'US News' taps Kwittken to stress its online aspect

NEW YORK: US News & World Report selected Kwittken & Co. (KCO) as its AOR July 1, a month after it decided to decrease its magazine's frequency to a biweekly schedule next year, as well as emphasize its online offerings.

NEW YORK: US News & World Report selected Kwittken & Co. (KCO) as its AOR July 1, a month after it decided to decrease its magazine's frequency to a biweekly schedule next year, as well as emphasize its online offerings.

The company recently restructured its offerings to form the US News Media Group, which contains the US News & World Report magazine, USNews.com, the magazine's "bests" series, RankingsAndReviews.com, its specialty publishing service, and US News Newsletters.

US News' editor Brian Kelly told PRWeek that the company's ultimate goal for the next year is considerable audience growth, emphasizing its hospital, cars, and trucks rankings issues.

In response to the challenging print media environment, US News will emphasize its growth figures, gauging them against non-traditional competitors such as WebMD for health coverage and TheStreet.com for financial news, according to Aaron Kwittken, agency CEO and managing partner.

"They have reserved the print publication as a premium item that takes a little bit more of
an analytical look at what is, in a sense, last week's news, and they have put the bulk of their attention and resources online, which is for breaking news," he said. "They really started many of these changes as much as four years ago, and at the root of this is data, the 'bests' franchise, and the news and reviews that is really the heart and soul of the company."

KCO will focus its efforts on media outreach and promoting the brand's "America's Best" issues, Kwittken said. The agency will also publicize the group's journalists, including owner Mortimer Zuckerman, to broadcast outlets seeking experts.

"They were looking for an agency that will help them strategically position the group... US News has been successful with its strength online and with its [best of lists], yet nobody knew about it or told the story," he said.

The company had hired KCO last year on a project basis to promote its "America's Bests" issues on cars and trucks, leaders, and high schools. Four KCO employees, based out the agency's New York office, are working on the yearlong account, Kwittken noted. Its budget is undisclosed.

US News had previously worked with Goodman Media, but that relationship ended approximately a year before the publisher first started working with KCO, Kelly said.

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