Member Monday: Rebecca Quarls
Member: Rebecca Quarls
Company: News Revenue Hub
Tell us a little bit about what you do and who you do it for?
I’m trying to help 30-plus for and nonprofit news organizations around the country achieve greater financial sustainability. Because I believe the public’s access to in-depth, independent news—my own included—needs and deserves to be safeguarded. Hub clients are national, state and locals news organizations, including Pulitzer winners.
Specifically, at the Hub, we help clients implement a membership model for fundraising. We also build software tools, work with clients to conduct experiments, and train them on best practices. At the Hub, membership—not unique visitors, not pageviews, not [insert the latest newfangled metric here]—is the highest measure of success and the ultimate sign of an engaged reader community.
Previously I was the membership and marketing manager for The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan newsroom that informs Texans—and engages with them—about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.
Who/What is your biggest influence?
I know what I’m going to type next is extra ooey gooey cheesy, but my husband Michael is my biggest influence. I don’t personally know anyone more devoted to personal and professional growth. He’s constantly teaching me and re-teaching me what it means to embrace chaos, to live authentically, to handle conflict graciously and more. He always lets me eat the last piece of dark chocolate, too, so there’s that.
What’s been the most rewarding moment of your career/journey so far? What personal accomplishment are you most proud of?
Upon starting with the News Revenue Hub and getting acquainted with its growing list of clients, I realized we had a unique opportunity to gather, analyze and contextualize data on how each organization is growing its audience, cultivating loyalty with that audience and ultimately converting that audience to membership.
So I worked with a data scientist and developed a database where we are automatically tracking raw performance data for each client. From determining how to calculate member retention to what healthy email acquisition rates look like and beyond, we are working to establish benchmarks for each newsroom with which we work, and, hopefully, the industry.
It’s been incredibly rewarding to equip newsrooms with recommendations and tools rooted in data, rather than assumption. We take care of the heavy lifting so that our clients can focus on what they do best: producing high-quality journalism.
How can Austinites support your business?
It’s my job is to raise money for the news — to get everyday people who see value in accountability journalism to make a small-dollar contribution that’s meaningful to them and absolutely meaningful to the newsroom they choose to support financially.
There's more noise than ever, and there is no such thing as having too many reporters watching the issues that matter, whether that be state or local politics, climate change, public education, criminal justice — the list goes on. So rather than supporting the Hub directly, if one person made a donation to a newsroom and mission they believe in because of this post, I would be BEYOND thrilled.
Why Austin? Austin has this can’t-put-your-finger-on-it culture around work and life and balance — everyone I’ve befriended here seems genuinely fired up about what they’re doing and want to tell you about it, but I don’t get the rat race vibe that I think I might feel if I lived in another major American city. And it’s still a drive away from my hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana.
Whiskey or Tequila? Tequila — duh!
Tell us about your first full time job, what was it and how did you land it? Community reporter for a magazine in my home state of Louisiana. I interned there for a year in college and they offered me a job upon graduating.