Friday, April 18, 2014
Press Releases

Entries for the 'General Interest' Category

LMA is out recruiting for its new CareerConnect program in Austin, Texas at the College Newspaper Business & Advertising Managers (CNBAM) convention. With over 300 attendees LMA is booked solid interviewing hiring candidates for LMA members. If you want to know more about the program, or are a graduating senior, more information is available here.

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Download the PowerPoints from the Mega-Conference in Las Vegas.

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The LMA board of directors is excited to propose a bylaws change that will allow for the creation of a new class of membership called "Local Media Members." This new class will allow non-newspaper media companies including TV stations, radio stations, directory publishers, pure plays and more to join the association. 

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We've released a new, low-cost, training course - "Digital Business Development." The course is on sale for $125 and teaches sales reps how to find more leads using digital tools. A must course for any sales rep!

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Local Media Association is proud to announce the winners of the 2013 Newspaper of the Year contest. These award-winning newspapers displayed top-notch editorial coverage, eye-catching graphic design and prominent advertising layouts, exemplifying creativity and innovation in all areas of the newspaper. Click here to view the winners.

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Read the blog that Peter Krasilovsky, VP, BIA/Kelsey posted about our 2013 Innovation Mission report. Krasilovsky writes, "I personally learned a lot about native advertising, digital ad agencies and Twitter ad products. In fact, the report is a field guide to the key things that small publishers (and in fact, everyone) should be thinking about in terms of their digital and mobile transition."

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We've just added July 29th for the start of the next training. Did you know that over $6 billion was spent on local search in 2012? Sign-up now and triple your search revenue!

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The OC Register’s strategy has certainly raised eyebrows in the industry. No one else is hiring 120 newsroom employees. Some have called it flat out crazy. Deputy editor Rob Curley took the stage today to explain and defend this strategy. It was an outstanding and inspiring presentation.

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You won't want to miss this event! On April 18, at 3 p.m. ET we will host a groundbreaking webinar -- "Rebuild Your Core While You Reinvent Your Business Model." This webinar is free to all members and association partners.

Chris Lee, president of Deseret Digital Media, will present the key takeaways from a recent Harvard Business Review article, "Two Routes to Resilience," written by Clark Gilbert (CEO of Deseret Digital Media and Deseret News), Matthew Eyring and Richard N. Foster. At the heart of the issue is the notion that there are two transformations underway in our industry... READ MORE>>

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Lindsey Leisher Estes photo

Local Media Association is pleased to announce the hire of Lindsey Leisher Estes as their new Sales & Marketing Manager. Estes recently served as the event manager at Catholic Relief Services where she worked for the past year. Estes started on March 11. READ MORE>>

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Local SMB Mobile Mash-up
2013 Preview

Al Cupo, Vice President, Local Media Association

In this session, Borrell Associates’ Larry Shaw, VP of research and Greg Harmon, senior research analyst, offered a glimpse of the latest SMB survey data that indicates a major increase in mobile marketing interest. Borrell Associates worked with local media companies throughout the U.S. to deliver this survey for their in-market SMB’s. The results were aggregated and analyzed for this research report that was presented. READ MORE>>

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Local Media Association, Borrell Associates and Local Search Association Team Up for this Premier Industry Event

Laurel Lane photo

The focus will be on revenue when three of the industry’s most progressive organizations come together for a social + mobile gathering.

The Sheraton Chicago O’Hare Airport Hotel will host the inaugural Social + Mobile – Show Me the Money! event on August 21 -22. Day one will be devoted to social strategies and day two will finish up with mobile. The two areas are intersecting more and more and this will be addressed throughout the program.

“Social and mobile represent two of the biggest opportunity areas for local media companies,” said Nancy Lane, president of Local Media Association, “We created this event to identify the most promising revenue models and case studies. The collaboration with Borrell Associates and Local Search Association will enable us to identify the leaders across all media platforms.”

The event is perfect for anyone charged with growing mobile and social revenue at a local media company.

“Lots of conferences bring ideas,” said Gordon Borrell, CEO of Borrell Associates, “but the smartest media managers place more value on viable business models. This conference offers a laser focus on defining the revenue-producing models that work for social and mobile ventures.”

"Bringing three industry leaders together for an event like this is exciting," said Neg Norton, president, Local Search Association, "This joint effort will allow us to identify the best in the business when it comes to generating mobile and social revenue. It's going to be a great few days and well worth the investment to attend."

The program will be announced in late March at which time registration will be open. The conference is expected to sell out quickly and is being capped at 300 attendees.

Sponsor and exhibit opportunities will also be available. Details will be coming soon.


For more information contact Nancy Lane, president, Local Media Association at nancy.lane@localmedia.org.

 

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Laurel LaneDesigned for newspapers that need a basic "how to" training on Facebook and Twitter for business. This 30-minute webinar will cover how to get started and will also provide an overview of all of the new tools that have been released by both social media platforms.The webinar will also feature examples of use for local advertisers. Register Now! >>

Speaker: Laurel Lane, former manager of Digital Media Revenue, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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The Former Borrell Associates Executive to Start on December 3

After an extensive interview process that included nearly seventy applications for the position, Local Media Association has chosen Peter Conti as their new Sales & Marketing Director.

Peter Conti photo
Peter Conti

Peter Conti most recently served as an executive vice president at Borrell Associates where he has worked since 2001. His primary role there was as a consultant to media outlets and pure play Internet companies, developing and implementing business and marketing strategies for their local online and mobile initiatives. He managed and participated in Borrell Associates’ webinars and their digital sales training initiatives. He also contributed to Borrell Associates’ digital marketing industry reports and was a frequent speaker and keynoter at industry conferences. Before Borrell Associates, he was the director of interactive media for Media General's publishing division. Prior to that, in 1997, he joined Landmark Communications Inc. to develop and manage the highly successful Richmond.com Web site.

Conti received the Interactive Advertising Bureau's (IAB), “2009 Service Excellence Award," for his dedication and leadership in helping educate local marketers and ad agencies about targeted digital advertising. Conti has been an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Business teaching “Global Internet Marketing.” He attended the International Studies program at the University of Lund, Sweden, and holds a bachelor's degree in Radio, TV & Film from the University of Maryland.

“We are thrilled to welcome Pete to the LMA team,” said Nancy Lane, president of Local Media Association. “This hire reinforces our commitment to help the industry develop new revenue streams, find sustainable business models and identify trends that are most likely to succeed. Pete will enable us to help the industry in new and interesting ways. His first project will be to complete our sales certification program including the management and advanced tracks.”

“I am proud to join the team at Local Media Association,” said Conti, “I have long viewed LMA as one of the most innovative and progressive organizations to serve our industry. I am excited by the many opportunities that lie ahead and look forward to talking to LMA members about their needs and how I can help them grow their business.”

Conti will start on December 3. LMA members can reach him at peter.conti@localmedia.org.

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FREE REPORT NOW AVAILABLE TO LOCAL MEDIA ASSOCIATION MEMBERS

Local Media Association loves to provide added-value to our members on a regular basis. So in addition to the 24+ free webinars that we will conduct this year as well as the free virtual two-day advertising conference that we added in the summer, we are pleased to issue various research reports and white papers from time to time.

This latest report takes a look inside Groupon. Despite the negative headlines, this disruptive innovator is showing serious growth in North America and is building a business model that will transition past "deal of the day."

Groupon Report

LMA president Nancy Lane and LMA board member Brandon Erlacher spent an afternoon at Groupon headquarters this month along with WAN-IFRA study tour participants from India, Slovakia, Germany, Ireland and Brazil. This report showcases the top takeaways from the visit.

To order your free copy, memebers simply need to like us on Facebook then send an e-mail to hq@localmedia.org with the e-mail address for us to send the report to.

Non-Local Media Association members can purchase the report for $99 by clicking here.

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Keynote: Sold! On Classifieds.

By Al Cupo, vice president, Local Media Association

Presented by Kelly Wirges, ProMax Training & Consulting, Inc

Kelly Wirges of ProMax Training and Consulting brought the energy to the second day of the Classified Multimedia Conference program. Kelly’s 90-minute keynote presentation provided a step-by-step approach to providing excellent service while selling the right product mix for each customer’s specific needs.


  1.)          Create an incredible Customer Experience

Every call should deliver a 5 star experience. Be warm; be welcoming.


You are the company; you have more contact with customers than just about anyone else in the company.


‘Always remember: Customers are not an interruption of your work, they are your work. Slow down!’


   2.)          Deliberately Include Persuasive Communication...

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By Nancy Lane, president, Local Media Association

Gordon Borrell delivered the keynote presentation to a packed room of 70 attendees this morning. These attendees represented newspapers, broadcast and directories from six different countries.

 Key takeaways included:

  •  Online Ad Production: Online agency/exchange fees ($25 billion), display ad design, app design, online contest/game development, online video production

 

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Keynote Presentation: Real Estate – Multimedia Packages That Work

By Al Cupo, vice president, Local Media Association

Presented by: Barbara Kleban, Managing Broker, Coldwell Banker

Barbara Kleban informed and entertained conference participants with her fast moving and insightful presentation. Barbara covered everything from local agents compensation programs to actionable suggestions that local publications can implement immediately to gain more R.E. business.

First and foremost, Barbara said that all R.E. agents must be ‘Googleable’, meaning they must show-up on search pages as much as possible. She went on to suggest that local newspapers assist agents by developing a real estate agent directory to assist with their SEO program...

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By Al Cupo, vice president, Local Media Association

Keynote Presentation: Leading Through Change

Presented by: Bill Cummings, former Senior Director of Advertising, Freedom Communications

Bill Cummings began day one of the conference with a fast paced look at how newspapers can embrace the kind of change that will immediately impact their bottom line. As his first slide said: If you change nothing, nothing will change.
Bill covered a great deal of information during his one-hour presentation. The following list represents a snap-shot of the many suggestions he shared with the conference participants:

Creating a Culture of Change
  • Become a purpose driven sales organization
  • Equip all sales people to be able to see value and communicate the purpose to their advertiser for choosing to engage your services.
  • Understand the purpose of a specific advertising product or feature and seek out new advertisers that could benefit from similar results.

“Romance the Customer”...

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Contests Case Study: GateHouse Media – Rebecca Capparelli, Director of Sales Training Development

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

Contests Case Study: GateHouse Media – Rebecca Capparelli, Director of Sales Training Development

Contests produce well into the seven figures for GateHouse Media and this category continues to grow. They realized early on that even very small properties could bring in $25 K with a football contest.

Contest strategy: to create chain-wide contests that can be run at every property with ease and simple implementation.

Planning is essential when it comes to contests. When they launch without enough lead-time, it doesn’t produce the best results.

Sales rollout philosophy...

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Strategic Shift in Deals

By Al Cupo, Vice President, Local Media Association

Presented by Aaron Toyton, Director of Digital Business Development, Journal Interactive

Strategic Shift in Deals

Focus on customer service

Grow the email db

Close deals – fill calendar two weeks in advance

Diversify deals mix to attract new customers

Add a dedicated sales staff

Grow presence in market through mobile and social

Personnel Adjustments

2 full-time deals sellers: base plus a percentage of every deal sold.

Bonus if exceeding goals.

Special incentives for other sales people

Promoting phone orders – call center

Dedicated customer service person – some customers know her by name

Marketing & Promotion...

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Sales Focus & Deal Quality

By Al Cupo, Vice President, Local Media Association

Presented by Christine Rice, Vice President Interactive Sales, Barrington Broadcasting Group LLC

Deals Profile
12 websites running deals
27 broadcast stations
14 markets across the Midwest and South
Deals are a perfect fit for these markets with SMB clients
Started Deals in February 2011

Weekly emails to all station presidents, top execs and AE’s with weekly deal specials sold throughout their company

Group Focus: Regular calls with all sites
Local Sites: weekly, monthly and quarterly calls to discuss deals’ reports
Management Team: all revenue reports sent to management and used in follow-up revenue calls with presidents

Weekly Reports - The Data:
  1. Revenue Reports
  2. Deal Category Reports
  3. Deals/Contest Database Reports

All report data used to identify and measure best in class programs

Onsite Visits
Personal visits are essential to maintain local focus
These onsite visits are used to gauge success with all interactive products; Deals category is part of every regular site visit!

Training and role-playing is very important to keeping deals top of mind on each sales call.

Deals training includes...

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The Deals Store Model

By Nancy Lane, president, Local Media Association

Liz White, Vice President, New Media, The Record Journal, Meriden, CT (Circulation about 18K), presented a case study about their success using the Deals Store model to increase their deals revenue.

Strategy & Success Behind Deal Stores

       Good for advertisers – no out of pocket cost and no risk as usual; receive a lot of additional print & digital promotion

       Good for customers – lots of local deals & big discounts to choose from; creates a shopping mall & browsing experience

       Good for reps – easier to see around a theme; it’s another tool in their kit; their customers are happy with the additional promotion; extra bonus $ for highest revenue deal in each store (in additional to regular monthly bonuses)

       Good for newspaper – new revenue, new advertisers, positive buzz...

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FUNDAMENTALS OF DEALS SUCCESS

By Nancy Lane, president, Local Media Association

Chris Edwards, Vice President Sales/Customer Care for Source Media Group/Fusionfarm, shared strategy and success stories in the deals space.
 
Source Media includes
The Gazette – 55 K daily/60 K Sunday, KCRG TV 9 and their digital agency Fusionfarm.
 
Monetizing your database:
 
Build & market it intelligently!
 
Email is thriving: 88% check email daily; 50% of consumers make purchases as a direct result of email. Email drives more conversions that any other channel.

Tactics for building your database:

  • Give people a reason to opt in – make them an offer, initial, second try, third try…
  • Make it easy
  • Keep them engaged – offers they want; reasons to be interested
  • Be creative & interesting (don’t look like everyone else out there)

How they grew from 0 to over 33,000:

  • Great deals
  • Utilizing site features
  • Leveraging in-house assets & promotions
  • Contests...

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By Nancy Lane, president, Local Media Association

 

Matt Coen, president of Second Street and sponsor of the LMA Deals & Promotions Summit, got things started this morning with opening comments:

 

Why online promotions?

Revenue from online promotions will surpass online advertising starting in 2014 and will double starting in 2016. Online advertising accounts for $40.3 billion dollars this year and will remain fairly flat in the coming years. Online promotions has grown from $16 billion in 2008 to over $35 billion in 2012 and will exceed $50 billion by 2014/2015. (Source: Borrell Associates). 

Merchant success with deals is growing. The majority (62%) made money on deals in the last few months; another 19% broke even; 19% lost money.


Why performance-based advertising? 65% of internet advertising is performance-based (think Google, FB & deals); 31% is impression-based. This model is here to stay.


Be sure to check back often for updates throughout the day. Starting this afternoon, Al Cupo will also be posting live updates from the Classified Mulitmedia Conference. 

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The affects of Hurricane Sandy continue to reach far and wide along the eastern seaboard. Many Local Media Association members from North Carolina to Massachusetts are still experiencing total or sporadic power outages; others are still coping with the massive amount of coastal flooding and wind damage left in the wake of this monster storm. Local Media Association’s monthly newsletter, Local Media Today, printed by associate member AFL Web Printing in Secaucus, New Jersey has likewise felt the effects of Sandy. Thanks to the terrific efforts of AFL, Local Media Today, originally slated to go on press last week, will be printed tomorrow. We encourage you to visit the Local Media Association web site to access the current electronic edition of Local Media Today:

The November edition of Local Media Today features the following association highlights:

  • Reinvigorate Your Bottom Line for 2013: The Local Media Innovation Alliance Advantage
  • Q & A with new Local Media Association Board of Directors Chairman Gareth Charter
  • Industry Updates from the Local Media Foundation

Other articles include:

  • Transforming a media company, through disruption, innovation, and commitment to mission
  • The latest industry news and R & D member information
  • New Borrell Associates research highlighted: SMBs Spend 2.5x More on Digital ‘Services’

Look for your print copy of Local Media Today to be delivered next week but be sure to also check-out the electronic version here.

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We know you have many choices when it comes to charitable giving but please earmark a few dollars to support the industry that employs you. The Local Media Foundation exists to assist local media companies with the digital transformation. Donated funds are used to provide research, best practices and case studies to the industry. The continuation of this good work relies on private donations from people like you.

Peter Bakke
Peter Bakke
Wick Communications

Peter Bakke, Director of Digital Media at Wick Communications had this to say when asked why he donates to the Local Media Foundation:
“We are all trying to figure out the complex transformation of our business. The Local Media Foundation is our partner in this journey. There are many exciting, informative and cutting-edge projects the Foundation works on to help us succeed. I look at my donation to the Foundation as an investment in our industry's future.“



Matt Walsh
Matt Walsh
The Observer Group, Inc.

