NAA announced the winners of its first “Top 30 Under 30” Awards program at NAA mediaXchange 2016 in April, which honors young leaders working in every aspect of the news media who are contributing to the future success of the industry. Over the next several weeks we will feature profiles on the winners, highlighting their work and ideas, and how they’re helping the industry grow and evolve.
Anna Costello started in the newsroom out of college.
“My first job was part time with The Tampa Bay Times,” she says. “There was always something exciting going on.”
She has been in the newspaper industry ever since, though now she’s on the vendor side.
“I think working in the newsroom was such a fantastic beginning,” she says. “You got to see how everything came together.”
She uses her newsroom experience and connection at her position as Director of Product Management at Adpay, Inc. She focuses on their Memoriams platform and making it most effective for newspapers.
She works with the clients to set up the product and after launch, dissects the metrics.
Costello is one of NAA’s 30 Under 30 Award recipients.
“I didn’t know I was nominated until very close to [NAA mediaXchange 2016],” she says. “When I read the nomination, it was wonderful, so humbling and really an honor.”
Mike Heene, Adpay’s CEO, wrote that Costello is instrumental in formulating strategies and tactics around transforming the newspaper obituary business into a national network.
“This involves changing the mindset and processes of two very traditional and entrenched businesses — newspapers and their funeral homes. Her deft touch and the pace at which she has affected this change is remarkable. It has led to industry-wide acceptance, including the endorsement of the Local Media Consortium. There can’t be a single person in the industry, of any age, who is changing an entire newspaper category like this, for the better,” he wrote.
28-year-old Costello has been on the Memoriams project since it started, back when they were writing code and doing focus groups. Now they are launching with newspaper partners.
She doesn’t see her age as an advantage or disadvantage.
“I’ve never thought of it that way, we all bring different experience and skill sets,” she says.
Memoriams collects a newspaper’s obituary rates, packages and deadlines. Funeral directors then sign up and submit obituaries into the program.
“From the funeral director’s perspective, they get to see the preview, schedule it to run and submit it to additional newspapers,” Costello says. “From the newspaper standpoint, all of that information comes in pre-approved and pre-paid for.”
Memoriams saves time and eliminates room for errors.
“We’re working on ways to make it easier for funeral homes, and families and newspapers to share obituaries and memories,” she says. “The importance of this is not lost on us.”
She has traveled to different newspapers and trade shows across the US.
“It’s really rewarding working with newspapers and funeral homes,” she says. “Each of them has a presence, history and an impact in the community.”