Jim Townsend, editorial director and a principal of the AIM Group, is a career journalist, consultant and interactive media pioneer with more than 35 yearsof experience in news management. Townsend joined the AIM Group in 2001 as an analyst and consultant and became a part-owner in 2003. He is based in Houston. He leads a global team of analysts who report media industry trends in North and South America, Europe, India, Asia, Australia and other countries in the Pacific Rim.
He has been guest speaker or keynote speaker at various national and international trade-association conventions, speaking on topics ranging from mobile media to print-to-Web classified conversion.
In the mid-1990s, Townsend was founding editor of Houston Chronicle Interactive (rebranded Chron.com), the Web site of the Houston Chronicle, one of the top major daily newspapers in the United States. Under his leadership, his staff developed digital services and features not adopted by industry peers for nearly a decade, including community-generated content, citizen journalism, blogs and dedicated video production. In 1996, he won the first-ever New Media Federation Digital Edge award for interactive features for the creation of Virtual Voyager, a three-year experiment in interactive journalism. He was finalist for the NAA New Media Federation Pioneer award in 1997. After 20 years at the Chronicle, he left in 2000 to become SVP at Whole Health Networks, a company that produced Web, print and radio content focused on nutrition and health. There, he developed a national reporting and editing staff, working virtually, including bestselling diet authors and radio personalities.
While leading the Chronicle’s digital initiatives, he brokered content-sharing agreements with Houston’s major industries, including NASA and the city’s world-renown medical centers. From 1996 to 2000, at the request of Johnson Space Center, his team provided live, streaming video of NASA’s shuttle missions. He also created an array of subscriber-only services that tied premium digital content to print subscriptions.
Townsend has been quoted on classified- and interactive-media matters in publications worldwide, including Forbes, Financial Times, New York Times and elsewhere.
- Spanish (conversational)
Fun Facts about Jim
- Art enthusiast whom began his career as a staff cartoonist for his university’s newspaper
- Lover of all things music – his office sports four guitars, a banjo and a mandolin
- Recently added a guitar and a ukulele to his musical menagerie