'Dallas Morning News,' Slingshot Jointly Launch Social Media Agency

A.H. Belo Corp.'s The Dallas Morning News is the latest traditional publisher to diversify into advertising and marketing services, unveiling a deal this morning with Dallas-based digital agency Slingshot to form a new "social media agency."

The new shop, dubbed Speakeasy, will operate as a joint venture, but will be "majority-owned" by the paper.
The companies said Speakeasy will focus on "social content marketing," and will conceive, develop, manage and execute "turnkey social campaigns and promotions for both local and national brands."
In addition to content, the shop will oversee all of the campaign's social media management, including any related SEO, newsletter development and delivery, video creation and distribution, as well as "reputation management."

The venture comes as other big publishers, especially magazine companies such as Meredith and Hearst, diversify more aggressively into advertising and marketing services -- especially digital -- although most of those diversifications have been done by acquiring agencies, not necessarily by joint venturing with them.

Jim Moroney, publisher and CEO of The Dallas Morning News, will serve as chairman, and Slingshot Founder Owen Hannay will be CEO of Speakeasy.

"The Dallas Morning News has many advertisers who look to us for marketing solutions and have been asking us to help them with their social media needs," Moroney stated, adding: "Speakeasy is committed to meeting that trust by delivering superior results with a strong team and efficient operations."

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