“The Best Decision I Ever Made” — How the Gazette Connected Me With Talented, Driven People

I’ve made some great decisions over the years, but participating in the Legislative Gazette Internship in 1981 was the best decision I ever made. The program connected me with talented, driven people who were destined to have brilliant careers. Many of the people I worked with became life long friends. I enjoyed the program so much in ‘81 I went back in 1982. Not only did I work with more terrific people that second year, I met amazing people outside the program.

It was a tremendous year. Governor Hugh Carey announced in early January that he wasn’t running for reelection and the entire state went nuts. I became a fixture in Lieutenant Governor Mario Cuomo’s office thanks to the generosity of one of his top aides: Woodie Fichette. Fichette was one of the good guys. He was a former Gannett guy who always had time for interns. As the candidate pool grew I met more A-list politicians – Comptroller Ned Regan, Assembly Minority Leader James Emery, Lawyer and former Assemblyman Paul Curran, investment banker and businessman Lewis Lehrman, even NY Mayor Ed Koch.

One of the things that impressed me most that second year was all the talent that stood behind these politicians. Koch had David Garth and Marty McLaughlin. Lehrman had John Buckley. Cuomo had Fichette and son and future Governor Andrew Cuomo. Every place I looked that year I saw talent, whether it was on the campaign trail or in the Gazette’s Washington Street office. The Gazette laid an amazing foundation for me.

After graduating from New Paltz in December, 1982 I became a reporter and editor at International Thomson, now part of Thomson Reuters. After several years at Thomson, I left editorial and became a Publisher at Capital Cities / ABC Inc. After Capital Cities was acquired by the Walt Disney Company, I became a Group Publisher at Disney and later at Reed Elsevier.

Mark Papia, right, with longtime Gazette Editor Glenn Doty

In 1999, I left the publishing business, joining Yahoo Inc. in a sales and business development capacity. I grew convinced by 1999 that publishing would one day be web-based, so the move to Yahoo made tremendous sense to me. After five epic years at Yahoo, I became the head of sales for startup MySpace.com. Very few people had heard of Myspace in July of 2004 when I joined, but I knew it was a one-of-a-kind site and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After Myspace was acquired by News Corp in 2005, I became a Senior Vice President at News Corp’s Fox Interactive Media. I continued to be involved with Myspace, and built a monetization engine for all of Fox Interactive Media’s other digital properties. I created the digital ecosystem’s first, data-centric, private advertising marketplace and served the industry’s first ‘Real Time Bidding’ ad impression in 2006. Our push into real-time bidding helped birth the ‘programmatic’ age in digital media.

I stayed at Fox through 2010. Since then, I have invested in, developed, and sold off startup companies. Today I run Big Dog Integration, a Los Angeles-based consultancy. My pet project today is in the ‘corporate sustainability’ business. If this next endeavor takes off like I think it will, I will use it as a platform for an internship program for college students who are interested in journalism and sustainability.