CHARLES LAUGHLIN
Vice President & Program Director, The Kelsey Report®

Charles applies the skills he has developed as a reporter and editor to the daily task of helping TKGs clients understand what is happening today in the world of Yellow Pages, as well as seeking insight into where the business is moving. His approach is built on doing the legwork necessary to understand what the industrys key players are doing, what they are thinking about, and how they plan to adapt to the changing nature of the directional media business.

Since becoming program director of The Kelsey Report® TKGs flagship Continuous Advisory Service Charles has expanded the scope of the program from an exclusive focus on new technologies for directory publishers to a broader look at how Yellow Pages is competing in the media marketplace both analog and digital.

Charles has been instrumental in expanding TKGs product portfolio. In 2002, he led the development of Global Yellow Pages, a comprehensive, 400-plus-page worldwide industry fact book. In 2004, Charles was also instrumental in developing the Local Media Journal. This twice-monthly digest of news and analysis covers the broad spectrum of local directional media, including print and online Yellow Pages, local search, local guides, mobile directories, social networks and local e-commerce.

Charles readily admits he backed into covering the directional media business. He was looking for a better-paying job in 1993 when he was hired to edit Link Magazine, then a leading publication covering the Yellow Pages publishing industry. After initially wondering what he had gotten himself into, he soon realized the Yellow Pages wasnt just a device for helping toddlers reach piano keys, but a vibrant, hugely profitably business with a host of compelling issues and challenges.

In 1996, John Kelsey invited Charles to join The Kelsey Group to edit Context, a newsletter covering the then-nascent Internet Yellow Pages space. In those days, the industrys biggest newsmakers included Kris Hagerman, Charles Conn and Naveen Jain. He outlasted Context, eventually taking the helm at The Kelsey Report®.

Charles began his career about as far away from the Yellow Pages industry as one can imagine. In 1987, his first real job was a police reporter with the City News Bureau of Chicago, the training grounds of Chicagos journalism pantheon, including Mike Royko and Seymour Hersh. He later worked at a series of local news organizations, including the Pulitzer and Copley newspaper chains.

Charles earned a B.A. in English from the University of Illinois. Before he finished college, he spent a year traveling through Europe and the Middle East, where he worked odd jobs that included opening doors for wealthy Kensington residents in London, picking Beaujolais grapes in France, pressing virgin olive oil in Crete, and picking tomatoes and green peppers in Israels Negev desert.

These days, Charles free-time pursuits are a bit less adventurous. He enjoys bike riding, rollerblading, reading non-fiction and watching documentaries on the History Channel. If you cant find him at home or the office on the weekends, he is probably at the local ice rink watching his elder sons youth hockey team. Charles lives with his family in Lake County, Illinois.

 



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