Behind the scenes: advertising

The advertising staff of the Mustang Daily does more than make calls. Together, with the graphic ad designers, the staff makes relations with community members and sells more than $400,000 a year in advertising revenue. Photo by Leticia Rodriguez

There are a few misconceptions about newspapers and how work gets done. One of the biggest misunderstandings has to do with advertising and exactly what their work entails.

At the Mustang Daily, a team of approximately 20 students, a staff faculty member and a staff general manager do what many college advertising staffs can only dream of: pull in more than $400,000 a year in advertising revenue to pay for nine months worth of daily newspapers, student staff salaries, special sections, equipment and more. In fact, our advertising staff is so good, they sweeped numerous awards at a recent newspaper convention in Louisville, Kentucky. Among some of the winners were second and third place for best display ad and first place for our media kit.

To most, this task would be unbelieveably daunting, but to advertising coordinator Stephanie Murawski, it’s just another day at the office.

Murawski, who took over the advertising coordinator job in August 2008, started out in advertising at Central Michigan University as a sales representative. At the Mustang Daily, Murawski oversees the entire advertising side of the paper. This includes working with the advertising representatives and managers, the ad designers and the business managers in approving ads, speaking with clients and payments and invoices. The most rewarding part of her job, she said, is teaching the students about advertising and sharing in their excitement when they sell an advertisement for the first time and realize the kind of impact ads can have.

“I get to work with students and I like to see their success,” Murawski said. “I love getting a text saying ‘Hey I just sold a contract.'”

The selling of contracts and advertisements in general is especially important because the approximate daily cost of printing a 12-page issue of the Mustang Daily is $750. General manager Paul Bittick said that in order to pay for everything, advertising needs to make almost $2,800 a day.

“We’re lucky if we do that once a week,” Bittick said. “That’s where special sections save our ass.”

As almost any print journalist can explain, putting together a special section of the paper can be a huge pain in the ass. At the Mustang Daily, special sections (or special editions as they are also referred to), are issues of the paper that are 20 pages or more (our Week of Welcome edition was 96 pages) and generally has a common theme throughout the paper. This year, we’ll put out approximately 17 special editions. But in order for any of those to come to fruition, the advertising representatives have to sell ads. That’s where advertising manager Amanda Dennin comes in.

Advertising manager Amanda Dennin has been working at the Mustang Daily for more than a year and said one of her favorite parts of the job is the environment and the friendly atmosphere. Photo by Leticia Rodriguez

Dennin, who has been working for the Mustang Daily for more than a year, is one of two advertising managers. Her job is to oversee the advertising representatives and make sure they hit their sales goal in addition to guiding them as they get used to their position. Often, Dennin will accompany a sales rep on a face-to-face meeting with the representative’s client a few times until they get comfortable.

She said one of the things she likes most about working for the newspaper is that it broadened her horizons and gave her the chance to learn about the advertising side of business because the paper is a “big-person job in a little setting.” Like Murawski, Dennin said there is more to advertising than people realize. Especially when they have to pull in so much money.

“I think people think it’s all just calling on the phone but it’s about building relationships,” Dennin said. “It’s about establishing trust with the client.”

But before editorial can get the paper, ads need to be designed.

Graphic ad manager Rachelle Newburn (left) and assistant graphic ad manager Jaclyn DeMartini design some of the ads seen in the paper in addition to many of the covers for special editions. Photo by Leticia Rodriguez

Step in Rachelle Newburn and Jaclyn DeMartini, the graphic design manager and the assistant graphic design manager. In addition to putting the ads on the paper for editorial to design around, Newburn and DeMartini also design ads and make sure the ad designing team and the ad reps have everything in order. For DeMartini, the rewarding part of her job is seeing people look at her designs, being a part of a team where everyone supports each other and the fast paced environment.

“It’s never boring; I’m always designing a new project,” DeMartini said. “I love seeing people enjoying what I design like the Bucket List. I love going to people’s houses and seeing it tacked on their wall.”

But even after all the work advertising does, things are just getting started. From here, editorial receives the pages — and a long night of editing, red pens and stale pizza begins.

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