Smith will work with the Newsworks team and news brands to create a more powerful industry story that will reinforce the collective value of news to advertisers, readers and the wider media industry.
Smith, who will report to Executive Chair Tracy De Groose, explains why he is re-joining the news industry:
“I have always been a passionate advocate of the news industry, its journalists and, of course, its journalism.
“From the MPs’ expenses scandal to Cambridge Analytica, to name just a few here, I have long admired the investigations and campaigns sought out by our journalists. I was even lucky enough to play a part in several agenda-setting exclusives while I was at the Mirror.
“To this day my passion for the industry remains undimmed. In fact, I believe right now we have the opportunity to create an incredible future together.
“Publishers have recognised they need to collaborate in order to thrive in tomorrow’s world – projects like The Ozone and PAMCo are clear evidence of this ambition. I want to support and help Newsworks drive this collaborative agenda even further.
“I also feel there is a wider societal shift taking place as people move back towards more trusted and reliable sources of information and news. There is certainly a growing demand from users – and increasingly advertisers – for more secure environments and communities where people can be comfortable in the knowledge that their experiences are genuine, safe and real.
And, as an industry we are perfectly poised. In a world of confusion we seek clarity. In a world of mendacity we seek truth.
“The latest figures from PAMCo, the audience measurement body for publishers, show that 45 million people in the UK read a news brand every week – and the number is growing. To put this audience into some context this is on a par with the weekly reach of Google in the UK.
“Our British news brands and the plurality of voices they provide remain as significant and relevant today as they have ever done before.
“This is why I am coming back into this amazing industry. We are the greatest storytellers and together we have so much more we can tell. Especially now.”
With a background in both news and media, Smith will bring senior communications experience to the job. He worked at Trinity Mirror (now Reach) and national press agency SWNS prior to his most current role at Publicis Media. He takes up his position in mid-September.