Jennifer Mitchell, senior vice president, content development for ABC Owned Television Stations, has been named one of Local Media Association’s News Innovators of the Year for leading the content strategies and original, digital content production for nonlinear platforms across the group, as well as driving new content and revenue opportunities across the board.

Each year, the Local Media News Innovator of the Year award recognizes local media executives who are pioneering new concepts, experimenting in new and creative ways, and delivering impactful results for their companies.

Mitchell’s nomination was submitted by Wendy McMahon, president of ABC Owned Television Stations. “Jennifer’s ongoing innovation and creative approach around the station’s content-driven digital landscape have been instrumental in making the stations industry leaders in the multiplatform space. Her incredible leadership has helped her team effectively modernize news-sharing and elevate storytelling to new heights. To say she has helped revolutionize OTV would be an understatement, and I am incredibly grateful we are navigating the evolving news landscape together.”

Mitchell’s accomplishments listed in her nomination letter are extraordinary. 

Under Mitchell’s leadership and innovation, the ABC owned stations launched a new digital media brand – Localish – created by, for, and about millennials with the goal of reimagining storytelling and bringing out the good in America’s cities. Since the brand’s launch in July, Localish has generated over 90 million views across social and digital platforms. It averages 1.5 million views per week and is on track to hit 100 million views in just a few short months through its powerful storytelling uniting and inspiring people and communities across the nation. In fact, driven by its success across digital and linear platforms in its inaugural year, Localish launched as a 24/7 broadcast network on Feb. 17, 2020.

Jennifer’s content-driven work ethic has catapulted Localish and the eight stations’ digital brands to become the most sought-after, go-to news source for viewers across the nation. Her leadership and visionary storytelling are most evident in Localish’s series “Secretly Awesome,” featuring the “hidden gem” restaurants and businesses beloved by locals. It quickly emerged as one of ABC Localish’s most-watched series after a segment about a luffa farm in Fresno, Calif., generated over 20 million views within days of its premiere. Not only did the luffa farm experience a massive surge of 6,000% in national and international sales, Localish quickly found an advertiser ready to commit to an entire year of the series – including 50+ weekly episodes and six pieces of custom content. Weekly episodes continue to highlight a remarkable range of businesses from military tank tour companies to guitar factories, all inspiring audiences to look just outside their front door for the next best feel-good thing.

In addition to generating revenue-building, aspiring segments on Localish, Jennifer leads a team of content creators who support the eight local brands with topical, editorial content as well as breaking news and weather coverage. The team focuses on digital and mobile-first video content curation with an eye on growing audience and revenue on existing and emerging platforms. With that in mind, ABC OTV is No. 1 in digital video, driving more than 640 million video views across sites, mobile and over-the-top apps, giving them a 663% competitive advantage over local news competition in their markets. Collectively, OTV reaches 42 million digital visitors monthly and generates over 170,000 original pieces of digital content each year.

Jennifer has also been leading the charge for the OTV data and research teams, utilizing the information to really delve into and influence our content, product and storytelling decisions. For example, by measuring top target audience research and discovering their increasing interest in local content, she and her team were able to uniquely position our digital-native media brand Localish as a destination for local content accessible anywhere. Using engagement as the key metric, Jennifer has been incredibly influential in ensuring the Localish brand has expanded its reach across all platforms, especially social (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), as well as making trust and positivity some of OTV’s top priorities for next-gen storytelling.

“The LMA team first got to know Jennifer and the Localish team through their participation in the Branded Content Project’s alpha group,” said Nancy Lane, chief executive officer of LMA. “Jennifer’s innovative leadership shone brightly as impressive results, strategy, and masterful content creation grew with each week. LMA is honored and excited to present this award to Jennifer, who exemplifies the type of executive who is deserving of the title of Local Media News Innovator of the Year.”

“I’m humbled and honored to be recognized as one of the Local Media News Innovators of the Year. This award truly underscores my career passion for boldly reimagining storytelling and thinking outside the box when it comes to innovation,” Mitchell said. “My passion is also fueled by the inspiration I receive from the fantastic creative team who I’m proud to lead, as well as being part of ABC Owned Television Stations, an organization that supports and paves the way for innovation.”