And Matt Walsh, CEO/Editor/Publisher, The Observer Group, Inc. noted, “We have found that the Local Media Foundation and what it provides our little company is tantamount to having a first-rate R&D department that we could never afford otherwise. If you want to stay in business, ahead of your competitors and abreast of trends, I believe you will find this is a small investment with a worthwhile ROI.”


The Local Media Foundation has a reputation for being innovative and leading edge. Programs such as the recent Innovation Mission are indicative of the organization's commitment to assist the community media industry during this time of unprecedented change. Along with Local Media Association, both organizations strive to provide a leadership role in the industry by suggesting solutions to problems instead of just reporting on them or covering them at conferences.


The Local Media Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable trust that is funded by private donations. All contributions will be recognized in Local Media Today's December edition (funds received after November 15 will be recognized in a later edition). Donations are tax deductible. Support the Local Media Foundation today by making a donation at one of the following Lifetime Giving Levels. Contributions of any amount are welcome and appreciated.


Register Now Icon
  • Platinum Level: $10,000 and over (Customized plans are available including choice of initiatives and/or the donors name attached to a project.)
  • Gold Level: $7,500 - $9,999
  • Silver Level: $5,000 - $7,499
  • Bronze Level: $2,500 - $4,999
  • Transformation Level: $1,000 - $2,499
  • Innovation Level: $500 - $999
  • Digital Level: $250 - $499
  • Community Level: $100 - $249
  • Friend of the Local Media Foundation: $35 - $99

We know that charitable contributions are a personal choice. Please earmark some dollars to support the industry that employs you or contributes to your livelihood.


Thanks from all of us at the Local Media Foundation. We promise to put your money to good use!


Questions? Please Contact Us

HQ@localmedia.org or 888-486-2466


Thank you for your support!

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Featured Speakers

Ben Shaw
Rebecca Caparelli
Gatehouse Media

Ben Shaw
Ben Shaw
Shaw Suburban Media

Register Now Icon

Be there on November 7 in Chicago to learn more about:

• How GateHouse Media has generated $2.6 million in contest revenue already this year
• Shaw Media's deal that exceeded $175,000 this month
• Why Source Media/Cedar Rapids Gazette is one of North America's top deal producers
• How WGN/Chicago uses contests to drive big revenue gains
• What Second Street's top deal & promotions clients have in common
• Where this space is going over the next five years
• And much, much more!

To register, click here. The host hotel is the affordable Sheraton O'Hare Airport in Chicago. ROI is guaranteed or your money back.

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By Nancy Lane

Wow – what a conference; one of our best ever for sure! Below represents my top takeaways, ideas and thoughts – in no particular order:

Nancy Lane photo

·         From Jason Taylor’s event marketing keynote: “Create something out of nothing.” He is closing in on $3 million/year by doing this. New event ideas that require little risk included: city-wide garage sale with a brand & logo; sell your own After Hours event instead of the Chamber of Commerce; broadcast live medical surgeries with sponsorships from the hospital; movie premiers/partner with local theatre & sell sponsorship.

·         From Centro’s Shawn Riegsecker - 2017 media landscape presentation: “What if digital advertising as it’s currently practiced, is actually the last stage of the old cycle rather than the beginning of the new cycle?”  Shawn also told the audience that 24/7 video news channels represent a huge opportunity for local media companies.

·         Email marketing session – from Rich Whippen/WSPN: “Best time to send an email campaign is Tuesday morning.” WSPN has realized $350,000 in incremental revenue from email marketing. Check out www.mediaprowler.com to learn more including opportunities to partner with them.

·         Digital agency session – from Peter Newton/GateHouse Media & Propel Marketing: “33% of consumer searches are now done on mobile devices; that will increase to 50% next year yet most SMB’s don’t have a mobile-enabled web site.” This is a huge opportunity for digital agencies; Propel now builds these in-house for their clients. Propel is also interested in partnering with other local media companies.

·         From the great idea session – Restaurant Weeks. Both Shore Publishing and Gold Country Media reported good success with this new event that brought in incremental revenue from the restaurant category. Sponsorships were sold to suppliers (produce companies and beer distributors are two good examples). Working with the chamber or economic development council is also a good idea for this type of event. Both conducted these in smaller towns that did not have a restaurant week promotion.

·         From Gordon Borrell:  “100% of the top digital revenue performers employ digital-only sales reps. Average break-even time for these reps is 18 months.”

·         From the Innovation Mission panel: 1. Observer Group changed their name and had employees submit mission statements and then vote on the top choice; they also conducted extensive social media training. 2. Lawrence Journal World launched free state social – a social marketing strategy and has sold $50,000 to date. 3. Shaw conducted extensive iPhone training and will also share this training with LMA members via a free webinar this fall. 4. South Bend Tribune started a digital advisory board that meets monthly and includes a car dealer, health care administrator, chamber leader, minor league baseball executive and more). They also equipped all of their reporters with iPhones and all of their sales reps with iPads.

·         Google Consumer Surveys session – they now have 50+ partners that are realizing a $15 RPM rate. Survey placement “above the fold” drives rates up as does frequency and metering controls.

 

To learn more about any of these sessions or ideas, email me at nancy.lane@localmedia.org. Also check out the fall conference portion of the LMA web site to access most of the presentations (www.localmedia.org).

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General Session: Sales Structure/The Age Old Debate

by Deb Shaw

Borrell Associates CEO Gordon Borrell concluded Wednesday sessions with his well attended presentation on how to structure print and digital sales staff for maximum performance. His presentation was thorough, on point, and backed up with impeccable & indisputable statistics. It also was the topic of many a conversation at last night’s reception at the Georgia Aquarium (sponsored by AdMall) and was deemed by all to be an outstanding end to an excellent day of programming.

Gordon Borrell photo

Borrell got the program started with two questions:

Is the Internet a sustaining technology to your newspaper, or a disruptive technology?

Do you want a significant share of Internet advertising dollars being spent in your market?

He came back around to question one at the end of his presentation but asked the audience to raise a hand if they answered yes to the ad dollar question and needless to say, everyone put hands up. He then proceeded to objectively make the case for a separate digital sales rep (or more) as he walked the group through a series of statistical slides that easily underscored the effectiveness of this approach. The full presentation and stats are viewable at www.borrellassociates.com/LMA2012

 

Some other highlights:

  • Know your target. How much are local businesses spending on digital advertising in your market?
  • Spending data for over 500 markets is accessible through Borrell at www.borrell associates.com/dmr
  • Know your potential, not your share. Borrell research has proven that newspapers can expect a 24.6% share of the digital spend in your market.
  • Newspaper sites that have a digital-only sales staff enjoy 2.5x digital ad revenue per rep.
  • Once you determine your potential revenue, divide that number by $250K and that’s the number of dedicated digital A/E reps you should have.

 

Access the full presentation at www.borrellassociates.com/LMA2012

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Breakout Session: E-mail Marketing

by Deb Shaw

Three media professionals shared the panel to talk about e-mail marketing this afternoon. Each gave insights into their unique approaches but one thing was common – email marketing is generating revenue and it’s profitable.

Email Marketing Session photo
From left, Samantha, Allison, Rich

From Allison Cusick, Digital Marketing Manager, The Elkhart Truth (IN)

  • They’ve been collecting email addresses for years. They’ve been collected from multiple sources but essentially any and all touch points with customers and market residents are used.
  • With a total of roughly 77,000 addresses, they boiled that down to just over 41,000 useable addresses when they got ready to go full steam into their email marketing program.
  • Since January, they’ve conducted 19 contests and surveys to grow their database.
  • They’re selling marketing campaigns to local businesses at the rate of $12/M plus an extra $5/CPM for added levels like gender, income, job industry, interest/lifestyles.

From Samantha Johnston, Executive Director, Colorado Press Association

  • Sync2Media is a separate division of the association. Developed to become more relevant to advertisers seeking to buy audience.
  • Regardless of how technically savvy your market is, people understand what email is and why it’s important.
  • Traditional newspaper and website advertising channels are strong; email is an affordable and viable audience extension tool.
  • Consumers prefer receiving email marketing messages over message sent via texting and Facebook.
  • Email marketing is very scalable, can be executed successfully in large and small markets.
  • Open rates range from 10-17%; click thru rates range from 1.5-2.5%.

From Rich Whippen, President/CEO, Washington Suburban Press Network

  • His newspaper network is huge with print circulation totaling over 1,000,000.
  • They got into email marketing to generate revenue and it’s working. Last month alone, they generated $150K in profit from the program. Media Prowler is their email marketing division.
  • Key ingredients to his success is transparency and purity of the data.
  • There are a lot of email marketers – many are peddling inferior data. Make sure yours is clean and crisp.
  • They will sell e-mail lists to clients, ranging in price from $25/M to $55/M depending on size and scope of sale.
  • Go to www.mediaprowler.com to get a live experience of selecting email data.
  • Rich is willing to explore partnerships with other publishers, to wholesale their collected data to others in the industry.

Contacts:
Allison Cuslock, acusick@etruth.com
Samantha Johnston, sjohnston@colopress.net
RichWhippen, rwhippen@wspnet.com

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The 2017 Project: Looking Down the Road

by Deb Shaw

Centro Founder & President Shawn Riegsecker is a smart guy and he’s got the capital to prove it. In 2010 he took on the full time job (on top of his full time job) of raising venture capital and ultimately succeeded in raising $22.5 million that settled in December 2010. Good for him and Centro….bad for their 2011 strategy development because the capital raising process was so all consuming. So, as he started 2011, he took himself off to the desert for nine days to think, analyze, and envision what the future looks like so he could plan and direct the best use of his resources.

Shawn Riegsecker photo
Centro Founder & President Shawn Riegsecker shared his media vision for 2017 and beyond.

His prognostications took center stage this morning at the LMA Fall Conference as he took the audience of several hundred media professionals on a journey to 2017. Admitting that he’s going out on a limb with his predictions, he also pointed out that he was willing to do so because he believes very much that this is what the future looks like. Some of what he sees ahead:

  • Disruption will be 10x the magnitude of what we’ve seen in the last 10 years.
  • For newspapers, print large metros don’t exist; national print dailies are still breathing; smaller community dailies and weeklies are doing well. Capitalizing on the local connection is paramount.
  • The tablet revolution continues and wreaks havoc on all traditional ways of consuming data.
  • There will be a ‘to the death’ match between telco/wireless/cable providers. OPPORTUNITY HERE – these providers will need to advertise!
  • Twitter is HUGE. Previously Riegsecker thought Facebook might own Twitter in the future; now he wonders if that might be reversed.
  • Mobile phones become more powerful than laptops; the ‘screen’ is important.
  • Video is ubiquitous thanks to technology advances in HD compression.
  • The preprint problem – he says this business will fall off the cliff in 2014.
  • Digital editions survive, and many thrive possibly if they get on the tablet bandwagon now.
  • There’s a collapse of segregated and silo media – no more offline or online media. It will all be just media and the choices will be Text, Image, Audio, Video, Social.
  • On the buying side, audience and media fragmentation is enormous making the media buying process even more complex.
  • Publishers of quality content are the proxies to audience. Local is key. Local media companies, exactly like LMA members, are sitting in the cat bird seat. “As an industry, you guys are in the premium bucket.”

Riegsecker captivated the standing room only audience with these and many other predictions. Time will tell….

Visit www.centro.net for more on Shawn and his company.

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Event Marketing: Keynote Has Muscle and HUGE POTENTIAL

by Deb Shaw

ChattanoogaTimes Free Press Publisher Jason Taylor wound up the Wednesday morning crowd with his keynote presentation on Event Marketing and boy oh boy, did he get things going with a bang. His energy was enormous and so was his lively staging of his Flex Your Muscles presentation.

Jason Taylor photo
Jason Taylor

The bottom line is this: there’s plenty of money to be made in marketing events in communities large and small and, going beyond the revenue lure, the audience engagement and strengthening of newspaper brand are invaluable long term benefits.

Why Events?

  • Revenue through sponsorship sales, ticket sales, booth sales, VIP packages, premium seating, merchandising.
  • Allows newspapers to play to their strengths – brand and market penetration. Taylor said that in his market, an advertiser would have to buy 26 commercials on American Idol to match the market penetration of an ad in his Sunday newspaper.
  • Prevent outside event companies from swooping into your market and taking these dollars. An excellent selling strategy for local newspapers: “Money spent locally stays local.”
  • Can dramatically improve foot traffic to the SMB’s who buy booths and sponsorships.
  • Grow customer base – lots of new business comes from events.
  • Engage readers – events boost relevancy and improves overall impression of newspaper among both consumers and businesses
  • Get to know clients much more intimately – when you host an event you’re spending an entire day with the businesses who are participating.
  • Strengthen underperforming audiences – have a big Hispanic demographic in your market? Host an event aimed specifically for this target.
  • Showcase high performing audiences – think Senior Expo.
  • Sell subscriptions – Taylor reports unexpectedly high sales at events.
  • Capture $$ from different buckets – many companies budget separately for event marketing. For example, McDonalds, an infrequent advertiser previously, now is the lead sponsor on Taylor’s Kidz Expo. This has led to more in paper ads such as inserts and post it front page notes.
  • Marketing your events markets you.

 

Look for more on this, including links to Jason Taylor’s dynamite presentation, coming soon to this website and in October issue of Local Media Today.

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Publisher Opportunity: Monetizing the Micro-survey

by Deb Shaw

Matt Villacarte, Google
Matt Villacarte, Google

Google’s Matt Villacarte, Publisher Development Manager for Google Consumer Surveys, attracted a large crowd interested to learn more about this new partnership opportunity. Launched a scant 6 months ago, Google is looking to connect publishers and market research companies with this survey tool on publisher websites.

Some highlights of the Google Consumer Survey Program:

  • Short one or two question surveys appear on newspaper websites, at a break in premium content (an inline prompt) or anchored on top of a page such as an image gallery.
  • Readers can choose to proceed to rest of story or to view the gallery by answering a short survey, one or two questions, or taking an alternate publisher-chosen course of action.
  • Every time a user completes the survey, the publisher earns revenue at the rate of .05 cents per completed survey.
  • Google is seeking producers of unique content to partner with on this program and according to Matt “local news is exclusive” so there’s a real advantage for LMA members to get to the top of the list for partnership exploration.
  • Only age, gender and geography of user is tracked.
  • Some LMA members are already participating including Shaw Suburban Media. A live example was demonstrated at Shaw’s Newton Daily News. www.newtondailynews.com. Click through top story to see an example of a survey.
  • Explore this opportunity at the Consumer Survey home page at https://google.com/insights/consumersurveys/home

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New Category of Membership for Research & Development Partners Tops the List of Changes

A series of bylaws changes were recommended by the Local Media Association's board of directors recently and the membership voted unanimously to approve all of the changes.

Most of the changes that were recommended involved replacing outdated language and also changing language to reflect the new name (On January 1, 2012 the organization changed its name from Suburban Newspapers of America to Local Media Association). Other changes included the right for the immediate past chairman to be a voting member of the board (previously an ex-officio, non-voting member) and a quorum of 30% for future bylaws changes (the previous version did not establish a quorum).

The biggest and most exciting change was the creation of a new class of membership called R&D partners (Research & Development Partners). This class provides a higher level option for those that provide goods and services to the industry. The new class comes with voting rights and the ability to serve on the board of directors. The changes also allow two associate or R&D members to serve on the board at any given time as opposed to just one in the prior version.

"Our associate members have always been an important part of our membership" said Nancy Lane, president, Local Media Association. "Some of them want to play a bigger role with our association and we welcome that. This new level of membership will allow them to do that and will provide increased benefits to them. We especially like the term 'R&D partner' as this more accurately reflects their important role in the local media industry."

Gordon Borrell photo
Gordon Borrell

Matt Coen

Currently Gordon Borrell, CEO, Borrell Associates serves on the Local Media Association board and is in fact moving into the chairs and will eventually become chairman of the board in 2015. This fall Matt Coen, CEO, Second Street Media will join the board as the second associate/R&D member. "Gordon's contributions have been significant" said Lane, "He brings a different and welcomed perspective to our meetings and helps us in ways that are different from our newspaper board members. We think that Matt will also strengthen our board and help us in our efforts to innovate, educate and inspire the industry during this time of great transition."

Note that the bylaws changes did not include any revisions to membership requirements for newspaper members. The Local Media Association board of directors continues to meet with members and host two-way discussions to better understand their position. The board does expect to recommend further changes to at least address the treatment of online-only members and to possibly expand beyond that. The board welcomes the input of all members. Send comments to board chairman Jon Rust at jrust@semissourian.com.

