Department in the 1990s, and she served as online sales manager before leaving in the mid-2000s after 14 years at the newspaper.
“I am excited about joining the team, as I not only respect but admire the company’s innovative spirit,” she said. “Noozhawk is a proven leader in the online news industry, and I am honored to be a part of it.”
Clark is the second high-profile addition to Noozhawk this year. In April, Macfadyen named veteran Santa Barbara County newsman Tom Bolton as executive editor, leading the news operation and heading up special projects.
Since Bolton’s arrival, Noozhawk has sharpened its focus on breaking news and more aggressive news coverage. The shift has paid off in reader response, said Macfadyen, who noted that Noozhawk has seen a 60-percent jump in site traffic from a year ago, and continues to post month-over-month gains.
“Thanks to our coverage of K-12 education and the nonprofit community, along with the success of our Prescription for Abuse series last year, we had a solid audience,” he said. “Then Tom arrived and made us the place to go for local news. Period.”
It is not the first time Bolton and Macfadyen have worked together. They were colleagues for 15 years at the News-Press when it was owned by The New York Times Co., and they co-founded the award-winning but now-defunct South Coast Beacon newspaper in 2002.
It’s also not the first time Bolton, Clark and Macfadyen have been teammates, as the three overlapped at the News-Press. Clark even sold ads in the early 1980s for UCSB’s student newspaper, the Daily Nexus, where Bolton had been editor in chief a few years before.
“With Tom on board, I like to joke that I fired myself from news,” Macfadyen said. “It’s great to have someone with so much experience and capability running our team full time. He and our managing editor, Michelle Nelson, have done an amazing job with our reporters — Lara Cooper, Giana Magnoli and Gina Potthoff — and our readers have noticed the difference. We really are a 24/7 news site now.”
Macfadyen said he has similar expectations with Clark and the sales team.
“In the worst economy I hope I ever see, we’ve scratched and clawed our way to viability, which is a testament to the talent, energy and dedication of our sales representatives, Chris Donahue and Angela Miller-Bevan,” he said. “Now we’re ready for Noozhawk 2.0.”
To help achieve that goal, Noozhawk is at the halfway point of a private investment offering to raise local capital for the site’s continued expansion. Macfadyen said he expects to have the fundraising completed by year’s end.
“With our record and reputation, we knew we had a good story to tell for local investors, and I’ve been gratified by the response,” he said. “The additional funds will enable us to grow our coverage on the South Coast and expand to most of Santa Barbara County. It also will give us the opportunity to upgrade our systems and add products.
“We’re the face of the future for news journalism, and it’s exciting to be pioneering that path in the community we love.”
Both Bolton and Clark are taking minority ownership positions in Noozhawk, with Macfadyen holding the remainder of the company.
In addition to her news background, Clark was sales and marketing director of the Santa Barbara Region Chamber of Commerce. As division director at Office Team, she led her staff to be the top-producing team in the region.
She currently serves as a Goleta Valley Chamber of Commerce ambassador, volunteers for the Westside Boys & Girls Club Marketing Committee, and co-chairs the National Association of Women Business Owners’ Corporate Partners Committee.