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Press Releases

Entries for May 2011

Local Newspaper Deals Site Generates Aid for Joplin Tornado Relief

Deals platforms that generate dollars at lighting-speed can now add fundraising and relief efforts to their list of successful programs. ShoptheLake.com, a GateHouse newspaper website, has raised more than $3,000 by using the power of social networking to get the word out on this very important cause. The vendor working with the newspaper also donated their fee to the relief effort.

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Employees of the Joplin Globe, a long-time SNA member and part of the Cnhi family, need our help. The homes of 26 of the 117 employees were heavily damaged or destroyed by the recent tornado that devastated the town. SNA is partnering with the Missouri Press Association to raise money for a special disaster relief fund for the affected newspaper employees and their families. The fund will also be used to help any other newspaper employees' that were affected by this disaster (in addition to the Joplin Globe).

Please consider a donation of any amount. Click here to make your donation online (or you can mail a check to Missouri Press Foundation, 802 Locust Street, Columbia, MO 65201). All donations are tax-deductible. Thanks for your support.

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The last session of the SNA/Blinder Conference on Thursday was all about retooling the sales department. Here are the highlights:

From Chris Edwards, VP of Sales, Cedar Rapids Gazette/TV-9:

Chris Edwards photo
Chris Edwards, VP of Sales at Cedar Rapids Gazette/TV-9, presenting at the SNA/The Blinder Group Revenue Leadership Summit.
  • Created new business development group focusing only on non-customers. Once businesses are sold, they are handed off to another group. They work as a “hit squad” for new projects.
  • After doing some research, they found that 15% of the community uses them, but 85% do not, leaving a huge pot of potential and justifying the need for a new specialized group.
  • They hire by personality profile – if you don’t pass, you don’t get the interview. If you do pass, you are given a sales aptitude test. In all, it’s a four-interview process. Media experience is not required.

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From Nancy Lane, President, SNA


Revenue Summit Attendees photo
Attendees at the SNA/The Blinder Group Revenue Summit listening intently at the Top Ten Revenue Ideas session.

The SNA/Blinder Revenue Summit rocks. Here are a few of my favorite take-aways:

From Top Ten Revenue Ideas session:

Daily Deals (Ashley Pyle, Product Rollout Manager, Lee Enterprises, and Tim Corcoran, Regional Director of Advertising, Toronto Community News): Impulse buys/vanity offers working very well; both have had deals that were over six figures; at Metroland they have had huge success with car washes (recent deal has 1,200 vouchers) and men's shirts.

Microsites and Facebook facelifts for local advertisers (Doug Dixon, Sales Manager, ThisWeek Community Newspapers): These are sold as part of larger package. For an example on Facebook, check out Bel-Lago Waterfront Bistro. Microsite examples: www.motoristallstars.com and www.wowwhatamovie.com.

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By Deb Shaw, For the SNA Foundation


UGC Your News photo
UGC is an excellent source of names and faces for your paper.

User Generated Content has gotten a lot of ink lately. High profile forays, like Deseret Media’s Clark Gilbert strategic development of Deseret Connect and the Community Media Lab program within the now digital-first Journal Register Company, are testament to the growing importance of these programs to the modern business model.

In this era of tight resources and shrinking staffs, what editor wouldn’t like a source of robust content that doesn’t cost anything and is pliable enough to be published in multiple ways – online, in print, even as full feature or hard news stories? The folks at GateHouse Media have developed a ‘callout’ approach that is yielding healthy results such as these and shared the details in a recent SNA Foundation-sponsored webinar.

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SNA President Nancy Lane has been providing daily reports from the road while she traveled with the Innovation Mission. Eighteen community media executives took part in this week-long study, visiting some of the most innovative media houses in North America. The group focused on new business models and emerging content strategies.

Innovation Mission:
Attendee Feedback/Key Take-Aways

Innovation Mission Attendees at Baseball Game photo
Innovation Mission attendees watched the Toronto Blue Jays take on the Detroit Tigers at the Toronto Sky Dome on Friday.

At 4 PM on Friday afternoon, Innovation Mission attendees debriefed in a conference room at Torstar's offices, hosted by Metroland, on the key take-aways of the past six days. There was no shortage of enthusiasm despite the exhausting travel schedule that took the group to four states and two countries in a short, compact period of time.