For more information about the R&D class of membership, contact Al Cupo at (215) 256-6801 or al.cupo@localmedia.org, or Deanna Lewis at (207) 384-5022 or deanna.lewis@localmedia.org.

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Local Media Association’s highest individual honor salutes leadership, innovation and achievement.
Betty Carr photo
Betty Carr

From a humble start as a part timer in the classified department of Oshawa This Week, Betty Carr forged an outstandingly successful decades-long career in the community newspaper industry. Now, capping off her professional career from which she just recently retired, Carr has been selected to receive the Local Media Association 2012 Dean S. Lesher Award. In recognition of her outstanding contributions to her company, community and the local newspaper industry at large, Carr has been resoundingly chosen for this lifetime achievement award, LMA’s highest honor. It is bestowed annually on an individual who has enhanced the industry through leadership, innovation and achievement of excellence in both their company and community.

In honoring Carr, who retired from her position as vice president of Metroland Media Group’s Toronto division and publisher of Toronto Community News in the spring, LMA is saluting one of the industry’s finest. She has made a vast imprint on the local community newspaper industry, within her company and in her community. According to Peter Haggert, Editor in Chief of Toronto Community News, “(Betty is) someone who fought an uphill battle, took a one-paper publisher's job nobody wanted, and turned it into an incredibly successful franchise of community newspapers in Canada's largest city.”

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Nancy Lane photo
Nancy Lane

By Nancy Lane, president, Local Media Association

Newspaper association managers from the U.S. and Canada, representing 35 different associations, met last week in San Francisco. The group tackled a diverse range of subjects including: understanding what our members want, how to improve conferences, how we can better work together via strategic partnerships and alliances and updates on public notices.

Local Media Association President Nancy Lane led a session on strategic partnerships. At the end, the group brainstormed on many different ways to work together. Ideas include:

  • Working together on grant applications to fund initiatives that would be of value to the industry
  • Work together to help provide digital sales training (and also work with universities to develop programs that would better prepare media sales executives)
  • Putting money into a fund for things like research and a common web site that combined valuable resources (might be $100-$200/month per association)
  • Outsourcing with each others in areas that made sense

"It was refreshing to participate in the NAM conference this year", said Lane, "many of my colleagues in the U.S. and Canada are committed to working together in new and different ways to better serve the industry. I definitely noticed a change from previous years and I think you will start to see many great efforts develop as a result of this gathering."

Lane encourages all Local Media Association members to share their ideas. Let us know what you would like to see in terms of collaboration with other media associations. Lane can be reached at (843) 390-1531 or nancy.lane@localmedia.org.

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The Economy & Mental Health – Top Action Items


By: Nancy Lane, president, Local Media Association

During the final session, attendees split into four groups to discuss the top takeaways and action plans. The groups addressed immediate plans, story ideas, longer-term plans and ways to stay in touch, share and network. The following outlines their top takeaways: 10 stories we can do now:
  • Why can’t we link suicide rate to the economy?
  • How does health care reform affect our communities immediately?
  • First person blog, post or story about what we learned at SRI
  • Talk to employers about why they can’t continue same health care coverage given the health care reform law passage
  • With elections upcoming, ask candidates their views on mental health issues, funding, etc.
  • How are mental health professionals impacted by lower funding, clinics closing, etc.
  • We have a burgeoning mental health crisis. Who’s there to take care of us?
  • Talk to people who have received treatment
  • Q&A with mental health practitioners
  • Interview HR people on how they handle lay-offs, pay cuts – is there a safety net or do you just hand the employee a box and tell them to clear out their desk?

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Alex Richards, Staff Writer, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL

By: Nancy Lane, president, Local Media Association

Numbers and Databases – How to Find Them, Use Them, Read Them & Interpret Them. Alex Richards, Staff Writer, Chicago Tribune

2 great tools from Google that he recommends:
  • Google "Refine" - great tool for dealing with dirty data (standardizing names/places). Works in web browser.
  • Google's "Fusion Tables" lowers the barrier to entry for data exploration/analysis. Map data/visualize in charts.

Economic data sources that can provide great information for local markets:
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis
  • PUMS- public use microdata sample

What to ask for:
Data that gets at the strain on families, the fiscal strife that is a source of emotional disruption – the effects of a weak economy.
  • Foreclosures, various liens, notices of default (local property assessor and/or recorder)
  • Bankruptcy filings (court system)
  • Migration patterns (IRS, census)
  • Unexcused absences, removals from school (local districts, state education agencies)
  • Utilization of public safety nets like SNAP, TANF, job retraining, shelters and food banks
  • Prevalence of suicide, where more recent information can come directly from your coroner or medical examiner

Other signs of a stuttering economy:
  • State/local sales tax revenues
  • New weekly unemployment claims (DOL, state)
  • Mass layoff trends in your state (DOL)
  • New business licenses, home starts

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Tom Koetting, Deputy Managing Editor, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Milwaukee, WI

By Nancy Lane, president, Local Media Association

Managing Yourself & Your Newsroom - Thomas Koetting, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Start with a question you can't answer. Then start digging and see where it takes you. It can be small - actually small is often better. Don't write about nouns - prisons, hospitals, empty homes. And remember, as you mine data, use volume to tell broad stories, individual cases to give color and personal touch." 

Ideas:

  • Read the paper. Read web sites. Read bloggers. Read. Yes really.
  • Step back and ask the big questions, then narrow them.
  • Trust your life experiences.
  • Solicit from readers online. 

Launch Meetings:

  • Everyone from other departments involved
  • Show pre-reporting, sources
  • What is the nut graph? The point of view? The question that you are answering?
  • What is the worst case scenario of reporting? Is that good enough?
  • What CAR work is needed?
  • What multimedia ideas are possible?
  • What time is needed?
  • Presentation pitfalls - get out in front of them.

"Give yourself and others permission to have lousy ideas. Think counter-intuitively. Question the most obvious things. But most of all, come to some sense of agreement so that you can refer back to this meeting in the days ahead when people get lost or go astray. Think about developing two tracks of reporting - one for dailies, one for longer form work. Every week, see how the longer form work has progressed - if at all."

Thanks to the McCormick Foundation for sponsoring this two-day reporting symposium.

 

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By Nancy Lane, president, Local Media Association

Steve Moore, Illinois Chapter Board Member, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Chicago, IL

Suicide & The Economic Downturn


Steve Moore, Board Member, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, delivered one of the most powerful presentations of the entire symposium. He shared intimate details about the death of his college-age son and urged reporters to be responsible when reporting on suicides in their communities. 

Moore shared some stats to start the session:


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By Nancy Lane, president, Local Media Association

Community Stress - Budget Cuts & The Quality of Mental Health Services


Story ideas from Marian Frattarola-Saulino, Executive Director, Values Into Action:

  • Group homes have been a failure and now serve as "mini institutions". Find out what group homes exist in your community and start asking questions about the funding, success stories, problems, etc. 
  • Look to grassroots organizations for access to people that are affected by intellectual disabilities to tell their stories (they are far more likely to give you access - these might be autism or cerebral palsy support groups for example). Report on success stories in addition to problem areas.
  • Look at non-profits in your community that serve the mental health field and examine their financial reports. Red flags include: too much money being spent on administrative costs or assets like buildings (when the building becomes more important than the services that are being offered). 
  • 9 out of 10 people that experience intellectual disabilities experience abuse (usually from care givers). This is a story that needs to be told so that families can recognize the warning signs and be proactive. Much of the abuse goes unreported.

Saulino challenged the symposium attendees to help enact change in their communities by asking the tough questions, advocating for "people first" when it comes to government funding of mental health services and to forge relationships with a variety of providers in your community including grassroots organizations.

Thanks to the McCormick Foundation for sponsoring this two-day reporting symposium. 

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Kevin Orland, Deputy Leader, Bloomberg News U.S. Consumer Team, Chicago, IL, Tom Contiliano, Chief of Client Relations, Bloomberg News, Washington, DC; Bill Handy, Assistant Professor, Medill School, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL and Conrado “Sluggo” Rigor, Editor/Publisher, Filipino-American Bulletin, Seattle, WA

By Nancy Lane, president, Local Media Association

Bloomberg - Cash Flow Tells the Story

Executives from Bloomberg News presented a session on the economy to SRI attendees in Chicago this morning (The Economy & Mental Health Symposium). Describing himself as a "forensic accountant", Tom Contiliano, chief of client relations for Bloomberg News, shared numerous examples of what to look for when covering companies of any kind (publicly-traded, government and non-profit). 

At the top of the list for Contiliano is cash flow. He encouraged attendees to scrutinize a company's cash flow and especially compare it to prior year. It often is one of the first indicators when something is wrong. Other areas to look at: leadership, revenue, balance sheet and P&L statements. For non-profits, the 990 is the form that should be reviewed (available at IRS.gov or through the company as they are required by law to make them available). 

The Bloomberg executives also encouraged attendees to start with the top five employers in their market and take a deep dive into their financials to better understand the big picture.

Thanks to the McCormick Foundation for sponsoring this two-day reporting symposium. 

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The Economy and Mental Health

Bill Handy photo
Bill Handy

By Nancy Lane, president, Local Media Association
Thanks to a grant from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, 20 journalists were awarded scholarships to attend a two-day specialized reporting institute that takes place today and tomorrow in Chicago at the Sun-Times. The program is being led by Bill Handy, coordinator of Medill's Global Journalism Program (Northwestern University) and assistant  professor. 

The opening session featured feedback from the attendees about the state of mental health and social service programs in their communities. Most of the attendees are sharing stories of dramatic cuts in all areas including women's services, assistance for veterans, mental health programs and more. Attendees are looking forward to learning more during the two days about how to cover these stories in the most effective and ethical way in the communities that they serve. 

Stayed tuned for the key takeaways from this symposium posted live on the Local Media Association web site throughout the next two days.

Thanks to the McCormick Foundation for sponsoring this two-day reporting symposium.

 

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By Tanya Henderson, Local Media Association

NNA Postal Chair, Max Heath spoke yesterday afternoon to Local Media Association members on the “Negotiated Service Agreement” (NSA) that gives Valassis a range of discount pricing from 20-36% for new marriage mail packages.  This agreement is currently under review with the PRC (Postal Regulatory Commission).

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Register now for two half days of FREE sales training July 24 and 25

The Local Media Association virtual conference is two weeks away! Have your staff register now! We have contracted with some of North America's top sales and management trainers to conduct these sessions including:

  • Steve Waterhouse, President, Waterhouse Group & Predictive Results
  • Mike Blinder, President, Blinder Group
  • Kelly Wirges, President and CEO, ProMax Training and Consulting, Inc.
  • Debbi Holzkamp, President and Director of Sales Training, HDS Premier Consulting
  • Renee Ward, Executive Vice President and Director of Sales Training, HDS Premier Consulting
  • Gary Moore, President, Insight Edge, Inc. / Media Sales Pro
  • Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association
  • Shannon Kinney, President, Dream Local Digital

Don't miss this opportunity for free training for your sales executives and management team!


More Information  |  Register Online  |  Agenda

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Enter to Win the Most Prestigious Award of the Year.   Sponsored by Local Media Association

DEADLINE: Friday, July 27, 2012

And so it begins...entries for Local Media Associations most recognized and prestigious contest of the year are now being accepted. The 2012 Newspaper of the Year Contest recognizes a thoughtfully developed style of presentation through editorial content, typography and advertising. This contest addresses just about everything: from headline writing and editorial layout to retail ad copy and news photography...everything is taken into consideration. Show everyone whose publication is the best - enter your newspapers today!

Winning entries will be displayed and award winners recognized at Local Media Associations 2012 Fall Publishers' and Advertising Directors' Conference, September 11-14 at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, Atlanta, Georgia.

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Community Journalists Chosen to Attend Reporting Symposium On Impacts of the Economic Crisis on Mental Health

McCormick Foundation grant covers costs for two days of in-depth training co-hosted by Local Media Association Foundation and Associated Press Media Editors

Community journalists from across North America have been selected to attend a two-day symposium to learn how to report local stories and develop multimedia reporting projects on the impacts of the great recession on mental health.

The symposium, funded by a grant from The McCormick Foundation and co-hosted by Local Media Association (LMA) Foundation and the Association Press Media Editors (APME), is part of McCormick’s Specialized Reporting Institutes program. The training takes place July 16 and 17 in Chicago at the Chicago Sun-Times.

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The 2013 Mega-Conference, sponsored by Local Media Association, SNPA and Inland Press Association will be held in New Orleans, LA in February.

Dates are Feb. 18-20, 2013 at The Roosevelt New Orleans – one week after Mardi Gras.

The successful joint 2012 conference took place in San Antonio, Texas.  More than 400 attendees gathered to hear "Transformation Through Innovation," the conference theme. Highlights included sessions on Daily Deals; Developing an In-House Digital Ad Agency and a rousing keynote by Kirk Davis, President and COO of GateHouse Media titled: Leadership, Change Management and Repositioning for Growth.

Additional information will be announced soon.

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Webinars include pre-conference update from national advertisers; important information regarding USPS and Valassis and free Virtual Ad Conference (6 webinars)

Local Media Association has now posted the third quarter webinars and has confirmed many speakers including:

* Zach Ahrens, Ad Director, Grand Forks Herald who will be speaking on going from successful print to successful digital sales.  Webinar will be held Tuesday, July 10th at 3:00 PM ET.
* Max Heath, Postal Consultant, NNA, who will bring members up to date on the current Valassis and USPS issue.  Webinar will take place on Wednesday, July 11th at 1:00 PM ET
* Matt Spahn, Founder & CEO, Planitretail LLC; Bridgit Wallace, Director, Buying, Novus Media, Inc. (and others TBA) will give information to members in order to prepare for one-on-one meetings in Atlanta at the Fall Publishers’ and Advertising Directors’ Conference.   Webinar will take place on Thursday, August 9th at 3:00 PM ET
* Rebecca Capparelli, Director of Sales Training and Development, GateHouse Media will present on their successful Block & Prospect program.  Webinar is Thursday, August 23rd at 3:00 PM ET.
* Kurt Sima, VP/Sr. Consultant, The Center for Sales Strategy will discuss “The Digital What and Why”.  Webinar will take place on Thursday, September 27th at 3:00 PM ET.

For a complete list of free member, IMA and LMIA webinars, visit this link:

http://www.localmedia.org/Webinars/UpcomingWebinars.aspx

Also, don’t forget the free Virtual Ad Conference taking place July 24 and 25.  This is a series of free webinars for Local Media Association members focusing on sales (Day 1) and management (Day 2).  Visit this link for more information:

http://www.localmedia.org/Conferences/VirtualAdConference.aspx

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Publisher Jason Taylor revs up the crowd during the KidzExpo

$2.5 million generated in the past three years

By Tanya Henderson, Local Media Association

When you listen to Lyndsi Sebastian and Angela Doggett from the Chattanooga Times Free Press talk about their events, you realize they are old pros. Sebastian and Doggett joined Shannon Kinney, author of the LMIA report on Event Marketing for a webinar that showcased the details of planning and executing local events.

From expos to community banquets, the Times Free Press puts on an event like no other by leveraging their strengths.  As Kinney mentioned “no one else could put on an event of this caliber.”  With more than 10,000 in attendance for their recent Kidz Expo, who says newspapers are dying? 

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Local Media Association’s Interactive Media Alliance (IMA) is an industry-wide initiative dedicated to providing members with timely information concerning all aspects of online publishing including content development, technical updates and advertising opportunities. The Interactive Media Alliance consists of publishers, editors, IT directors, new media developers and advertising personnel.

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Now Available for purchase for only $259

We are pleased to announce the June Local Media Innovation Alliance report: 360° Advertising Sales Strategies, is now available for purchase. This month’s report features the top takeaways from the recent WAN-IFRA study tour that focused on 360° advertising sales strategies. Nancy Lane, President Local Media Association, attended this event along with Local Media Foundation Chairman of the Board Steve Parker. Both returned inspired and eager to share our learnings with the industry.

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2 Days of Sales Training from North America’s Leading Media Trainers!

Local Media Association is adding a new member benefit this year. We understand that times are still tough and that training dollars are few and far between for many companies. We have responded to this reality by creating a two-day virtual advertising conference. Non-members and association partners are welcome to register for this event; one and two-day rates are available.

This new event features two half-day sessions focusing on sales and management. All employees from LMA member companies are invited to join.

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By Tanya Henderson, Advertising & Membership Relations Director

That’s exactly what John Kimball of The John Kimball Group recommends when putting together a plan to tackle political advertising.  And, no, John is not suggesting self–reflection here, but rather looking within your own company for those that have a passion and understanding of politics.

