Executive Leadership Team
Jody B. Merl, President
Jody Merl has led an exciting and industrious career to develop a strategic business niche, fueled by her entrepreneurial spirit. The founder and president of Innovative Travel Marketing (ITM), launched in 1992, debuted its subsidiary ITM Newspaper Media Buying Services in 2017. She now leads two powerhouse companies that presciently changed the landscape of media planning and buying. Her successful media-buying venture has shrugged off the end of print and affirmed newspaper as the most trusted and lucrative form of advertising.
Digital may be king, but to Merl, newspaper is the humble, hard working emperor. Her division of ITM Newspaper Media Buying Services reflects her passion for multi-platform newspaper — print, digital and mobile — in service to an ever-expanding, loyal client base. With an “above & beyond” philosophy, they have forged solid relationships with wide-ranging businesses, including news, finance, automotive, insurance, retail and more. She has surrounded herself with seasoned specialists who deliver coveted placements at the most efficient costs in newspaper media options.
Kim Aiello, Executive Vice President
With almost 20 years’ experience in advertising agency and newspaper media-buying, Kim Aiello is renown in the industry for her peerless expertise as a masterful negotiator who works tirelessly and creatively to deliver the greatest value and service to her clients. She is passionate about providing the best rates and positioning for advertisers and providing consistent business to over 2000 newspapers around the country.
As a newspaper guru, loyalist and operational wiz, Kim is leading ITM’s expanded division of multi-platform newspaper – print, digital and mobile – to service a broad category of businesses as the division’s EVP Media Buying. In this role, she will continue to be a trusted conduit and unrivaled buyer between agencies/clients and the newspaper sector. Kim received her Master of Business Administration from Dowling College.
Jim Magee, Business Development Director
Jim Magee, a 25-year veteran of the newspaper print sector with stellar relationships, serves agencies and clients with an unrivaled commitment to exceptional service and value. His longstanding career in advertising sales and management has been with leading publishing companies such as Gannett, McClatchy, Hearst and tronc (formerly Tribune Publishing), where he has championed the newspaper industry and earned a reputation for his knowledge of its broad and diverse advertising category — from banking, retail, automotive and financial/insurance to pharmaceutical, telecom and technology.
Magee freely pursues agencies and businesses with continuous outreach and education, to convey the unrelenting power of print-based journalism among discerning consumers. Newspaper remains the most trusted form of advertising and clients value print as the stalwart marketing and agencies’ covet Magee and ITM’s expertise more than ever. Magee has shepherded millions of dollars of campaigns to multi-media newspaper platforms throughout the U.S.
Magee received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Iowa, and he is affiliated with the California Newspaper Advertising Executives Association (a Past President), AAAA, Think LA, and the Newspaper Association of America.
Debbie Durso, Media Director
Debbie Durso combines an extensive background of advertising agency and barter industry experience. She is responsible for managing the Media Department, nurturing client relationships, and developing new trade relationships with all media. Debbie is dedicated to maintaining a high level of service with ITM’s long-standing media partners and clients.
Amy Butler, Associate Media Director
Amy Butler, Associate Media Director, is an experienced operations manager and media strategist. Amy enhances client media plans that utilize her expertise in multi-platform print (including digital and mobile) and nationwide inserts for retailers. She leverages her outstanding relationships in the newspaper industry, earned during extensive tenures at Quad and Newspaper National Network. Amy bolstered strong industry relationships serving top advertising agencies and their blue chip clientele. Her vision clearly reflects the timeless popularity of newspaper as the direct messenger that keeps gaining strength.
Michelle Walsh, Associate Media Director
Michelle Walsh is an experienced media planner and buyer who customizes inspired campaigns utilizing print, digital, broadcast and out-of-home advertising. A key force in ITM’s exclusive team of media strategists, Michelle manages all aspects of planning, negotiation, premium positioning and added-value. Her great attention to detail and transparency yield enthusiastic relationships among clients and media companies alike, and her commitment to optimize every media budget — whether cash, trade or both — earn ITM a track record of tremendous client loyalty.