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Newspaper for college Greeks in rush to hire

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A publisher of newspapers and digital content delivered to fraternity and sorority houses nationwide plans to add 15 jobs at its northwest-side headquarters over the next two months.

Olympia Media Group, whose weekly newspaper The Odyssey can be found at 39 universities, is expanding to new markets and redesigning its content for Web, mobile and tablet formats.

The company is increasing the size of its editorial staff and adding designers and a campus marketing manager. “Millennial content and marketing company hiring for cultural fit—fraternity and sorority alumni need apply,” Olympia wrote in its jobs announcement. It plans to hire at least 10 of those new employees in the next two weeks.

The company launched by two Indiana University students in 2009 now employs more than 20 people at 5201 W. 86th St. Circulation is estimated at more than 250,000 readers.

Last month, Olympia struck a partnership with Chicago-based SceneTap, a tech firm that provides real-time foot traffic and demographic analysis for the nightlife and hospitality industry. That data also is available through an app for consumers to gauge crowd size, gender and age demographics of their favorite watering hole at any given moment.

The partnership could drive revenue for Olympia and help SceneTap tap into Olympia’s knowledge of the Greek community in dozens of college towns.

“We are doing a rapid expansion as well as some national partnerships,” said Adrian France, chief creative officer of Olympia, who co-founded the company with Evan Burns, the CEO, at IU.

"Olympia will serve as an extension of SceneTap into college markets,” Burns said last month. “Not only are we offering SceneTap to our local advertising partners, but we will also be running SceneTap’s college marketing campaign with a hyper-local strategy. Our goal is to bring an innovative marketing service to our local partners while providing valuable information to our audience.”

In 2011, the company had more than $2 million in revenue, although France and Burns declined to elaborate on current financials.

Olympia’s initial financial backers included Harlan Bakeries executive Doug Harlan and Indianapolis marketer and fundraiser Wade Garard.

Much of the editorial content is produced by writers at college campuses, sometimes earning credit toward their degrees. Olympia employs an ad sales team that works on commission. It targets a wide base of retailers and other companies interested in reaching college-age consumers.

The Odyssey circulates at several of Indiana’s largest universities, such as IU and Purdue. Its growing national footprint includes Michigan State University, University of Florida and Texas Tech.

 

 

 


 

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  • Don't rule it out... yet
    As a recent IU grad and fraternity alumnus, I saw The Odyssey in and through its infancy stages. It's a model that works where other papers really don't; they care very little about the quality of their content (which is 99% op-ed pieces by members of different houses on campus) and use the medium more as a direct link to advertisers. The design is basic (as a journalism major, the paper looks like something I did as a high school project) and the writing is generally atrocious (the best written articles were usually a top-10 list by some sorority girl about "fun things to do at a bar", etc.) but it gets a substantial readership every week because the writers' friends and houses want to see their house represented in the paper. It appeals to a very base demographic, but as primarily an ad platform, Burns and France cornered a (financially reckless) market and conquered.
  • Do your homework!
    Don't let the glamour of an exciting, young media company that seems to be destined for greatness fool you. If it sounds too good to be true, guess what? It absolutely is. If you have a degree in any form of media,run far, far away. Use what you've been taught and do your homework. Pick up a copy of this paper and actually read and reflect on the quality. Google the company. Read what past employees have to say. Really take a look at what you are getting yourself into. Finally, ask yourself this: do you really want your success to be in the hands of Greek college students? Sound a bit scary? You have no idea.
  • Millennial > Greek
    If reaching Greek students is the first step toward attaining a strong hold over marketing to the "millennial" generation as the article references, this company has potential. Not sure if the Greek demographic is scale-able enough to sustain growth, but the 18-25 demographic will always be desirable.
  • Cautiously Optimistic
    Most start-ups hit the rocks at some point, and especially with a lean start-up model, I can see how people would have left due to workload. Looks like their success will be highly dependent on the staff they have so they need to get the right people this time. Also, not sure about the whole print thing, but going after the college market is HUGE right now. Interested to see where this goes.
  • Workload?
    Seems to me, if you have only 20 staff to run 39 weekly papers across the country and this new partnership with SceneTap, the workload would be unfathomable. Sure, they have students writing the content, but what about the logistics? Writing a story is the easy part...
  • Spot on
    You appear to hit the nail on the head ... http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Olympia-Media-Group-Reviews-E371051.htm After reading the one positive review (which sounds fake to me), former employees have very few positive things to say about this company.
  • Business model?
    This does not strike me as a business that is destined for long-term success. Even mainstream newspapers (sorry IBJ) are facing an almost certain demise pretty soon. A newspaper that is delivered only to Greeks at 39 universities (maximum readership about 35,000) does not strike me as a place to build one's career.

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