Having that champion along with clear, concise packaging and a bit of research can put you on the right track.   Kimball along with Tom Edmonds of Edmonds Associates and Kip Cassino of Borrell Associates says there a large number of funds available in this blockbuster political year. Or as Cassino refers to it: “The Flood of 2012.”

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Take advantage of our early bird rates and save $100 on each registration!

November 7 - Digital Agency One-Day Summit – NEW

November 8 - Deals & Promotions One-Day Summit - Co-Sponsored by Second Street

November 7-9 - Classified Multimedia Conference

We are excited to offer three terrific programs this November at the Sheraton Chicago O'Hare Airport Hotel. Save $100 on each registration when you register early.

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By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association


The final meeting during last week’s West Coast Innovation Mission was a two-hour exchange to share top takeaways from the trip and to develop a list of follow up items.

Top Takeaways included:
  • Google surveys: at least eight of the attendees were going to sign up right away to start using this revenue-producing product (click here more details)
  • Almost everyone in the group is going to identity the hottest opportunities in their market using the Borrell Compass report when they get home and then develop plans to exploit them.
  • Many are going to launch digital agency services in the very near future.
  • All are going to consider strategic partnerships. As one attendee said, “we are the pretty girl at the dance right now, everyone wants to dance with us”. For many, the Google opportunities were of great interest.
  • Several are going to certify their sales team to sell Google AdWords.
  • The group thinks that we need to come together more as an industry and work together on more projects.
  • Many want to incorporate e-commerce strategies beyond deals as a result of what they learned from fellow attendee Eric Bright from Deseret Digital.
  • Many are going to make changes to their culture as a result of attending the meetings with Google and Fisher. They liked the cohesive team atmosphere at Fisher and the TGIF meetings at Google in particular.
  • “Show print some love.” There needs to be more of a balance and we need to innovate on the print side too (message came from three different presentations).
  • Most are going to step up their social strategies on both the audience and advertising side.
The full report, complete with all of the top takeaways will be available in the next few weeks. Contact Tanya Henderson to order your copy (tanya.henderson@localmedia.org).

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Adam Burnham, Digital First

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

Journal Register Company is now in the very top tier when it comes to percent of total advertising coming from digital, surpassing even the McClatchy Company's impressive 22%. This has happened in a short time (less than three years) since John Paton declared that the company would follow a "digital-first" strategy.

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By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

Innovation Mission attendees are visiting Google’s world headquarters today in Sunnyvale, Ca. In addition to the many media partnership opportunities, attendees also wanted to learn about the tremendous culture of innovation that exists. Chris Connelly from Google’s “People Operations” provided an inspiring session to open the day.

When the company went public in 2004, Google’s founder proclaimed “We are not a conventional company. We do not intend to become one." The company grew from 3,000 to 33,000 employees since that time and they have been successful at maintaining an enviable culture that is based on freedom, teamwork and idea sharing.

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Attendees from the West Coast Innovation Mission have been asked to provide some of their top takeaways and thoughts on what they’ve experienced during this week-long innovation tour.

Dan Easton photo
Dan Easton

From Dan Easton, Co-Publisher, Victoria Advocate

  • Need to look at social channels beyond Facebook and Twitter.
  • Focus on what video content works online - not all of it works, and it's relatively costly to do.
  • Display real-time analytics in the newsroom to provide immediate feedback on what is driving traffic.
Joe Boydston photo
Joe Boydston

From Joe Boydston, Vice President of Technology and New Media, Daily Republic

  • Wikipedia: Innovation is the process of making improvements to something established by introducing something better and, as a consequence, new.
  • AT&T holdings delivers on this by combining its technology, brand and business model based on scarcity.
  • The take away for me was inspired by a comment by @cleepost : we need to determine if it makes sense for us to pursue a partnership that provides lower net, but higher margin products. Does this compliment or distract from our goals?
  • AT&T technology and positioning is compelling. My question is : Does a national directory offering add durable value to our brand?

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Nick Burgoyne, Executive Director, Business Development, YP .com pictured with Ben Shaw, Chief Digital Officer, Shaw Suburban Media


By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

 

The West Coast Innovation Mission attendees spent the morning visiting with senior executives from YP.com, formerly AT&T Interactive. Their company sells over $1 billion dollars in digital revenue on their 170 online and mobile sites and apps. They have 75 million monthly uniques on YP.com and users conduct over 2 billion annual searches.

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Highly Innovative Team at Black Press

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

The Innovation Mission spent most of the day on Tuesday visiting with top executives from Black Press's Canadian division. This highly innovative company makes no apologies for the value that they put on print. They shared their top revenue ideas (both print and digital) and hosted an inspiring day. Highlights from the visit include:

• President & COO Rick O'Connor told the group " we are not in the digital advertising agency business -it’s a distraction that we don’t need”

• They purchased a site a few years ago: Usedeverywhere.ca that now boasts 1.3 million UV’s per month and rivals Kijiji and Craigslist. It is a free classified site that makes money via upsells, banners, sponsorships and affiliate programs. Visit www.usedvictoria.ca for an example. All of the sites are localized by town. This is a very successful digital product for them. 

• Events are huge for them, especially those focused on community leaders. A new one, "100 most influential people" is also driving a lot of revenue. 

• Contests are also huge for them. Recent ones include: "Win a Sick Civic" and "The Intern" (similar to The Apprentice)

• Their guiding principle: “The customer is the center of our focus”

• Eight free dailies that were launched a few years ago are doing very well, especially in suburban markets

• They instituted pay walls (they don't like that term - they call them e-subscriptions) for all of their paid products and in many cases the print circulation also increased as a result. They do NOT use the metered pay wall approach - it is "cold turkey". 

 

Next up: AT&T Interactive and Using Borrell Compass Reports to Drive Revenue

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Dave Schmall, Director of Digital Development, Swift Communications; Emily Walsh-Parry, MultiMedia Publisher, The Observer Group with Ioana Straeter, Executive Director, WAN-IFRA.

IM West attendees on the start of a week-long tour of innovation!


Travis Mayfield From Fisher Communications delivering a very passionate session on audience development and using tools of social media.

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by Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

Session two at Fisher Communications focused on content strategies. Their mantra is "original, unique, shareable".

Highlights include:

They are agnostic and will put their content anywhere (like pinterest for example)

They suggest adding photos to your Facebook postings; will result in more shares, likes and views.

"Time wasters are OK too". Some of their most viewed stories are just interesting (and may not even be tied to the local market. Example: Dick Clark's Flintstones style house for sale).

They provided iPhones to all of their field crews (over 150 company wide) to send in photos and videos. After massive training (how to use the iPhone), it "just took off". Training was critical.

Another mantra that they preach: "the biggest driver of new audience is the audience that we already have".

They credit "real time analytics from Google" for helping with the culture change in the newsroom (showing which stories are getting the most views).

Stay tuned for more updates throughout the day.

 

Full Article | Comments (16)

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

 

Innovation Mission attendees are spending much of today at Fisher Communications in Seattle. This highly innovative media company owns over 125 local web sites and 13 TV stations in the Pacific Northwest.

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Pictured from left:  Samantha Johnston, Executive Director, Colorado Press Association; Kimberly Wilson, President and Publisher,  Schurz Communications/The South Bend Tribune; Susan Cantrell, Vice President, Sales and Advertising, Lawrence Journal-World and Eric Bright, Vice President of E-Commerce, Deseret Digital Media

 

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association


The Local Media Innovation Mission officially kicked off yesterday in Seattle with twenty senior level local media executives. Afternoon sessions featured key takeaways from the recent WAN-IFRA study tour and World Advertising Conference presented by Local Media Association president Nancy Lane and WAN-IFRA Executive Director, Publishing and Advertising, Ioana Strater.

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The Local Media Innovation Alliance April Report, SoLoMo, is a fascinating case study coming out of Morris Communications. 

SoLoMo stands for Social, Local, Mobile - and it is getting a lot of attention these days. Our report author Shannon Kinney spent a few days with the team in Savannah, GA, to understand it better and participate in related advertiser workshops.

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What is the magic number when it comes to digital sales reps? That was the big question during Local Media Association’s webinar with Borrell Associates titled:  Assessing Local Digital Sales Forces.  During the webinar Pete Conti, Executive Vice President, answered the question and presented some interesting statistics.

* There are some 80,000+  local account executives (24K+ in Newspapers; 16k+ in Radio; 15k+ in Directories; and 7k+ in TV and Pureplay)
* The percentage of local account executives selling digital (85% in Newspapers; 80% in Directories; 75% in TV and 25% in Radio)
* Newspapers have a higher percentage of dedicated digital reps (more than TV  and Radio)

So how many reps do you need?  In many cases just having one dedicated person selling digital can make a huge difference.  When asked, Conti said that on average, one dedicated digital sales rep can bring in between $175-$200,000.

Starting salaries for digital account executives average $44,000; the median is $35,000. To access the full report and receive a discount as an LMA member visit www.borrellassociates.com

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Live from the Local Media Association/Blinder Group/Florida Press Association Revenue Summit

By Al Cupo, Vice President, Local Media Association

From the presentation ‘Boost Your Revenues by Turning-on Your Sales People’
Presented by: Pason Gaddis, President & Group Publisher, Florida Weekly

Pason Gaddis photo
Pason Gaddis

4 Simple Steps to Creating a World Class Team

  1. Culture - Create an entrepreneurial atmosphere.
    • Allow your self-starters to grow.
    • Be a champion of team work.
    • Provide the support necessary for sales staff to be successful.

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Live from the Local Media Association/Blinder Group/Florida Press Association Revenue Summit

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

The Power of Print

Revenue Summit Charter photo
Gareth Charter talking with Thomas Byrd, President/COO, Independent Newsmedia Inc. after his presentation.

Charter kicked off the session with this announcement, "Two of our weeklies just published the largest billing issues in their history. The Landmark - $100,946 and Milbury-Sutton Chronicle - $18,013. Average issue for The Landmark is $20,000."

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Live from the Local Media Association/Blinder Group/Florida Press Association Revenue Summit

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

Bruce Faulmann photo
Bruce Faulmann

From Bruce Faulmann, VP Sales & Marketing, Tampa Bay Times

Seller Comp Plan – Key Performance Indicators: they influence behavior & drive performance. “No more than 5 KPI’s”:

  • They measure active accounts (# per month- ranges from 15 to 40+)
  • New account growth (# per month – ranges from 1 -7)
  • Customer retention – 80% is the goal from month to month (the # that advertised last month that also advertised this month)
  • Revenue diversification – any healthy business does this - % print and % digital/everything else. It is a custom # for each rep.

Performance to budget: 4 KPI’s: +45%; 3 KPI’s: +20%; 2 KPI’s -10%; 1 KPI -20%; 0 KPI -25%. If they miss their budget but make all 4 KPI’s, he pays them $850.

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Live from the Local Media Association/Blinder Group/Florida Press Association Revenue Summit

By Al Cupo, Vice President, Local Media Association

Matt Coen photo
Matt Coen

From the Session ‘Evolving Opportunities with Deals, Promotions and Contests’
Presented by Matt Coen, President, Second Street

Promotions
Online promotions will continue to grow and will outpace other forms of online advertising in the next several years. Promotions are all about the ability for people to interact with businesses in their market; it’s what the advertisers want.

Benefits of a successful online promotion include:

  • Increases awareness / builds audience
  • Generates ad revenue / develops sponsors
  • Collects email addresses / grows user database

Promotion Opportunities to Consider:

  • Sponsored contests (football winner picks, wedding contests, cutest kids, pizza payoff, lucky dog photos, etc).
  • Client-centric agency contests tied to advertisers’ Facebook pages. The local publication makes these contests work by providing a turnkey program to individual businesses that includes design, promotion and tracking services.

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Live from the Local Media Association/Blinder Group/Florida Press Association Revenue Summit

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

Revenue Summit Attendees photo

At the start of the second day, Mike Blinder asked attendees to share their top take aways/action items from the first day. More than 20 hands shot up immediately to share with the group. In no particular order, these were the top ones:

  1. Start a new business development team and hire hunters (many mentioned this in reference to Chris Edward's presentation from Cedar Rapids - featured yesterday on this site)
  2. Have your sales reps collect video testimonials from their clients and share them at the weekly sales meeting. This came from Jim Doyle's "8 to be Great". Jim is the top sales trainer to the TV industry.
  3. Many liked the iPad app that Brainworks showcased during the working lunch. It is designed for sales reps and features a location-based map that shows them businesses in the area that are and are not advertising with the paper. Helps with prospecting while on the road.
  4. Big format banner ads coming out of Europe (from Nancy Lane's presentation on WAN-IFRA study tour) - many are eager to experiment with them
  5. Add more digital expertise to their team (came from several presentations)
  6. Have the sales team write their own job descriptions and work with each rep on a new business development plan
  7. Getting back to sales basics with the account executives (attendees expressed their plans in a number of ways)

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Live from the Local Media Association/Blinder Group/Florida Press Association Revenue Summit

Session Focused on 8 Hot Trends from Recent WAN-IFRA tour

Nancy Lane photo
Nancy Lane

Revenue Summit attendees were intrigued and inspired by some of the top trends coming out of the most innovative media houses in Europe. Lane's top takeaways included:

  1. Multi-Channel Offerings are the Norm
  2. European Media Houses Are Making Huge Investments in Mobile & Tablets
  3. Sales Structure – Digital Experts Support Sales Teams
  4. Home Page Rules – Beautiful Design; Impressive Revenue Results
  5. Editorial Supports 360 Advertising Strategies
  6. Social Strategies Focus on Facebook
  7. Print is Important; Leverage It to Grow Digital
  8. Increased Investment in Video or “TV”

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Live from the Local Media Association/Blinder Group/Florida Press Association Revenue Summit

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

Chris Edwards photo
Chris Edwards

From Chris Edwards, VP Sales/Customer Care, SourceMedia (Cedar Rapids, IA - newspaper and broadcast brands)

New Business Development Team formed in early 2011:

  • Prospect and sell non-customers only
  • Transition new accounts to the legacy teams
  • Work as a “hit squad” for projects, new markets and new product launches

The Good:

  • Drove an average of 11 new clients per month; 27% bought multiple products
  • Created better working relationships between the teams (legacy reps started asking for their help on sales calls)
  • Special section revenue was up in every pub
  • Vendor tab revenue was up
  • Created a pub designed to re-introduce them to surrounding small markets
  • Provided the best feedback on new products
  • Cross Roads – small town focus on fringe of circ area went from $2,500 to over $50,000 in advertising revenue; these areas also did over $20,000 in net “deals” revenue in 2011
  • 64% of deals revenue was sold by new biz reps (they declared no account protection for daily deals when it started to get tough to fill the pipeline). Gary’s Food was the 2nd largest deal in Second Street’s network at the time (small grocer) that grossed $97,000. Legacy reps started teaming up with new biz reps on deals and splitting commissions.

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Live from the Local Media Association/Blinder Group/Florida Press Association Revenue Summit

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

Steve Waterhouse photo
Steve Waterhouse

From the keynote address:
Turbo Charge Your Sales Team: How to Get the Best Out of Your Sales People
Presented by: Steve Waterhouse
, President, Waterhouse Group & Predictive Results

Actions of winners:

  • Winners do the right thing.
  • Winners have a plan (ask your sales reps to show you their plan for the week – if they don’t, send them home to develop their plan and tell them to come back the next morning).
  • Winners follow the plan; they don’t deviate from the plan. Think about the french fry maker at McDonalds. How many times do they get to burn the fries before they lose their job? Why is it different in our industry?
  • Winning companies train the plan (Applebees example for wait staff – 2 weeks learning the menu/process and then a week to shadow another waiter. Why would our industry settle for less training?).

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Live from the WAN-IFRA Study Tour

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

WAN-IFRAl photo
Study tour participants representing 9 countries and 4 continents visited with 15 different companies in Europe over 5 days to learn best practices in 360 advertising sales strategies.

Separation between advertising and editorial is extremely important in the U.K. but the two departments have found a way to work together when it comes to 360 selling strategies. Consider these two case studies:

From The Telegraph:

  • Telegraph Create was developed to produce multi-media, non-standard campaigns for advertisers. Two-three years later, the team consists of 50 FTE's and is the fastest growing segment of their business (growing at 20-30% per year).
  • Telegraph Create is "where brands, content and consumers meet"

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Live from the WAN-IFRA Study Tour

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

WAN-IFRA Google photo

The WAN-IFRA study tour met with top executives from Google's Paris office yesterday to learn more about the various media partnership opportunities available. Much of the discussion focused on Google Currents.

