Media Together: Technology

As with all industries, the spread of Covid-19 has put strains on all facets of the media industry, including marketing, advertising and editorial teams. As part of an ongoing project, Adweek has solicited stories of those who have been furloughed, laid off or otherwise affected by the pandemic. If you’ve been affected, please consider submitting your story here.

These interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

Kevin Stalder

Most recently: Vice president, product and partnerships, Trust Metrics

Click the headshot to view Kevin’s LinkedIn.

Adweek: What’s your experience been like during Covid-19?
I left TM just before Covid-19 got serious with the intent to travel, finally visit all the museums in N.Y., learn to sail and fly (to make progress on my goal of being able to operate all manner of transport) and fly fish opening week of the season. The virus has forced me to cancel nearly all of those plans and has obviously left me scrambling to get back to work. I figured nine years at the same company entitled me to a couple of months of personal development, but that backfired on me more than anyone could have possibly imagined.

What’s your hope for the media industry post-Covid-19?
I believe we were already seeing a contraction in the industry as some of the capital and energy that drove so much innovation over the past decade have dried up. The future of the industry is increasingly in the hands of some of the larger, slower-moving companies that often benefit—to varying degrees, of course—from the status quo. The financial hardship brought on by Covid-19 has the potential to kill off some of the remaining disruptors and slow down the pace of change within those large enough to withstand it. I hope that I am wrong and the industry continues to push forward at a steady pace.

What is your motivation behind working in the industry? What are some memorable experiences you’ve had during your employment in the media industry?
My experience building and running a small tech company has grown a deep passion for participating in the improvement of the digital advertising infrastructure and emerging data strategies. We have scratched the surface and have a good idea of what is possible, but still have a lot of work to do to reach that end goal. Most of us work so hard just to meet the basics of our job description, and it leaves little time to develop deeper understandings of how and why we’re doing what we do. I have found success and satisfaction in bringing together various players in the space to close the knowledge gap on how our technologies work and how we can improve them through better understanding the way they interact.

The wildest time in my career was in 2016 when the existence of fake news—something we have detected, blocked and educated our clients about for years—became a household term. By the time the industry was growing aware of it, we were already experts with an extensive database of bad actors and advanced detection techniques. It felt good to have the entire world acknowledge the importance of our work.

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