"We intend to be one of the great journalism organizations of the 21st century, not just the 20th," Austin Beutner, the Times’ publisher, said Monday in a Times story on Mele’s new position. "With Nicco, we truly have a digital native to help us reimagine our business and develop new digital revenue streams."
As the webmaster for Howard Dean’s presidential campaign in the 2004 Democratic primaries, Mele is credited with transforming the way that political campaigns raise money online.
Mele is a faculty member at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the co-founder of Echo & Co., an Internet strategy and consulting firm. He is the author of the 2013 book “The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath.”
Since 2010, Mele has advised NLP on using technology effectively to teach middle school and high school students how to know what to believe in the digital age. His guidance has included assistance with the design of NLP’s website and with its compact digital unit, which is the project’s primary path to scale.
John Carroll, who was the editor of the Los Angeles Times from 2000 to 2005 and is the chair of NLP’s board, told the paper, "Nicco's not a journalist, but he hears the music.” Mele “believes in the social mission of journalism," Carroll said.
Of Mele’s work with NLP, Carroll said, “He did it free and in good spirit. … He's not just a technologist or a guy who only wants to make money."
Mele will join the Times, one of NLP’s 26 participating news organizations, in January 2015. The project plans to expand to Los Angeles next year.