Highlights of Google Currents product:

  • Currents takes feeds from publishers and presents the content in an easy to consume way (like a magazine)
  • They said to view this product as "in between your web site and app"
  • They view Currents as less restrictive and less expensive than news reading applications (Currents is offered for free; an Apple app can cost as much as $10,000)

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Live from the WAN-IFRA Study Tour

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

WAN-IFRA France photo

The study tour hit Paris yesterday and included visits with three of the largest media houses (Le Figaro, Le Monde and 20 Minutes). In this highly competitive market we witnessed tremendous innovation.

Highlights include:

  • Digital accounts for 23% of total ad revenue at the two paid dailies and 10% at 20 Minutes.
  • All three just launched a social reader app on Facebook. They are able to monetize this by selling 2 premium spots (and keeping 100% of the revenue).
  • A great deal of attention is paid to the home page of their web sites. Be sure to check them out (www.lefigaro.fr, www.lemonde.fr and www.20minutes.fr). They feature beautiful design with each taking a different approach.
  • All are making mobile a major priority and some are seeing as much of 50% of their traffic on mobile devices and tablets.

Stay tuned for more highlights soon.

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Live from the WAN-IFRA Study Tour

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

From a fascinating presentation - Artur Kobryn, Managing Partner & Head of International, MediaCom International

MediaCom is a global agency with offices all over the world. They are number one in Germany and the U.K. and number three in the world. WPP is the parent company. Clients include: P&G, Universal Studios, Ikea, Bayer and many others. Kobryn addressed the changing media landscape:

  • Media fragmentation is not new and in fact, digitalization is increasing media consumption.
  • His advice to the industry, "stop talking about digital media - it is simply media". He reminded us that no one says "color TV" anymore.
  • The tablet is "the next best thing" -plan accordingly. "The world has turned into a screen." Print will stay relevant but will be adapted to tablets in the future.
  • According to Kobryn, free is the wrong model online. "Why give valuable content for free?"
  • Core challenge today is to create relevance for their clients. Advertisers are not interested in click through rates.

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Live from the WAN-IFRA Study Tour

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

Highlights from visit with Axel Springer, Germany's largest media house:

  • They sell a lot of full page takeovers on their website. They sell this at a premium ($100,000 Euros/day across all sites) and they sell out every day.
  • Branding and performance campaigns are designed to significantly increase click conversion rates.
  • All of their products are available on mobile versions. They sell takeover and flip ads on the mobile home pages. The iPad is also very important and they have versions created specifically for tablets.
  • Mobile is still single digits but it is growing. They believe that "you must have state of the art opportunities on your mobile devices."

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September 11-14, 2012 – Sheraton Atlanta Hotel

The Future is Local
Disruption Presents Opportunities; Plan Now for the Long Term

An unbelievable program has been developed for this year's annual gathering of publishers and advertising directors. "It's simply our best program yet", said Nancy Lane, president, Local Media Association, "a must-attend for sure." Conference Chair Jennifer Parker (publisher & editor of CrossRoadsNews) added, "Participants will find long term solutions to grow their print, online and mobile business, and get to hear directly from publishers who are having successes right now." and committee member Pete Bakke (Director Digital Media, Wick Communications) said, "Terrific program. I sure would like to be in two places at once and attend every breakout session. They all sound great." The entire all-star committee is very excited about the program (see program for complete list).

More than two dozen media buyers have been invited to participate in the one-on-one meetings and already many of them have confirmed including representatives from Staples, Centro, Geomentum, Vertis/Lowes, Alloy Media, planitretail, Valassis & more. As always, these meetings are scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis in order of when the conference registrations are received so register early and let HQ know of your intention to participate (email your meeting preferences to hq@localmedia.org).

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Live from the WAN-IFRA Study Tour

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

WAN-IFRA Uppsala photo
Study tour participants with Uppsala Nya Tidning Vice President of Sales & Marketing Theo Blanco. Fifth from left is Local Media Foundation Board Chair Steve Parker.

Uppsala Nya Tidning serves the university town of Uppsala located one hour from Stockholm. Their daily has a circulation of approximately 57,000. Highlights from this very interesting visit with Theo Blanco, VP Sales & Marketing:

  • Sales reps are not allowed to sell less than 3 products.
  • They developed an in-house agency called UNiT. Product offerings include web development, mobile, TV, competitive media & more.

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Live from the WAN-IFRA Study Tour

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

From meeting with Anders Berglund, Sales Director, Aftonbladet (Stockholm, Sweden)

Fascinating visit with Sweden's largest media house. Headlines include:

  • Mobile will represent $6 - $10 million Euro this year. It is "no longer a small business for us."
  • A few years ago the transformation was from print to online; today it is online to mobile.
  • Aftonbladet.se has 4 M UV; mobile site is 1.8 M UV. Some early mornings and late evenings they have more visitors to their mobile site than desktop.
  • 2012 will be the first year that online revenue will surpass print for them ($50 million Euro in online; $45 M Euro in print).

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Mobile Strategies Report

"A new disruptor is about to wreak havoc... and that disruptor is mobile." ~ Gordon Borrell, CEO, Borrell Associates

The latest Local Media Innovation Alliance (LMIA) report examines a number of mobile strategies being employed by local media companies. These companies are all dedicating significant internal resources to launch a mobile strategy with the understanding that the payoff/ROI will not be immediate. They are viewing this strategy as an investment in their future.

This is a great report that contains 22 pages of case study information.

A corresponding webinar is planned for May 1, 2012, at 11:00 am ET. This is an opportunity to ask specific questions and learn more about from the companies profiled in the report.

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Who says print is losing ground? At 160 pages The Landmark surely isn’t. This is the largest issue in the history of this paid circulation weekly newspaper in the Worcester, Massachusetts area. The issue included a 32-page “Hey Kids” section focused on area family activities.

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20 SCHOLARSHIPS FOR COMMUNITY JOURNALISTS TO BE AWARDED

All costs covered to attend this specialized two-day symposium in Chicago

The LMA Foundation and the Associated Press Media Editors have been awarded a McCormick Foundation grant to conduct a special two-day symposium to educate community journalists on how to uncover local stories on the impacts of the current economic crisis on the mental health of North American families and their communities.

The symposium will take a deep dive into this subject and will feature top speakers from the academic world, as well as journalists who cover highly-specialized aspects of this topic. The ultimate goal is to provide scholarship recipients with a host of tools and information to better cover the topic at a local level in their communities. Follow-up webinars with symposium attendees will also be part of this comprehensive learning experience.

Scholarship applications are due by April 20; click here to access the application form. The symposium takes place July 16 - 17 in Chicago (air, hotel and meals are included). Special thanks to the Sun-Times Media Group for hosting this event.

Editors and reporters are eligible to apply. Special consideration will be given to those who are in a position to drive the coverage of this topic at their newspaper. Depending on the size of the paper, this may be the editor, an assignment editor or a reporter. These scholarships are only being awarded to community journalists who work at daily newspapers with a circulation of 100,000 or less or for weekly newspapers. A number of slots have been reserved for weekly newspaper editors and for smaller dailies under 10,000 circulation. The goal is to have a diverse audience.

For more information, click here.

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Recognizing that collaboration in the industry has never been more important, the California Newspaper Publishers Association (CNPA) has joined forces with the Local Media Association (formerly Suburban Newspapers of America) to offer certain products and services to their members for reduced fees and a revenue-share.

Starting now, members of CNPA will be able to participate in the following Local Media Association programs at reduced rates (lower than non-member rates):

  • Sales certification program (a joint venture between Local Media Association, Borrell Associates and Motivate America) – a true certification program that features web-based modules and a test that requires a 90% grade or higher
  • Local Media Innovation Alliance – a monthly research club that focuses on emerging trends, sustainable business models and digital revenue growth. The LMIA produces a monthly report in a case study format and includes a webinar with representatives from the featured companies. Topics include: Digital Agency, Daily Deals 2.0, Using Open Source Software, Social Strategies, Event Marketing & more.
  • Webinars – a diverse mix of training and educational webinars, including many with a revenue-growth focus.
  • Conferences – access to Local Media Association conferences and events

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Mike Blinder photo
Mike Blinder
Jim Doyle photo
Jim Doyle
Kevin McCrudden photo
Kevin McCrudden
Steve Waterhouse photo
Steve Waterhouse

All you need is three days in Tampa, Florida to jump-start your sales and increase revenue. Join media colleagues during this highly anticipated revenue summit taking place May 9-11. The summit, brought to you by The Blinder Group, Local Media Association and Florida Press Association is geared to showcase new and substantial revenue streams and best practices from a diverse mix of local media companies. Designed for senior level managers and executives focusing on local SMBs, you won’t be disappointed with the top level speakers and published authors/trainers at this event including:

  • Mike Blinder, President of The Blinder Group and author of Survival Selling
  • Jim Doyle, President of Jim Doyle and Associates and author of Just Don’t Make A Sale, Make A Difference
  • Kevin L. McCrudden, President of Motivate America and author of U – Who Are U?
  • Steve Waterhouse, Founder and CEO of Waterhouse Group and author of The Team Selling Solution and Ending the Blame Game: 20 Rules to Live By

Revenue sessions include:

  • Turbo-Charge Your Sales Team
  • The Digital Agency/360 Selling
  • Evolving Opportunities with Promotions, Daily Deals, & Contests
  • Streamline the Sales Process & Watch Your Revenue Grow
  • SMBs - Are you Aggressively Pursuing these Local Dollars?
  • Plus - Many More Revenue Generating Ideas!

Click here for more information and to register

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Al Cupo, Vice President, Local Media Association

An Outsider’s View of Gannett, Now from the Inside


This morning, Maryam Banikarim, CMO, Gannett Corp Inc., shared nine rules for media in a world that has gone local:

  1. News Comes from Anywhere
    Bloggers, social sites, user generated content, etc. Use all available sources when covering the local market.
  2. Interns are the New Boss
    Senior executives should always be listening to new hires and interns. Gannett has seen great success with their ‘New Talent Development’ program.
  3. Relevance Over Rules
    Serve your audience the way they want to be served regardless of what has been standard operating procedure in the past.
  4. Don’t Be Afraid to Share the Process
    Let people know where you are when breaking a story – update frequently and be transparent throughout the process.

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By Al Cupo

Deseret Digital Media:
The Anatomy of Transformation


Presented by Clark Gilbert, CEO; Chris Lee, VP, Digital Products; Mike Petroff, COO; Eric Bright, VP, E-commerce; Todd Handy, VP, New Media Sales; and Dale Darling, VP, Digital Direct Sales

In a one-hour plus presentation titled The Anatomy of Transformation, the panel of Deseret Digital Media executives discussed seven big ideas currently underway at Deseret Digital Media.

Gilbert and Lee covered the first two ideas related to content innovation: differentiate content and publish digital-only content.

Gilbert noted that in the past, publishers were comfortable providing content for everyone, but now they ask the question, "What can we be the best at in the world?" That question resulted in Deseret identifying six areas of content related to faith- and family-oriented issues that drives their editorial content. According to Lee, this approach has grown both reach and audience.

They also rely heavily on remote contributors through their Deseret Connect program. This user-generated initiative now has more than 2,000 contributors who are only paid if the story appears in print – meaning all digital content is submitted voluntarily and without compensation. Money does not drive the content contributors to submit content; instead, they appreciate the recognition and feedback they receive.

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By Nancy Lane, president, Local Media Association

Gordon Borrell photo
Gordon Borrell

From Gordon Borrell's opening remarks:

  • $96 billion is the forecast for local ad spending in 2012 – will be $106 billion in 2016; still not back to 2008 levels of $108 billion.
  • Promotions – “that’s where the money is” – Gordon Borrell. Couponing is driving this. Online just became the # 1 source for coupons (12-14% share) in many markets.
  • Media share – mobile is going to skyrocket in next 3-4 years; online is going to dip. By 2016 88% of all local online advertising will be delivered on a mobile device.
  • Local online will show strong growth this year and for the next few years.
  • Change in local online ad formats – targeted display will skyrocket (+800+% by 2016); streaming video will also be up. Untargeted display and paid search will be down.
  • By 2013, online will become #1 category of advertising – surpassing newspapers for the first time.
  • In 2011, traditional local media companies controlled 91% of all advertising, including half of all locally spent online advertising.

Everyone is encouraged to join the Borrell group on linkedin – go to Local Advertising & Marketing Trends to join.

Looking forward:

  • Bloodletting is over for (most) newspapers
  • Yellow pages faces slow motion demise
  • Direct mail entering the “perfect storm”
  • A new disruptor is about to wreak havoc (mobile)
  • Medium companies are shrinking (not newspapers, radio, etc.)
  • Media companies are going to morph and move forward

Be sure to check back often as Nancy Lane and Al Cupo will be providing updates from this very exciting conference.

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If you said newspapers, you are wrong. As Gordon Borrell of Borrell Associates pointed out on a recent webinar “The Quiet Revolution Reshaping Local Media” it is not newspapers or yellow pages or even television, it’s digital since all of those mediums employ digital. According to Borrell singular “medium” companies will begin to shrink in the future and media companies will morph and survive. “New media peels off growth from older media and never kills off its primary competitor.”

Newspapers do currently have the top share of advertising but that will soon change. By 2016 Borrell predicts that online will dominate with 29% share and newspapers will be second with 21%.

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Local Media Association members have the opportunity to register for Friday’s webinar being conducted by The Center for Sales Strategy in conjunction with CNPA (California Newspaper Publishers Association). The webinar is 30 minutes in length and is open to the first 500 members that register from Local Media Association and CNPA.

Kurt Sima, a VP/Sr. Consultant at the Center for Sales Strategy (CSS) will host How to Build Proposals that Close. Kurt works with newspapers to increase revenue by improving salespeople’s focus and expertise.

Click here to register.

*Please note when making your time choices that the webinar is being conducted in Pacific Standard Time.

A special thanks to CNPA for making this available to Local Media Association members!

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By Tanya Henderson, Advertising & Membership Relations Director, Local Media Association

As many you are springing into deals action, you may want to take note of a new strategy by GateHouse’s Canton Repository as they recently held a Demystifying Deals workshop with nearly 50 local businesses participating.

Mike Blinder of The Blinder Group stepped out of his more traditional selling role and educated business decision makers on how to get into the deals space with the local newspaper. Canton’s goal: 50 deals in two weeks. The idea is to fill the pipeline so you are always ahead of the curve by having a deal scheduled. According to Blinder the “deals process needs extra hand holding.” Chris White, General Manager of The Repository agreed. “We’re not selling anything. We’re asking for a cut on the back end” which is new for sales reps. Canton has recruited a deals specialist to work with the sales reps at closing the sales. According to White “There’s a natural close if we can engage the prospect with a concept.” Both the specialist and the sales rep are commissioned at the close of the deal.

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Study tours and information sharing are the main goals

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers is known for their high quality study tours and now Local Media Association members will be able to attend these tours for WAN-IFRA member rates. In a reciprocal agreement, WAN-IFRA members will also be invited to attend the annual Local Media Innovation Mission for the reduced rates as well.

Both organizations have also agreed to share information on current trends and hot new business models. Local Media Association president Nancy Lane and Local Media Foundation Board Chair Steve Parker will attend the upcoming 360° Advertising Sales Strategies Tour taking place in Europe this April. Lane will serve as the primary author of a report on the key findings to be shared with members of both organizations.

"Europe is ahead of us in the area of digital agency services", said Lane, "When we visited Upsala Nya Tidnings in Sweden during the 2008 Scandinavia Innovation Mission, they were just launching a full blown agency. We were extremely impressed with their plans and can't wait to revisit them during this tour to learn about their progress."

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from Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association


Focus. Urgency. Passion.

Kirk Davis photo
Kirk Davis

Kirk Davis, President & COO, of GateHouse Media wowed conference attendees with an inspirational keynote on Tuesday at the Mega-Conference. His three favorite words - focus, urgency and passion - were evident throughout the presentation.

There are five areas of concentration that Davis covered:

  1. Drive permanent structural cost realignment to fund growth and innovation
  2. Accelerate digital growth in revenue and audience
  3. Grow consumer revenue (including circulation) in both print and digital
  4. Preserve the power of print by stabilizing ad revenue and improving the product
  5. Develop and execute new businesses by leveraging our core strengths and expanding beyond our existing geographical footprint

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Executives from the Tulsa World, The Ottawa Herald and the Columbia Daily Tribune — three newspapers that have shifted their content behind paywalls — speaking at the Key Excutives Mega Conference in San Antonio told newspapers that the shift to paid content was nothing to fear, offering up their papers' success as the benefits of paywalls.

NetNewsCheck logoTo learn more about this, click here to read "Newspapers: Don't Fear Paywall Plunge," by Michael Depp, Editor of NetNewsCheck.

