What CCOs Need to Know About the Future of Media

Channels of communication continue to change dramatically, but one thing will remain constant: the ability to communicate the right message to the right audience. As technology continues to transform our industry, we need to gain explicit knowledge of the options available to us. Our panelists explored the possibilities and practicalities of a profound media transformation and how to most effectively share our stories.

  • Mike Allen, Co-founder & Executive Editor, Axios
  • Peter Cherukuri, Chief Strategy Officer, Boston Globe
  • Jeremy Gilbert, Director, Strategic Initiatives, The Washington Post
  • Moderated by Charlene Wheeless, Principal VP, Global Corporate Affairs, Bechtel Corporation

Session Photos




“At the National Portrait Gallery, all of the presidential portraits have labels with just two sentences about each president. Whether it’s Jimmy Carter or FDR, two sentences. Know your two sentences. It’s our instinct to be overly complicated. You have two sentences, tell those.”

—Mike Allen




Charlene Wheeless probes media leaders on the changes happening in their industry, and their implications for CCOs.


The Washington Post

  • Innovations like Heliograf have allowed automation, in particular for data-heavy stories like election returns.
  • Working on striking the balance between the audience insights that AI can deliver, so that the brand can provide content that is targeted and relevant, without undermining trust.


  • Focus has been on using technology to help make people “smarter in real time.” Every story starts as one iPhone screen in length, with an emphasis on what happened and why.
  • Those same principles play out on the commercial side, as the brand applies the same story characteristics to sponsored content, “one screen, one card.”

The Boston Globe

  • In the print era, the sports box scores were the most important things to Globe readers. Now the brand is figuring out how to create similar “tune in” moments through the digital experience – finding those points where readers find rituals around content.
  • In early days of digital news, it was about “winning the morning.” Now “it’s about ‘winning the moment.’”



Important takeaways for CCOs
  • While there is more content than ever before, there is still a hunger for high-quality, insightful stories that help explain changes happening in the world.
  • Technological advances that enable newsroom efficiencies also ignite more existential questions about the media’s purpose – to continue to chase technology and harness it for proliferation of content, or to use the technology to focus on what media’s unique value proposition should be.
  • Newsroom leadership is a scarce commodity, with the rise of partisanship and the requirements of the new skill set.



In their own words

“We have to rely on the people in our newsrooms to communicate directly with the public without much or any filter. How do you have enough people in your organization who can be points of direct connection on that you and your CEO trust?”

—Jeremy Gilbert

“Fox News is one of the most fascinating media stories of our time. People can just go in and snuggle down. MSNBC does the same thing. These are the alleys we are in, the filters we are in. If you can open people’s eyes to something new, you have an opportunity to convey the story the way you want to.”

—Mike Allen

“The newsroom is the center of our solar system. It requires us to make sure the new crop of talent doesn’t forget why we exist.”

—Peter Cherukuri

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