Michelle J. Foster is an international media management and marketing consultant who helps news media companies to improve business performance. She has worked with organizations throughout the United States and in China, Myanmar, SE Asia, the Balkans, Eastern Europe and Africa. She has been a Knight International Journalism Fellow in SE Asia on two occasions. She serves on the board of the Independent Journalism Foundation.
Foster has also researched and written project proposals for international media projects and conducted in-field M&E of such programs. Recently, she has co-developed an e-learning platform that enables a partner organisation to deliver training to media managers and journalists operating in conflict areas, under repression, or in exile.
From 1991 until 2003, Foster was the senior market development executive for Gannett Co., Inc.’s Newspaper Division. As such, she oversaw marketing efforts for 97 daily newspapers, a host of national brands, and niche/vertical product lines. She led efforts in branding, consumer and business marketing, database development, market intelligence, and the migration of brands from traditional to online media. In that role, she won recognition for excellence in innovation and marketing leadership.
Foster has won national and regional marketing awards and is a frequent public speaker. She has authored a number of reports on the business environment for news media in Myanmar during the country’s transition, and on media development, including three recent titles published by the National Endowment for Democracy's Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA):
Calling the Shots: How Ownership Structures Affect the Independence of News Media (2014)
Measuring the Audience: Why it Matters to Independent Media (2012)
Matching the Market and the Model: The Business of Independent News Media (2011)
She is conversant in Chinese; was a Foreign Expert at the Beijing Institute of Foreign Trade; and has lived in 7 states, China, Taiwan and Cambodia. She was a member of the Conference Board’s Council on Services Marketing and on the national marketing board of Kids Voting. She has held numerous roles within media industry organizations.