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from Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association


Digital Agencies - Hot Opportunity

Keith Wilson photo
Keith Wilson

Lessons Learned from Keith Wilson, Publisher, Kingsport Times-News

  • Don't quote fixed rates - go hourly
  • Don't host web sites on your own servers
  • 3 minute videos take 4 hours to edit; price accordingly
  • You are selling ideas - not production
  • When estimating a job, double the time your designer tells you
  • Every web site that you design must include a marketing campaignThe best leads will come from your print staff
  • The only thing you have to sell is the creative talent of your staff - hire talent

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Local newspapers starting to navigate the murky waters of paid content need to develop a good strategy that puts content on the free side and the paid side of the wall — and perhaps come up with a better word than "paywall" — if they want to drive revenue in the digital world, according to executives speaking at the Key Executives Mega Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Excutives also emphasized the need for increased collaboration in the industry, as well as taking advantage of various digital platforms — especially tablets.

NetNewsCheck logoTo learn more about this, click here to read "Execs: Collaboration Key to Papers' Future," by Michael Depp, Editor of NetNewsCheck.

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Suburban newspapers see digital as a major front for growth and are rapidly adapting to dominate the online news and advertising space in their local markets, according to Jon Rust, chairman of the Local Media Association and co-president of Rust Communications. Rust and the LMA are in San Antonio this week for the Key Executives Mega Conference, sponsored by his association along with the Inland Press Association, Southern Newspaper Publishers Association and Texas Press Association. Follow NetNewsCheck today and tomorrow for full coverage of the conference.

NetNewsCheck logoTo learn more about this, click here to read "Suburban Papers Target Digital Ad Lead," by Michael Depp, Editor of NetNewsCheck.

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Site Visits Include Google, Fisher Communications, AT&T Interactive, Black Press and The McClatchy Company

Register Today - Tour is Limited to First 20 Registrations

The Local Media Foundation has set an exciting agenda for the 2012 Innovation Mission. This is the third Innovation Mission conducted by the association’s foundation who’s goal is to see innovation happening in “real time” at some of the most progressive companies and media houses. The week-long tour is intended to expose attendees to some of the best minds in the media and technology worlds.

Highlights include:

  • Full day at Google including access to an invite-only private media partner event
  • Half day private session with Gordon Borrell - Driving Revenue Using Compass Reports
  • Bonus - all attendees will receive a customized Compass report (included in registration fee)
  • Half day with AT&T Interactive focusing on mobile and digital agency success (pending confirmation)
  • Five hour visit to Fisher Communications, winner of Borrell's Innovator of the Year award
  • Visits with some of North America's most progressive media companies including The McClatchy Company and Black Press + bonus visits with the president of the Canadian Newspaper Association and senior executive from WAN-IFRA (World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers)
  • Digital immersion - all attendees will tweet, blog and share the learnings throughout the trip (help will be provided)

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Last week, we announced the Local Media Revenue Summit will take place May 9-10, 2012, at the DoubleTree Westshore Hotel in Tampa, Florida. An additional bonus day of programming will be held on May 11. The summit is a joint effort among The Blinder Group, Local Media Association and the Florida Press Association.

The Blinder Group has created a specific website for the conference with fantastic testimonials, the full conference agenda and a listing of top-notch speakers for the event. Make sure you add this conference to your calendar – you won’t want to miss it. Visit http://www.blindersummit.com for more information.

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The Local Media Association Fall Publishers’ and Advertising Directors’ Conference will be held September 11-14 at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, Atlanta Georgia. Room rates are $159 (single/double occupancy) per night plus tax.

The Fall Publishers’ and Advertising Directors’ Conference is Local Media Association’s premiere conference. Along with a top notch agenda and individual tracks for both publishers and advertising executives, newspaper attendees have the unique opportunity to meet with media buyers and advertising representatives of national companies. The scheduling of these personal, one-on-one meetings is free with conference registration. In addition, you’ll learn about the new technology, products and services provided by the association’s associate member vendor companies. Watch your email for more information. Questions? Contact Local Media Association headquarters at 888-486-2466.

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Local Media Association presented the Major Account Outlook last week via conference call with Steve Winslow of Best Buy, Steve Mueller of GeoMentum and Tyler Kelly of Centro. The purpose of the call was to give members the opportunity to ask questions and review plans for 2012. They all are firm believers in community newspapers with local editorial content. “We send insertion orders to 4,500 newspapers every week” said Mueller. Content is critical to them and they are looking for information on enhanced distribution (i.e. social media) as people consume media differently. And all of this “becomes part of the psychology as we try to connect with customers,” said Mueller.

According to Winslow “we want the newspaper to be the eyes and ears in the market.” It’s critical to know growth demos, market shifts, etc. “It’s important to keep us updated” on changes. When they are placing advertising they are looking for the 40-60% penetration in a market.

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Local Media Association is pleased to announce that the Local Media Revenue Summit will take place May 9-10, 2012, at the DoubleTree Westshore hotel in Tampa, Florida. An additional bonus day of programming will be held on May 11th. The summit is a joint effort among The Blinder Group, Local Media Association and the Florida Press Association.

The program will tackle the best case studies to showcase new and innovative revenue streams. It was designed to include best practices from a diverse mix of local media companies regardless of platform. Senior level advertising managers and executives that focus on local SMB's as their bread and butter will not want to miss this one-of-a-kind summit that will expose you to new ideas and new ways to engage your customers.

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By Tanya Henderson, Advertising & Membership Relations Director

An’ I don’t give a damn ‘bout my reputation
The world’s in trouble, there’s no communication...
Lyrics from Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation”

More than 30 years later…a lot has changed. Joan may still not care, but in today’s word-of-mouth world, businesses need to be a step ahead and understand how they are perceived. We’ve all heard of the phrase that “perception is reality” and today that is never truer with people commenting, blogging and reviewing their experience for the world to see. In an IMA Reputation Management webinar last week, Shannon Kinney, Founder and Client Success Officer of dreamlocal shared their company’s philosophy and strategies when working with clients. It’s more than providing technology to a client. You have to be constantly monitoring a brand, their listings, search and directories.

They monitor 125 web sites and they are looking for brand mentions, social mentions and things that should be more obvious that may be overlooked. She mentions a client who had great reviews and comments but when checking their address online, it was wrong. People were going to that address and the sales were scooped up by another business at that address resulting in lost sales for their client.

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Matt Coen photo
Matt Coen

Quality of summit is comparable to a course at Harvard Business School according to Local Media Association Board Chairman Jon Rust

A bonus pre-conference executive-level summit on daily deals has been added – at no additional cost – to the agenda for the Key Executives Mega-Conference next month in San Antonio.

This two-hour session will be led by Matt Coen, president of Second Street Media Solutions. It is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 26, from 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. Please note this when making your travel arrangements.

"I attended a two hour deals boot camp led by Matt Coen at Second Street Media last year that proved to be one of the best conference sessions of the year for me. I felt like I was back at Harvard Business School – it was that compelling. More importantly, I was able to go back and implement changes to our deals program that will set us up for strong growth in 2012. This is a high level summit – ideal for senior executives. I highly recommend it to my colleagues in the industry."
~ Jon K. Rust, co-president of Rust Communications and publisher of the Southeast Missourian

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Listening to the Mike Blinder webinar on how they created $600,000 in 60 days with GateHouse Media you realize that in a nano-second world that spending time researching and preparing for client meetings is more important than ever.

It does take a village when you put together a sales plan for a company as large as GateHouse: 79 dailies; more than 250 weeklies and 95 shoppers plus more than 400 websites. Blinder had a host of GateHouse executives from around the company (and the country) on the webinar to discuss how they’ve been successful with a focused sales approach.

According to Brad Harmon, Corporate VP of Sales & Marketing digital goals for 2012 will be double this year’s percentages of 25-25%. Harmon says “that is very achievable.”

In order to reach these goals it’s important that three things happen according to Harmon: we simplify, standardize and automate. Infrastructure is key. Currently they have 10 digital specialists in the New England area and plan to add many more where there are regional opportunities.

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Membership voted 5:1 to support name change

After forty years, Suburban Newspapers of America is changing its name. Local Media Association was recommended by a committee (including the SNA board of directors and the SNA marketing committee) that represented nearly 30 member companies. It was an intense five month process that included an enormous amount of healthy debate. The membership received ballots on December 1 and when the voting ended today, the motion had carried. In fact, SNA members supported the name change by a ratio of 5:1.

“It’s simple, self-explanatory, direct,” said Jon K. Rust, Co-President of Rust Communications and Chairman of the Board for SNA. “It puts ‘local’ first – just like we do as media organizations – and it shares that we’re not just newspapers anymore, but much more. It also says that we are united as an association, working together to become better.”

In 1971, SNA was formed when a group of entrepreneurial, family-owned newspaper publishers merged three other associations into this new one. The association has always carried the entrepreneurial spirit of those founding fathers with innovative and cutting-edge programs and research. In that vein, a new tag line has also been developed - “Innovate. Educate. Inspire.”

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All SNA delegates (designated voting member for each company) received a ballot on December 1 to vote on a proposed name change for the organization. The SNA board of directors is recommending Local Media Association as the new name.

Many voices were involved in proposing this new name. In addition to the 14 companies represented by senior level executives on the SNA board of directors, another 12 companies were represented on the marketing committee. These companies include: GateHouse Media, Sun-Times Media Group, Journal Register Company/Digital First Media, New York Times Regional Group, Swift Communications, Metroland Media Group, Deseret Digital Media, Borrell Associates, Rust Communications, Wick Communications, ASP Westward, ThisWeek Community Newspapers, American Community Newspapers, Richner Communications, The World Company, Arizona Daily Star, NGM Partners, Holden Landmark Corporation, CrossRoadsNews, The Elkhart Truth, Dow Jones Local Media Group and USA Weekend.

There are many reasons for the proposed name change as you might imagine. The current name confuses people and is not reflective of the entire membership. It also does not account for the digital side of our businesses. As for the new name, "...it's simple, self-explanatory, direct", said Jon Rust, Chairman of the SNA Board of Directors, "It is also powerful: It puts 'local' first - just like we do as media organizations - and it shares that we're not just newspapers anymore but much more." The board has also put forth a new tagline: "Innovate. Educate. Inspire." These words truly reflect the spirit of SNA that will continue under the new name.

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Matt Coen, CEO of Second Street Media, led a terrific two-hour boot camp in advance of the Daily Deals Summit that took place in Tampa in November.

Here are the top headlines from the boot camp:

Understanding “Deal Appeal”

Matt Coen photo
Matt Coen
Deal Appeal Checklist:
  • Brand recognition
  • Location(s) – multiple locations work best
  • Audience appeal
  • Deal uniqueness (deals no one else has)
  • Pricing and discounts
  • Restrictions
  • Multiple quantities
  • Expiration date
  • Deal category (certain categories just work better than others)
  • Seasonality

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The Southern Newspaper Publishers Association’s Annual Convention took place in Williamsburg, Virginia, last week. Below are a few highlights and top quotes of the conference:

“I can’t compete with your brand.”
From Warren Webster, President of Patch, when asked how newspapers can compete with Patch.

Patch is in 863 neighborhoods covered by 1,000 journalists. In 2010, they were ranked the 10th largest local property by comScore in terms of monthly unique visitors – in 2011 they moved up to number five. They are investing in infrastructure. In terms of town penetration, 50 percent of a town population visits Patch within 7 months of site launch and over 80 percent of the population will visit monthly after one year. Currently, 90 percent of their advertising is local and 10 percent is national. They want to be the “concierge” of the web.

When asked about revenue needed by Patch, Webster noted the example that they would need $10-$12,000 of revenue per month in a 26,000 populated market.

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The SNA Foundation has launched a new program that is designed to put innovation on the fast track. The Local Media Innovation Alliance is a membership-based program that will provide monthly research papers and related webinars that will focus on the following:

  • New and sustainable business models in the digital age
  • Monetizing the digital side of the business
  • New content strategies
  • Promising new trends in all areas of multi-media publishing
  • Mobile, tablets, and more

The reports will focus on promising trends/opportunities from local media companies of all kinds including newspapers, pure plays, radio, TV, directories, and more. Membership is open to all local media outlets.

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If you were able to attend the SNA Fall Conference in Phoenix, you noticed a distinct thread of innovation that was visibly woven into all of the sessions…the “MediaMorphosis” theme resonated throughout the conference. From the keynote of a “World Class Sales Force” to digital agency initiatives and case studies to remarkable new products such as Metroland Media’s ShopTalk, you walked away with the distinct feeling that something exciting is happening: Newspapers have immersed themselves in new media. If you didn’t have the chance to attend, you will find coverage of the SNA conference in the upcoming issue of Suburban Publisher as well as an upcoming “Lessons Learned” webinar from the conference.

To learn more about the conference, click here to visit the SNA Conference page on NetNewsCheck.

NetNewsCheck logoNetNewsCheck is the media partner for the SNA Fall Publishers’ and Ad Directors’ Conference.

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Fall Conference Innovation Mission Session photo
Innovation Mission participants, from left, Steven McHaney, Co-Publisher of the Victoria Advocate; Suzanne Schlicht, Chief Operating Officer of the World Company; Jon Rust, Co-President of Rust Communications; Bob Brown, Chief Operating Officer of Swift Communications; Brandon Erlacher, Publisher of the Elkhart (Indiana) Truth; and Nancy Lane, President of SNA, presented to Fall Conference attendees.

Separate digital staffs or integrated staffs? How about this answer: yes and yes. It became clear during the Innovation session at the SNA Fall Conference in Phoenix last week that selling digital isn’t black and white. While many companies feel they need a separate digital staff, they haven’t given up on current reps selling digital programs. There are a number of products and services that media companies can offer well beyond what is on their horizon. It takes someone from the outside with the digital experience to lead the companies into areas they haven’t even imagined. With that said, there are also a number of core products and services that existing sales teams can leverage based on long-standing advertiser relationships.

To learn more about this and other takeaways including from this session, click here to read "’Innovation Mission’ Yields Digital Must-Dos," by Michael Depp, Editor of NetNewsCheck.

NetNewsCheck logoNetNewsCheck is the media partner for the SNA Fall Publishers’ and Ad Directors’ Conference.

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SNA is pleased to announce two upcoming conferences scheduled for the second week of November in Tampa. The first is a brand new one-day Local Media Daily Deals Summit, created by SNA in response to tremendous interest and explosive growth in daily deals programs. All local print and broadcast media companies are invited to attend. The second three-day program is a newly developed Classified Multimedia Conference designed to take community classified departments to the next level. This program is targeted at advertising directors and classified managers who are looking to expand their marketing footprint through new technology and a targeted sales approach. Although held at the same time in the same hotel, these two events are distinctly different from one another and feature two very different and unique programs.

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With preconference bonus session on November 9th

Suburban Newspapers of America is pleased to announce the creation of a brand new conference dedicated to the topic of daily deals. The “Local Media Daily Deals Summit” has been created by SNA in response to tremendous interest in the deals programs. “In the last year the deals programs have just exploded,” said Nancy Lane, President of SNA. “We thought it was important to showcase success stories during a one day summit to help all members grow this segment of the business. We have some outstanding case studies to share from markets and companies of all sizes. This is a must-attend event for any member that is serious about daily deals."

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Silent Auction to be held at the SNA Fall Conference in Phoenix!

Today more than ever, newspaper companies need help as they transition to multimedia companies. The SNA Foundation (SNAF) continues to develop new learning initiatives, research and reports specific to digital transformation. That work cannot continue without the generous support from our donors. Recent Foundation sponsored programs include multimedia e-learning courses, a specialized reporting symposium and a North American Innovation Mission visiting progressive media companies with followup best practices report and learning webinars (click here to learn more about the work of the SNAF).

This is where you come in...

Everyone has items that are new or in almost-new condition that they aren't using. Maybe it's tickets to a major sporting event, a gift card that's not up your alley or a bottle of wine from a local vineyard. These are the types of items that the SNAF needs for our silent auction to be held during the SNA Fall Publishers' and Advertising Directors' Conference in Phoenix in September. All contributions are tax deductible.

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SNA's Lifetime Achievement Award to Be Presented in Phoenix This Fall

William Brehm Sr. photo
William Brehm, Sr.

William (Bill) Brehm, Sr., has been named this years Dean Lesher Award recipient. Brehm, Sr., has been active in the publishing industry for more than 60 years and at one time served on the SNA Board of Directors. In 1984, Brehm, Sr., presented the Dean Lesher award to Ralph Markham of the Antelope Valley Newspapers (California). Twenty seven years later, he will now be presented with this distinguished honor.

Brehm, Sr., began his career at the Industrial Post in Bell, California (near Los Angeles), in 1946 and became president several years later. He also was president of the company's first newspaper (The Daily Democrat in Fort Madison, Iowa). The newspaper is still under the same ownership 90 years later as part of Brehm Communications, Inc. Today Brehm operates more than 60 daily, weekly and semiweekly newspapers, shoppers and niche publications located in the states of California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana.