Emotions ranged from aha moments to outright confusion on next steps. Everyone walked away with new ideas and new friends. Many are going to make dramatic changes upon their return as a result of this experience.

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SNA President Nancy Lane will provide daily reports from the road while traveling with the Innovation Mission. Eighteen community media executives are taking part in this week-long study to visit with some of the most innovative media houses in North America. The group is focusing on new business models and emerging content strategies.

Friday Afternoon Report from Metroland Media – Mashing Up Mobile and Group Deals with UofCheap.com

Brandon Erlacher and Suzanne Schlicht photo
Innovation Mission attendees Brandon Erlacher, Publisher of The Elkhart Truth, and Suzanne Schlicht, COO of The World Company, enjoying some UofCheap.com swag.

With a specific target of college/university students, UofCheap.com takes the student discount card concept to the medium of choice for most young people – the smart phone.

UofCheap.com has gone hyper-local and is targeting all of the colleges and universities in the province of Ontario. The site includes a mix of daily and stagnant deals (stagnant deals are anytime deals – not necessarily deeply discounted). On the daily deal side, users get email alerts each day when the new deal is posted.

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SNA President Nancy Lane will provide daily reports from the road while traveling with the Innovation Mission. Eighteen community media executives are taking part in this week-long study to visit with some of the most innovative media houses in North America. The group is focusing on new business models and emerging content strategies.

Friday Morning Report: Selling Video Advertising Packages

Meriel Bradley photo
Meriel Bradley, Executive Producer, The Digital Video Group, Metroland Media.

“Every client in your market should have a video.” These words of wisdom came from Meriel Bradley, Executive Producer, The Digital Video Group, Metroland Media, during one of the major aha moments of the entire Innovation Mission.

According to Bradley, “90% of consumers say that watching a video influences their buying decisions,” and “67% of Canada’s population viewed more than 5.6 billion videos online last year.”

Bradley came to Metroland with a background in TV and video and wowed attendees with a new product that she created called “ShopTalk.”

ShopTalk combines print, video, blogs and QR codes into a packaged buy. QR codes act as a bridge between print and digital experiences and “put product right in the palms of your customers' hands.” The typical ShopTalk package includes a 60 second video; 12 print ads (one per month); and 12 professionally written blogs (one per month).

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SNA President Nancy Lane will provide daily reports from the road while traveling with the Innovation Mission. Eighteen community media executives are taking part in this week-long study to visit with some of the most innovative media houses in North America. The group is focusing on new business models and emerging content strategies.

Thursday Morning Report:
Question of the Day – 'What if We...'

Linda Grist Cunningham photo
Linda Grist Cunningham,
Executive Editor,
Rockford Register Star

Prepared by Al Cupo, Vice President, Operations, Suburban Newspapers of America

Linda Grist Cunningham, Executive Editor at the Rockford Register Star in Illinois, joined the SNA Foundation's Innovation Mission in Boston by way of Skype. Linda is one of those people who are always asking the types of questions that lead to innovative solutions. More times than not, these questions start with the words 'what if we...' These three simple words have been asked over and over again as Linda and her team continue what she refers to as their 'Cyber-Fiber Integration.'

Linda provided several examples of this innovative thinking during her one-hour presentation to Mission participants. As early as 1998, she was experimenting with different types of front page formats for their web site. Today, the Register Star's web site, www.rrstar.com, features 15 to 20 top stories with a brief description of each. The reader can then make the decision to dive deeper into each article. Their web site is both clean and easy to navigate and readers have been very receptive to this format.

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SNA President Nancy Lane will provide daily reports from the road while traveling with the Innovation Mission. Eighteen community media executives are taking part in this week-long study to visit with some of the most innovative media houses in North America. The group is focusing on new business models and emerging content strategies.

Wednesday Afternoon Report: JRC's Open Community Newsroom – The "Torrington State of Mind"

Matt DeRienzo photo
Matt DeRienzo, Publisher of The Register Citizen, in the Newsroom Café.

Open and transparent best describes Journal Register Company's Open Community Newsroom in downtown Torrington, CT. And what they have created in this former sewing machine factory is simply remarkable and serves as a model for the entire industry.

