Polish media meets the Midwest

Piotr Marek and Marcin Stachyra traveled a long way to meet with Iowa journalists at the Iowa Newspaper Association convention. TRAVIS FISCHER/HAMPTON CHRONICLE
Travis Fischer
Staff Reporter

Hundreds of newspaper workers and related industry professionals descended on Des Moines last week for the annual Iowa Newspaper Association convention, but few traveled as far as Piotr Marek.

Marek is the CEO of CMS4Media, a developing web company specializing in helping news organizations improve their online presence.

Previously a journalist himself in his homeland of Poland, Marek became frustrated with the options available for building a website tailored for delivering news and selling advertisements.

"I was searching for tools that would be user friendly and allow us to make money online," said Marek. "I couldn't find one that suited me."

Unsatisfied with what was available, he decided to set out on his own and build the kind of web design service he was looking for. Today his company helps media outlets like newspapers and television stations build their websites. In contrast with more generalized web-developers, being familiar with the other side of the news industry helped shape his service into something that would be easier to use for both reporters and advertisers.

The company even offers educational programs to help teach their clients how to upload content and customize their sites to their liking.

"You have a hammer and you have to know how to use it," said Marek.

After establishing his business in Poland, Marek decided to go global. He currently operates out of Poland, Netherlands, Great Britain, Canada, and now the United States, serving more than 400 clients around the world.

"Our aim is to have a global company that operates in every country where there's a free press," said Marek.

Recently establishing a headquarters in Las Vegas, Marek and his business partner, Marcin Stachyra, have set out to build relationships with the American press.

"We chose Iowa as the first place to visit," said Stachyra.

Iowa's winter weather felt a little more like home for the businessmen as they set up at the convention. From their booth in the exhibitor hall they were able to get to know local news professionals and learn about how the news industry works in the Midwest. While the United States may have a relatively short history, the two were impressed by the Midwest's strong news traditions, where century old newspapers are relatively common compared to their homeland.

"This is exciting," said Stachyra. "Here, even the smallest community has their own newspaper and that is something we really admire."

The convention gave Marek and Stachyra an opportunity to get to know local media professionals with the hope of helping their company grow in the United States. Their next stop on their U.S. tour will be Texas, where they will attend another convention.

"Keeping the local news alive is really an important factor in keeping a democracy," said Marek.


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