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Save the Date!
November 9-11, 2011

SNA is pleased to announce a newly re-tooled Classified Conference focused specifically on innovative solutions for Classified Departments. The SNA Classified Multimedia Conference will take place at the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in sunny Tampa, Florida, this November 9-11. Rooms are a low $99/night!

After important and honest feedback from our 2011 conference committee, SNA decided it was time to take this conference up a notch. These won’t be the same-old classified sessions. "This conference will address higher level issues and will focus on the hottest opportunities for classified categories of business," said Nancy Lane, SNA President. "Technology is allowing us to sell differently in print, online, mobile and more; we'll focus on the areas with the greatest revenue potential by showcasing promising trends and new success stories."

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Includes Best Buy, Staples, Centro, Most Major Agencies and More; Novus Just Added This Week

SNA is pleased to announce more than 15 confirmed advertiser/agency representatives to engage in one-on-one conversations with SNA attendees in Phoenix this September. SNA provides a unique attendee experience with these personal meetings that are pre-arranged by SNA staff. “It’s really a productive day,” says Tanya Henderson, Advertising and Membership Relations Director with SNA. “Picture more than 15 media buyers each meeting every 20 minutes with a different newspaper company with just a few breaks all day long. It allows attendees to meet with a number of advertisers they may not otherwise have the chance to visit, and it allows the advertisers to see everyone at one venue.”

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‘In community journalism, there is no place to hide, and if you want to hide, then you have no business in this business anyway.’

By Al Cross, director, Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues; associate professor, School of Journalism and Telecommunications, University of Kentucky

 Crittenden Press photo
Chris Evans, editor and publisher of The Crittenden Press in rural Kentucky, explains his mission: “We are here to serve the people.”
Photo by Allison Mick-Evans.

Lyndon Johnson once observed that "the country weekly acts as a form of social cement in holding the community together." But this son of rural Texas, who rose to be president of the United States, also declared, "The fact that a man is a newspaper reporter is evidence of some flaw of character."

Johnson was a man of some contradiction. These two views, each perhaps held with equal fervor, reflect the constant conundrum that good community journalists confront between responsibilities as a professional and the need to have friends and friendly acquaintances, as part of a community. Holding local leaders and institutions accountable while playing an engaged civic role of building and strengthening the community inevitably leads to conflict.

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The SNA Foundation recently held a webinar for the participants of the McCormick's Specialized Reporting Institute symposium. As a follow-up to symposium, Jane Stevens, Director of Media Strategies with the Lawrence Journal-World shared their year-old community health niche site, wellcommons.com, with the group.

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Online Benchmarking Report photo

A canyon has formed between newspapers companies that are gaining share in the digital space and those losing it. The following findings are based on those publications that have shown significant growth in their digital operation:

  • Most are selling “solutions” to advertisers, not just banners on their own websites. These include deal-of-the-day programs, email advertising opportunities, targeted banners, contests, ads delivered through networks to other sites such as Yahoo, Facebook or Google, mobile text offerings, etc.
  • They have a sales force dedicated exclusively to selling online products. Even the smallest newspapers have at least one online-only salesperson. Some have more than two dozen.
  • They have clear and aggressive revenue goals – often not incremental.
  • Their local interactive manager typically reports directly to the publisher, not to the editor or sales manager.
  • They view the web as a platform to go beyond what’s in the printed newspaper and give a greater voice to the community, extend deadlines and compete with other media. The web has allowed suburban and community newspapers to compete more heavily with metro newspapers, radio and television when it comes to in-depth coverage.

These conclusions represent just some of the findings detailed in the recently released Local Online Media Benchmarking Revenue Survey, prepared by Borrell Associates for SNA members.

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SNA’s Interactive Media Alliance (IMA) held a webinar in April on paywalls and metered approaches. Three of our speakers, Roger Coover, President and Publisher, The Stockton Record; Andy Waters, VP, Interactive, Columbia Daily Tribune; and Ernie Schreiber, Director of Content Development, Lancaster Newspapers, Inc., answered a number of questions during the webinar. Below are some we wanted to share. Note that each company has different metered plans and level of experience. For example, Stockton has had a paywall since last year; Columbia’s paywall is fairly new and Lancaster Newspapers is currently only charging for obits outside of their market.

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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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SNA has teamed up with NewspaperToolbox to provide an online entry platform for the 2011 Advertising & Promotions Contest. This new online contest entry system is designed to make the process of entering contests quicker, easier and less costly than the previous method of mailing ‘hard-copy’ material.

SNA chose to partner with NewspaperToolbox because of their proven ability to collect and share revenue-generating ideas with publishers throughout North America. With just a click of a button, you can access thousands of ready-to-sell ideas, reader contests, concept pages, themed editorial features and articles, special supplements, games, horoscopes, recipes and so much more. The ideas and concepts they present are easy-to-sell and are adaptable to any market, large or small.

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By Deb Shaw, For the SNA Foundation
Another free e-learning course has just been released by the Suburban Newspapers of America Foundation in conjunction with the Poynter Institute’s NewsUniversity. The e-course, The Community Journalism Series, has two parts – one intended for newsroom leaders to help them develop and manage a UGC program, and one intended for amateur contributors to teach them the fundamentals of contributing to the local media house.

Citizen journalism, user-generated content, pro-amateur journalism, crowd sourcing, blogging, conversational media, participatory journalism, consumer-created content – whatever you call it, using readers, viewers or listeners as a source for content – whether informally via comments or in fully structured relationships – is happening in all forms of media.

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JRC’s outreach to expand local voices is poised to triple by year’s end

By Deb Shaw, For the SNA Foundation


Open Newsroom
When Jon Cooper and Matt DeRienzo took center stage at a recent SNA Foundation-sponsored webinar to talk about the new open newsroom environment at The Register Citizen in Torrington, Conn., attendees got a bonus of hearing much more about a variety of initiatives having to do with engaging audience. Cooper, V.P. of Content for Journal Register Company, and DeRienzo, Publisher in Torrington, freely shared many elements of the evolving culture shift within their newsrooms and their communities at large including details of how they now routinely invite the general public to participate in ways unimaginable just a few short years ago.

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Additions to 10 Best Ideas Session at Leadership Summit


SNA is proud to announce an expanded two-hour revenue session at the upcoming SNA/Blinder Group conference in Chicago May 18-20. SNA and The Blinder Group, after attending dozens of conferences last year and working personally with hundreds of media companies, have collected their best ideas for revenue growth over the past year and narrowed them down to the TOP TEN. Criteria included: easy to implement; substantial revenue potential (relative to print and digital standards) and a new twist or angle (or brand new idea altogether). Also, to make the final list a representative from the chosen company had to be available to present and willing to share important information including sales and marketing materials. Finally, the top ten had to include a mix of print, online & mobile.

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McCormick Foundation grant covers costs for two days of in-depth training co-hosted by Suburban Newspapers of America Foundation and Associated Press Managing Editors

NEWS RELEASE
Traverse City, MI

Twenty community journalists from across the United States have been selected to attend a two-day symposium to learn how to report local stories and develop multimedia reporting projects on the impacts of the economic crisis on American families.

The symposium, funded by a grant from The McCormick Foundation and co-hosted by Suburban Newspapers of America (SNA) Foundation and the Association Press Managing Editors (APME), is part of McCormick's Specialized Reporting Institutes program. The training takes place April 5 and 6 in Chicago at the Chicago Sun-Times.

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by Deborah Shaw for the SNA Foundation


If what they’re doing in Torrington, Conn. is any indication, it’s definitely time to re-envision what it means to engage your audience.

Newsroom Cafe
In a move that actually saved money for the company, Torrington recently relocated to a new facility and in the process created an ‘open community newsroom’ environment. One change is a Newsroom Café, in close proximity to the newsroom staff, which offers free Wi-Fi for the general public.
Named "One of 10 That Do It Right" by Editor & Publisher for their open community newsroom, The Register-Citizen, a small market 8,000 circulation daily that’s owned by Journal Register Company, now routinely invites the public to attend, in person or via a live web stream, their daily news budget meeting; they welcome members of the community to come in and blog away on modern work stations; they offer free Wi-Fi in a cozy environment that’s closely situated to reporters and editors; they offer open access to more than 130 years of newspaper archives; they freely extend hospitality in the form of community rooms for area groups to host their own meetings; and there’s a coffee shop, the ‘newsroom café’, in which patrons can enjoy a cup of coffee and a locally baked pastry while tapping free Wi-Fi and perhaps interacting with members of the newspaper’s staff.

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Suburban Newspapers of America, in partnership with Borrell Associates and Kevin McCrudden of MotivateAmerica, is pleased to announce the development of a new media sales certification program scheduled to launch in early Summer 2011. In a recent SNA member questionnaire, we learned there was an overwhelming need for ongoing training to meet the demands of the current media environment. This certification program has been developed to specifically address those needs, as well as, the many ongoing requests we receive for training.

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IMPACT OF THE ECONOMIC CRISIS ON AMERICAN FAMILIES:
Applications are now being taken

All costs covered to attend this specialized two-day symposium in Chicago

The SNA Foundation and the Associated Press Managing Editors have been awarded a grant by The McCormick Foundation to conduct a specialized two-day reporting workshop. The symposium, part of McCormick's Specialized Reporting Institutes program, will educate community journalists on how to uncover local stories on the impacts of the current economic crisis on the American family.

The symposium will take a deep dive into this subject and will feature top speakers from the academic world, as well as journalists who cover highly-specialized aspects of this topic. The ultimate goal is to provide scholarship recipients with a host of tools and information to better cover the topic at a local level in their communities. Follow-up webinars with symposium attendees will also be part of this comprehensive learning experience.

Scholarship applications are due by February 25; click here to access the application form and information. The symposium takes place April 5 - 6 in Chicago (air, hotel and meals are included). Special thanks to the Sun-Times Media Group for hosting this event.

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SNA/APME

SNA & APME are proud to partner on a two-part webinar series that explores recent news events and how social media played a part in the reporting and news dissemination process.

SNA has partnered with APME to bring you a two-part webinar series that explores breaking news events and how social media played a part in the reporting and news dissemination process. Our first webinar (scheduled next week on 2/16 at 11:00 AM ET) investigates the lessons learned from the recent Tucson Shootings and asks the question, “Are you really prepared to handle a major news story in your town?” Our second webinar in the series (scheduled for 3/2 at 11:00 AM ET) will look at the recent story surrounding the “Man with the Golden Voice” and explore what lessons the Columbus Dispatch has learned from this explosive news event. Full details.

COST: SNA & APME Members: Only $29 each or $49 for both webinars. Non-members: $49 per webinar.
Registration Form

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By Tanya Henderson, Advertising & Membership Relations Director


You’ll see attached to this article an advertisement that features the SNA leadership staff. You’ll also see it in upcoming editions of Suburban Publisher. This is a new campaign that I created after realizing that we offer a different proposition when it comes to association staffing today. I’ve noticed some organizations are leaning back in this area when it comes to industry experience. Leadership may not always be industry veterans – staff may not even have any newspaper experience. It’s not uncommon these days as some associations are bringing in other types of experience – those with nonprofits and fundraising for example. There’s no right or wrong way to run an association but I do think we do have a unique story to tell.

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Conference to Cover Print, Online, Mobile & More -- May 18-20, Chicago


NEWS RELEASE
Traverse City, MI.
Suburban Newspapers of America is once again partnering with The Blinder Group, this time to produce a world-class revenue summit this May in Chicago. This three day event is all about the money, and that is absolutely reflected in the program.

“Mike Blinder has literally traveled the world over the past few years conducting sales blitzes and providing training to media companies of all sizes,” said Nancy Lane, President, SNA. “He is in a position to identify the best and most innovative revenue-producing ideas and bring the people behind these ideas to an event such as this one. We couldn’t be more excited to team up with Mike for what is no doubt going to be one of our best events of the year.”

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Prepared by: Al Cupo, VP, Operations, SNA

SNA recently presented a free member webinar addressing the development of PATCH and other new, local web competitors. This presentation featured Mel Taylor of Mel Taylor Media as a guest speaker, and attracted a record number of webinar participants. Mel Taylor is an industry consultant who has been closely following the development of hyper-local sites like Patch, Groupon, ReachLocal and others.

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The SNA Editorial Contest attracts more than 1,500 entries each year from more than 250 newspapers across North America. We’re pleased to announce the winners of the prestigious Editor and Journalist of the Year honors; all first place winners will be recognized at the Fall Publishers’ and Advertising Directors’ Conference.

The winners of the remaining 36 categories of the Editorial Contest will be announced in early February.

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The National Newspaper Association, headquartered in Columbia, MO, recently released the results of their fifth readership survey on the patterns of community newspaper readers. This report was completed by the research arm of the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism and specifically looked at the reactions of people served by local newspapers.

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By Tanya Henderson, Advertising & Membership Relations Director for SNA

Small and medium size business owners (SMBs) are busy people who need to streamline their advertising and someone to help make those decisions.

According to research from Belden Interactive as part of a recent SNA/Borrell Main Street Interactive webinar, business owners are only talking with one to four reps a week – walls are being put up because they just can’t talk to everyone. They are literally getting one pitch every business day. Think about it…in the old days a business decision maker may talk to a TV rep, a radio rep, a newspaper rep and their Yellow Pages rep once a year…now they are talking to them, as well as a plethora of Internet companies who are trying to get a piece of their budget. These businesses need representation.

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Exceptional opportunity to visit some of the most innovative media houses in the U.S & Canada -- Reserve your spot now as space is limited

New Business Models; Emerging Content Strategies; Digital-First Initiatives; Revenue Growth

May 1 - 6, 2011

The community media landscape continues to change. New opportunities and new technologies continue to emerge and the busy publisher is often feeling overwhelmed. Print still rules when it comes to revenue share and the digital landscape is becoming more and more fragmented with mobile and group deals emerging in the last six months as “must haves”. And still, a sustainable business model on the digital side has yet to materialize for most.

The SNA Foundation has identified media houses in North America that are making bold changes in their company to adapt to the changing landscape. All of these companies are showing early success and many of them are in the top tier of their peer class when it comes to digital revenue performance. The working tour will focus on four key areas: the most promising new business models (that are sustainable) for community media companies; emerging content strategies with a special emphasis on community contributions; digital-first initiatives (both editorial and advertising) and above all, strategies to grow revenue (in print, online and mobile).

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Earlier this month classified advertising professionals met in Chicago for the SNA Classified Managers’ Conference. Industry experts from throughout North America addressed all aspects of print and online classified advertising including database marketing, classified department sales structure, innovative real estate partnerships, mobile apps, growing the recruitment & automotive categories, and new private party initiatives.

As with all conferences, there were many key take-aways from this event; in fact, there were so many good ideas to share that SNA has asked several of the conference speakers to participate in a ‘wrap-up’ webinar in early December. This webinar will discuss the many valuable lessons learned during the conference.

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Suburban Newspapers of America, Inland Press and Southern Newspaper Publishers Association to Collaborate on Key Executives Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida in February

One of North America’s leading authorities on media innovation will headline the upcoming Mega-Conference designed for key executives in the newspaper industry. Clark Gilbert, President & CEO of the Deseret News Publishing Company and Deseret Digital Media, will address conference attendees on the subject of media innovation - both in principle and in practice.

Clark Gilbert photo
Clark Gilbert
Gilbert is best known in the industry as a contributor the NewspaperNext project produced by the American Press Institute. He was a founding partner of Innosight (a Boston-based consultancy that specializes in media clients targeting disruptive innovation) and professor of entrepreneurial management at Harvard Business School where he published numerous award-winning articles on innovation. He has an extensive background in digital media and also authored the book “From Resource Allocations to Strategy” in addition to numerous articles on media innovation and the growth of the internet.

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By Deborah Shaw, for the SNA Foundation


Newsonomics photo
Editors Note: This story is a follow-up to last week’s posting which delved into other points made during the recent SNA Foundation-sponsored webinar featuring noted author*, veteran editor and industry consultant Ken Doctor. Part 1 examined who’s doing what in the news business and the direction that paying for content is moving (and there’s definite movement underway). Click here to read it.

Ken Doctor’s appearance at the recent SNA-Foundation sponsored webinar, sandwiched between appearances at other domestic industry events and a trip to Singapore to, among other things, meet with the local press, was a real coup for the Foundation and for the close to 200 registrants who knew that Doctor was a man worth hearing. His intellect, fluid style, contemporary thinking on the economics of news, and industry experience combined to make him a top notch presenter in the series presented by the Foundation.