The Register Citizen (daily with circulation of about 7,000) has redefined the meaning of community contributions. The renovated building includes meeting rooms, a café, access to archives, a copy machine (free of charge to the public), and perhaps most importantly, community input in the news-making process.

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SNA President Nancy Lane will provide daily reports from the road while traveling with the Innovation Mission. Eighteen community media executives are taking part in this week-long study to visit with some of the most innovative media houses in North America. The group is focusing on new business models and emerging content strategies.

Wednesday Morning Report: Digital First Revenue Strategies

Adam Burnham photo
Adam Burnham, Vice President of Local Sales for Journal Register Company, presents to attendees at the Innovation Mission.

The nearly three hour bus ride was worth it for Innovation Mission attendees to see the nation's first open community newsroom in Torrington, Connecticut.

The group met with Journal Register Company (JRC) executives for five hours to learn about the open newsroom (to be covered in a related article to be released this afternoon) and revenue success stories in this digital-first company.

Adam Burnham, Vice President of Local Sales for Journal Register Company, shared company strategies, success stories and lessons learned.

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SNA President Nancy Lane will provide daily reports from the road while traveling with the Innovation Mission. Eighteen community media executives are taking part in this week-long study to visit with some of the most innovative media houses in North America. The group is focusing on new business models and emerging content strategies.

Tuesday Report - Creating the Digital Agency, Pay Walls, ROI-based Advertising and More

The digital agency initiative has become a core pillar of the Dow Jones Local Media Group. Senior Vice President of Digital Media and Product Management Kurt Lozier met with Innovation Mission attendees in Boston over dinner on Tuesday night.

Kurt Lozier and Terry Kukle photo
Kurt Lozier, Senior Vice President of Digital Media and Product Management at Dow Jones Local Media Group, talks with Innovation Mission participant Terry Kukle.

The agency approach was developed after using Borrell Compass reports as well as other research to determine that 67% of local digital dollars are going to promotions and infrastructure (development of web site, social media, pay-per-click, etc.) They want to go after those dollars; they want to be the trusted consultant.

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SNA President Nancy Lane will provide daily reports from the road while traveling with the Innovation Mission. Eighteen community media executives are taking part in this week-long study to visit with some of the most innovative media houses in North America. The group is focusing on new business models and emerging content strategies.

Monday Afternoon Report - Content Strategies

Clark Gilbert photo
Clark Gilbert, President
& CEO, Deseret News
Publishing Company and
Deseret Digital Media

"Strategy is never more than 49% of the solution; you must have great people" - Clark Gilbert, President & CEO, Deseret News Publishing Company and Deseret Digital Media.

One thing was clearly evident, the greatest disruptor in our industry has assembled an unbelievable team to execute. All come from a digital background (0 years of collective newspaper experience).

The innovation mission attendees met with more than 14 of the top managers at Deseret Digital. The afternoon focused on content strategies and after a tour of the amazing converged newsroom, executives shared some of those strategies.

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SNA President Nancy Lane will provide daily reports from the road while traveling with the Innovation Mission. Eighteen community media executives are taking part in this week-long study to visit with some of the most innovative media houses in North America. The group is focusing on new business models and emerging content strategies.

Monday Morning Report - Commerce Strategies/New Business Models

Innovation Mission, Monday photo
Will digital revenue account for 25% of your revenue and 50% of your profit margin by the end of 2011? It should according to Clark Gilbert, CEO of Deseret News and Deseret Digital Media.

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SNA President Nancy Lane will provide daily reports from the road while traveling with the Innovation Mission. Eighteen community media executives are taking part in this week-long study to visit with some of the most innovative media houses in North America. The group is focusing on new business models and emerging content strategies.

Rick Blair photo
Rick Blair, CEO,
Examiner.com

Sunday Night Report: Rick Blair, CEO, Examiner.com

"Probably the largest network that no one has ever heard of!" It is large indeed with 22 million monthly unique visitors.Blair focused on their amazing content strategy:

  • 70,000 "examiners" defined as passionate, credible, local insiders
  • 48% of applicants are accepted
  • Goal when choosing examiners - thought leadership/high standards/quality
  • Vast majority have some writing experience
  • They process 2,000 applications per week

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