T&D’s Fraser Guides ‘Full-Service Digital Agency’ | Local
Kyla Fraser of the Times and the Democratic Party has done just about everything in the world of the press.
“Ever since I was very young I was interested in writing and working with newspapers,” Fraser said.
A native of Missoula, Montana, she began writing for her high school newspaper in freshman year and was an editor by the time she was a junior.
She went on to win the University of Montana’s Silver Key Journalist Award in 1985 and “was looking forward to starting a career at Missoulian.”
The Missoulian is owned by Iowa-based media company Lee Enterprises and is a sister newspaper to The T&D.
“I started writing freelance that year and also worked in production to keep my foot in the door,” Fraser said. “Ultimately, I ended up having a preference for creative writing and fell in love with producing.”
When she had her daughter, Fraser took a “route and pack haul, smuggling newspapers through western Montana – about 200 miles a day, seven days a week at night, leaving my days free to raise my daughter”.
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When her daughter started school, Fraser returned to work in production and began to climb the proverbial ranks.
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She served as a shipping and receiving supervisor, circulation district manager, packing department manager, and regional circulation manager for SBU Missoula/Hamilton before moving to Orangeburg and taking over advertising in January 2008.
But Fraser’s breadth of experience doesn’t stop there.
She wrote articles, blogged, took photos, worked in the press, worked and managed the mailroom, carried bundles and delivered newspapers, managed circulation and delivery, sold advertisements and managed the publicity department.
She is also a certified forklift driver and is called in occasionally to help unload a truck or two.
“My great-grandfather handled the press for a small newspaper in eastern Montana in the 1920s, so I honestly come from my love for that business,” Fraser said.
On May 10, Fraser’s newspaper career took another step forward when she was named president and director of local sales and marketing for The T&D.
“I feel honored to be named President and Director of Local Sales and Marketing, and I work alongside a great group of managers here,” Fraser said. “As a team, we do very well and work so well together.”
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“We have moved to a vertical structure in our business over the last year or so, phasing out the publisher title and moving to a multi-manager format with everything falling under four categories – advertising, news, broadcast and production “Fraser said. “It’s a solid structure that allows accountability in most areas to rest with different managers. It works well here.”
“We are delighted to have Kyla Fraser as President and Director of Local Sales and Marketing for The Times and Democrat,” said Chris White, President of Lee Enterprises Inc., Western Media Group. “In this role, Kyla will guide the local sales team as we continue to evolve our marketing solutions beyond traditional print offerings towards an agency-focused approach.”
“In the 15 years Kyla has been with The Times and Democrat, she has proven that she cares deeply for her adopted hometown and I know she will be the leader we need in this community,” White said.
Fraser’s primary role at The T&D for the past decade and a half has been managing the advertising department. Although the role has remained the same for those 15 years, Fraser said the requirements have changed regularly.
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“The internet wasn’t new when I came here, but digital advertising was in the early stages of development at that time and was a very small percentage of overall revenue,” said Fraser. “There was nowhere to go but to ride, and it’s been a tremendous ongoing educational opportunity that doesn’t end.”
“The digital landscape is changing rapidly, and as a business, we’re experts at staying ahead of this game,” Fraser said. “We are constantly learning and innovating, and training is now a way of life at this business. We need to keep pace so we can educate our business leaders in the community and help them invest wisely to get the best possible return. “
Fraser said The T&D remains “the strongest medium in the local market”.
Fraser said the newspaper reaches more than 75% of adults in Orangeburg, Bamberg and Calhoun counties with its suite of local print and digital products.
“The beauty of it is that we’re now also a full-service digital agency, capable of every type of digital marketing available today, and generally at better rates,” Fraser said.
Fraser said an example would be the ability to serve interstate customers.
“For example, if you’re in California and you need to promote something in the state of Texas, I can do that for you in countless ways from my office in Orangeburg,” she said. “We build websites from the most basic format for small businesses to e-commerce and large, multi-faceted sites as well.”
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“We just introduced targeted advertising programs combined with direct mail, and we have many options for video advertising that keep video production costs affordable,” she said. “We are here to help businesses succeed. We have been doing this for a long time and have changed our business model to meet the demands of digital competition. We are growing and doing well and expect this trend to continue. It will be interesting to see what’s next in terms of digital innovation.”
Fraser’s career at T&D has been rewarding.
She moved to Orangeburg for personal reasons after her daughter graduated and settled down on her own. Fraser was aiming to transfer to T&D but took a slight risk.
“It wasn’t completely settled before I got here,” she said. “I was ready for a change in my life and was excited for the move and the new opportunities.”
“It helped that we had a sister paper here, and after meeting Cathy Hughes (recently retired T&D editor), I was able to transfer here with no problem,” Fraser said. “I initially didn’t want to get into ad sales as my experience in sales was limited to circulation, but Cathy was persistent and I agreed. I’m one of those people who can do anything. I want, and I’m so grateful she took a chance.”
Now that she’s been in South Carolina for about 15 years, Fraser said she loves the South.
“It’s my home now and I fit in pretty well here,” she said. “I love not driving in the snow!”
She enjoys spending time with Robert, her fiancé, and has three dogs and a large puppy.
“They are the happiest dogs in the world with all this forest to run around in,” Fraser said. “Anyone who knows me well knows that these dogs are an integral part of my world.”
Fraser has a daughter, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law and six grandchildren, ages 6 to 17.
When not busy journaling, Fraser enjoys photography, photo card making, cooking, writing, reading, knitting, gardening, canning and more.
“I have a lot of projects going on all the time,” she said. “My life is busy and very fulfilling.”