Bob Benz is a media executive with extensive newspaper, magazine, academic and interactive experience. He most recently served as a visiting professional at the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. Before that, he was president/content at Hanley Wood, a B2B media and information company reaching audiences in housing and commercial construction.
At OU, Benz taught Digital Information and Innovation, Fundamentals of Online Journalism, Feature Writing, Strategic Social Media and capstones in both journalism and strategic communications. He was the faculty adviser to Jettison magazine, The New Political, and OU’s local Online News Association group. He also was on the board of advisers for The Post, OU’s student-run paper.
Benz led a digital first transformation at Hanley Wood, where industry-leading publications such as Architect, Builder and Remodeling magazines added a suite of interactive offerings to their existing print franchises.
He serves as a partner in LedgeSolutions, LLC, a consultancy designed to help businesses develop and execute interactive strategies. Benz also has served as executive vice president of Greenspun Media Group; was the co-founder and COO of Radiant Markets, LLC, an advertising technology platform designed to give small businesses effective interactive advertising while keeping the cost of sale in line with relatively low advertising spends; and was a partner at Maroon Ventures, LLC, which is where the ideas for Radiant were developed and subsequently spun out.
As vice president of interactive media for the E.W. Scripps Co.’s newspaper division, Benz oversaw strategic, financial and operational activities for the company’s daily newspapers. Benz built the division’s interactive team and business from the ground up. His team won numerous online awards, and he led Scripps’ newspaper sites to profitability in 2002. He helped the newspapers grow revenue at a 32% compound annual growth rate from 2002-2007.
Key achievements in his role at Scripps included the creation of an ad operations group, installation of content management systems, implementation of extensive financial benchmarking, establishment of an innovation fund and the management of an interactive staff of 50 that handled ad serving, sales, operations, product management, search engine marketing and programming. He also was one of several newspaper industry executives who negotiated an extensive partnership with Yahoo! that led to a consortium of 30 newspaper companies representing about 800 news websites.
Benz began his career as a journalist, spending 10 years in newsrooms. The highlight of his journalism career came in 1994, when he was an editor on “The Plutonium Experiment,” which earned a Pulitzer Prize for reporter Eileen Welsome and The Albuquerque Tribune.
In 1995, he shifted to an interactive focus, helping to launch the Rocky Mountain News Online. It was all Internet from there.
Benz earned a BA in journalism/English from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and holds a master’s in English literature from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has taught college level courses at the University of Alabama, the University of New Mexico, Metro State College (Denver), Ohio University and the University of Tennessee. Key board seats he holds or has held include: the Newspaper Association of America’s New Media Federation, Ohio University Scripps School of Journalism Advisory Board, the Scripps Howard Foundation and PowerOne Media. He also was an adviser to Publish2.