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By Deb Shaw, for the SNA Foundation
debshawsna@comcast.net

Ken Doctor photo
Ken Doctor
When the folks behind the SNA Foundation snagged noted author*, veteran editor and industry consultant Ken Doctor as a webinar presenter to discuss the Economics of News as we head into 2011, they knew they had scored a top notch thinker and news media analyst. What they didn’t realize is that Doctor would attract the largest audience in SNAF webinar history and that he would share such a valuable trove of intelligent insights, data and tips for moving into the next decade of the Digital Age.

The late October webinar, entitled Leading a Newsroom in the Digital Age: Newsonomics 2011, attracted close to 200 registrants and of those who attended and took the post-webinar survey, nearly 9 in 10 rated the presentation as very good or excellent. According to one audience member, Doctor’s sweeping update on the current state of Newsonomics, content competitors and rapidly changing technological opportunities helped underscore the urgency in making future plans and connecting with local bloggers.

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By Tanya Henderson, Advertising & Membership Relations Director, SNA

High Expectations. Maximum Effort. Well Compensated Sales Reps. Plus Revenue.
Does this resemble your company?

I had the pleasure of attending (and speaking) at the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association’s Annual Convention in Lancaster, Pennsylvania last week. In one of the opening sessions, Martin Till, Executive Vice President of Penn Jersey Advance spoke in no-nonsense terms about hiring the right people. Till opened his presentation recalling his own start in the industry. The job he was applying for required that he type a specific number of words per minute. As the story was told, after a couple tries he never could type that many words, but he showed his potential employer that perseverance, attitude and a wantingness to win outweighs a learned skill. Unfortunately many newspapers still follow the same old practices when hiring sales people today - which means, you may be overlooking talent. He says “attitude is everything,” and “success breeds success.” Skills are secondary and something that can be taught.

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by Nancy Lane, President, SNA

The following email was sent to clients of Borrell Associates. We thought it was pretty powerful stuff and wanted to share it with all SNA members. We encourage everyone to watch the video and share your feedback on our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/SuburbanNewspapers

-Clark Gilbert photo

Clark Gilbert

I had previously sent this video link to a dozen or so SNA publishers and have been receiving feedback ever since. This one in particular sums it up best: "Nancy, I watched the Clark Gilbert one hour video yesterday and that’s all I have been thinking about for 22 hours. We have been working so hard to make incremental change and it is not going to be enough.  He both scared the crap out of me and has kicked me in the butt to do more."

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All are invited to attend this free October 21st webinar

By Deb Shaw, for the SNA Foundation
debshawsna@comcast.net

Ken Doctor photo
Ken Doctor

Noted author and veteran of the digital news industry Ken Doctor will take center stage on October 21st in the next webinar presented by the SNA Foundation. He will present Leading a Newsroom in the Digital News Decade: Newsonomics 2011 and What They Mean to You, and all are invited to attend this free webinar beginning at 2PM Eastern.

Ken Doctor is the author of the book Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape the News You Get and, among other appearances, recently spoke in St. Paul at The Future of News Summit on the topic of ‘Creating a New Model for Regional Journalism.’ In the SNAF October 21st webinar, Doctor will tailor his presentation to the suburban and community newspaper sector and will delve into how the local landscape in the age of hyper-competition has created a new set of strategies for editors and other newsroom leaders.

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By Deb Shaw, for the SNA Foundation
debshawsna@comcast.net

cake photo
A specialty events & shopping website in the Chicago bedroom community of McHenry County, Illinois is about to celebrate its one year birthday, and the local newspaper folks there will be first in line to blow out the celebratory candle. That’s because Shaw Suburban Media is the company behind the successful PlanIt Northwest - a unique entertainment & shopping portal that is not part of their traditional news site. Instead, it’s all about the ‘go and do’ concept with a brand-specific strategy and an e-commerce component via a local partnership.

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The wait is over! We're proud to announce the top winners in the SNA 2010 Newspaper of the Year contest. These award-winning newspapers displayed top-notch editorial coverage, eye-catching graphic design and prominent advertising layouts, exemplifying creativity and innovation in all areas of the newspaper. Hundreds of suburban and community newspapers entered and competed for this great honor.

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By Tanya Henderson, Advertising & Membership Relations Director

SNA’s Classified Alliance Real Estate Webinar given by Borrell Associates’ Pete Conti and Gordon Borrell last week hammered home the point that realtors need your help. In today’s housing market Borrell says that realtors are “jumping ship” to other firms to obtain better leads and better commission splits.

According to Borrell’s latest research, 33.7 percent of total local real estate ad spending is going to online while 30.5 percent is going to newspaper. This category includes real estate development, mortgage loan providers, realty agents and brokers, and rental property management.  Brokers and agents provide the largest percent of ad spend.

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By Deb Shaw, for the SNA Foundation
Lois Tuffin photo
Lois Tuffin
Scott Rosenburgh photo
ScottRosenburgh

Do you think it’s a coincidence that both of the winning initiatives in the Innovator of The Year category in SNA’s 2010 Community Website Contest have to do with engaging audience via local events and happenings? Both the winner, Lois Tuffin from Metroland, and the runner-up, Scott Rosenburgh and team from Shaw Suburban Media, took honors for their events-oriented sites that primarily feature things to do and places to go for their respective regions.

Perhaps this is the space that is winning raves because judges recognize the sensibility in local newspapers parlaying their reputation as a source for this type of community information, as well as their pre-existing data collection resources. Combine these elements with the fundamentals of brand, technology and ability to promote, and local media companies definitely have a leg up for disseminating and marketing this useful and sought after information.

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By Al Cupo, VP, Operations, SNA

Gordon Borrell photo
Gordon Borrell
Sandy Martin photo
Sandy Martin

Gordon Borrell, CEO and Sandy Martin, Analyst, Borrell Associates, spent time last week with SNA members during a one-hour webinar titled: Mobile & eReader Opportunities.
Several important issues were addressed including content and revenue strategies for online (web sites), mobile phones, tablets and eReaders. Each of these digital options continues to present both challenges and opportunities for community publishers – different than those of major metro and national publications.

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Back in April we reported on the amazing growth of zip2save.com in just its first 6 months of existence. Now, just three months later, we’re happy to tell a story that just keeps getting better and better. zip2save.com is a national and local shopping and advertising portal that features coupons (including grocery), advertising circulars, product search, direct shopping links to retailers' Web sites, travel specials and more.

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Joanne Burghardt photo
Alongside 26 other women in a training class, Joanne Burghardt gets ready to mount the machine in her quest to become a licensed rider.

By Deb Shaw
Editor, Suburban Publisher

Trophy wives and fast cars have long been the supposed hallmarks of many a man’s mid-life crisis; perhaps it’s motorcycles for women.

Both I and acclaimed newspaper editor Joanne Burghardt, in two separate countries and with no common ties, found ourselves gravitating first to motorcycle safe rider training followed quickly by the purchase of our first bikes and we both did this around our half century mark. Hmmmm, wonder if it’s something about ink in the veins for a couple of decades that is pushing nerves aside to learn firsthand about a sport/hobby that has long attracted men in droves but only in recent years is seeing more women on 2-wheel iron horses. “I like to go fast” is how Burghardt explains her new found passion.

But that’s not the only place where speed is an element of Burghardt’s life.

In her work as Editor-in-Chief of Metroland Media Group’s Durham Region / Northumberland County Division, Burghardt has been involved in the quick and constant evolution of durhamregion.com and her fervor for high journalistic standards alongside the need to keep pace with the changing expectations of readers are pushing her to continuously and rapidly advance the bar.

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By Tanya Henderson
Advertising & Membership Relations Director

Who says you can’t have form and function? If you are reading this article then you’ve already noticed there’s something different about the SNA website. The site, which soft-launched last Tuesday, brought with it a wider, updated look. In addition to its cosmetic change, it’s a bit more streamlined and easier to navigate. David Lee, SNA’s Director of Technology, has been working on this site diligently over the last few months. “We all know that websites need to continuously change and evolve. Members and visitors to the site will still find all the great resources SNA has to offer with a much better user experience.”

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Brad Dennison photo
"There are no more creative places than a newsroom."

Brad Dennison
Vice President
News & Interactive Division
GateHouse Media

By Deb Shaw
Editor, Suburban Publisher

‘How often should I update my website?’ was just one of many questions that stemmed from the wildly popular recent webinar on the topic of Content Differentiation: How to Drive Online Audience without Cannibalizing Print. A practically standing room only crowd, figuratively speaking of course, logged in on a steamy June Thursday morning to hear what GateHouse Media’s Brad Dennison, Vice President, News & Interactive Division and his colleague David Arkin, Executive Director of the division, had to share on the topic and absolutely no one went away disappointed.

With follow up comments like “best webinar ever”, “this sheds tremendous light on important web strategy” and “super useful stuff here”, the webinar-sponsor SNA Foundation knew they hit a home run with this one and a huge debt of gratitude goes to Brad and David. There were many lessons like what content belongs online (and what does not), setting and managing online expectations, how analytics and page views help drive strategy and a quick trip around an open access resource found at www.ghnewsroom.com. We’ll report on different webinar lessons in the future with todays focus having to do with updates.

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Shona Mattingly
Shona Mattingly

By Tanya Henderson
Advertising & Membership Relations Director, SNA

SNA always includes panels of national advertisers and agencies during our yearly Publishers’ and Ad Directors’ conference (you’ll get to meet a bunch of them in Philly this fall). At the SNA Boot Camp in conjunction with the E&P Interactive Conference last week, it was only slightly different. The panel was all about online advertising and how to get more of it for newspaper’s web sites.

Shona Mattingly, Publisher of Inquiries & Visits with Centro and Spencer Griffith, Assistant Media Planner/Interactive Producer with R&R Partners discussed a number of issues when working with newspapers.

Some we’ve heard before with the print agencies — communication and standardization — although Mattingly had said she’s seen some positive movement with standardization with the introduction of the IAB ad sizes.

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Innovation & Ideas Vault Media Companies to New Heights

Mark Weber
Mark Weber, General Manager, Southwest Newspapers

By Deb Shaw
Editor, Suburban Publisher

Two very different companies but similarly minded initiatives are helping these newspaper companies transform. The key ingredients to both — employee involvement and management gets out of the way.

Innovation At Work

Early in the New Year, the SNA Foundation hosted a webinar featuring Mark Briggs, co-author of the Foundation’s latest e-course Innovation at Work: Making New Ideas Succeed. Briggs took center stage to introduce the course and the guiding principles behind the process of creating an innovative culture in the workplace. (Access his presentation here)

Among the 140 registrants drawn to this webinar was Southwest Newspapers (MN) General Manager Mark Weber, who was inspired by Briggs’ suggestion to launch innovation-minded work groups in your company to help push the process of innovation along.

Briggs’ advice: Start small. Think divide and conquer and seed each team with folks with varied areas of expertise. Establish 2 or 3 small groups and give them the authority to launch anything that the whole team agrees they should try. Give them the power to fail. Take care to pick the right people. “Avoid planners,” says Briggs. “You want do-ers.”

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What should and should not go online

GateHouse Media's Brad Dennison and David Arkin

GateHouse Media Vice President of News & Interactive Brad Dennison, left, and Director of News & Interactive David Arkin in the division’s Chicago-based offices. The GateHouse News & Interactive Division provides a wide range of training, services and support to the company’s hundreds of properties across the country. (Photo by John Cox)

With content direction responsibility for GateHouse Media, Brad Dennison has his hands in a wide range of projects but none gets a higher priority than driving and engaging audience in print and online. “Everything we do within the division is ultimately aimed at supporting that mission in some way,” says Dennison, VP of News & Interactive.

Just over a year ago, GateHouse recalibrated their digital strategy to focus on three key components: Constant updating, multimedia and reader involvement. That became a full program called “Web Cube” — a multi-dimensional approach to driving audience, executed in a consistent way across a large, spread out company.

Dennison sat down with Suburban Publisher editor Deb Shaw for the June issue of Suburban Publisher and answered a series of questions that delved into this strategy and the tools aimed at helping their local properties customize the approach to fit their specific needs. Dennison also offered a few tips from the GateHouse News & Interactive Division for better content differentiation between print and online.

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Robert Gordillo photo
Robert Gordillo, author of the zip2save.com Hispanic business plan.

By Nancy Lane
President, zip2save.com & Suburban Newspapers of America

Note: Much of the information contained in this article was produced by Robert Gordillo, author of the zip2save.com Hispanic business plan.

The U.S. Hispanic market is now over 46.9 million in population with purchasing power slated to clear $1 trillion in 2010. U.S. Hispanic purchasing power has grown at a rapid pace, more than doubling over the past two 10 year periods and has grown 100% since 2000, far outpacing that of non-Hispanic spending.

Many markets served by community media companies have a significant Hispanic population but few are able to reach this growing audience in an effective way. Those community media companies that want to do a better job reaching the Hispanic community in their markets should consider the hiring or contracting of Hispanic journalists and sales executives. A Spanish language option on your web site is also a terrific idea (although translation issues can be tricky). And be supportive of organizations and events that are organized by the Hispanic community (and be sure to cover them in print and online).

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“The problems are not uniform across the industry. Big-city papers continue to have the worst of it in these difficult times. Small dailies and community weeklies, with the exception of some that are badly positioned or badly managed, still do better. The latter come closer to the late-20th century position of newspapers as the dominant source for local information and the place for local merchants to advertise.”

By Deb Shaw
Editor, Suburban Publisher

While the news media industry has spent the last few years reeling from the financial pitfalls of the economic meltdown, declining readership and plummeting advertising revenues, small dailies and community weeklies have proved profitable, and are, increasingly, the dominant source for local coverage.

So concludes The Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s State of the News Media 2010 report, covering two areas that are of particular interest to SNA members — Newspapers and Online.

As expected, the report reveals the challenging economic state of the newspaper industry, and paints a stark picture of the woeful economic realities at many metro newspapers. However, it points out that smaller, suburban and community newspapers are faring much better economically.

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Joe Grimm photo
Joe Grimm is the visiting journalist at MSU and recently led a webinar for the SNA Foundation.

By Deb Shaw
Editor, Suburban Publisher

In his work with journalism students at Michigan State University, Joe Grimm sees it all. From curious and adventurous to completely abashed at the thought of asking subjects any sort of question, let alone impertinent & nosy ones, these kids run the gamut. Despite that, Grimm’s melting pot of undergrads often surprise him by the work they are producing in the digital space and he points to these self-taught projects as good examples of what can be done with contemporary leadership.

One of the early valuable lessons that Grimm imparted in a recent SNA Foundation-sponsored webinar about newsroom leadership was that his students are learning because he tries to make it safe for them to make a mistake and dangerous if they don’t try. That pearl of wisdom speaks volumes about culture, an element that is as important as any single thing you can do to motivate and lead your newsroom into trying and testing new ideas.

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Photo of Mel Taylor, founder of Mel Taylor Media
Mel Taylor, founder of Mel Taylor Media

By Tanya Henderson
Advertising & Membership Relations Director, SNA

SNA’s IMA webinar last week was a great primer for those interested in getting into email marketing. Mel Taylor, founder of Mel Taylor Media, a Philadelphia-based consultancy, presented a number of ideas for newspapers to consider when delving into this new revenue opportunity.

The Pros are many: It’s easy and inexpensive, you get an instant, measurable return, it allows you to drive people to your web site, it strengthens your brand, it’s customizable and email reaches virtually everyone. The Cons: Not having the resources, standards or a plan in place to make the most of your efforts.

Rule 1: You have to have a point person who will develop standards and work with department heads. This is critical because the database needs some TLC. Some of the things you have to think about — How it will be managed? How it will be cleaned/deduped? Was permission granted? How will you manage the number of emails sent? Are all the messages containing opt out opportunities to comply with SPAM laws?

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Sarah Corbitt photo
Sarah Corbitt

By Deb Shaw
Editor, Suburban Publisher

This ain’t your mother’s newspaper world anymore — we are smack dab in the middle of a seismic shift in how we produce, deliver, consume, gather and create news content. The changes we are experiencing can be unsettling to a certain extent but for those who can embrace the revolutionary aspects of shifting newspapering into its next stage of life, there is probably not a more significant time to be involved in this industry since it was born many centuries ago.

We live in a world where change is constant and every day brings a different challenge. With that in mind, I asked Sarah Corbitt, Director of Online Content Development for GateHouse Media/New England, to share some thinking with regard to the mentality of embracing change, how new ideas are developed and tried, and leadership traits that aid the cause.

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Anthony Casale photo
Anthony Casale

By Susan Karol, Ph.D.
Executive Director, SNA Foundation

During the keynote address at the recent annual convention of the New England Newspaper and Press Association in Boston, American Opinion Research CEO Anthony Casale spoke about trends in the current newspaper environment based on more than 500 media research studies they have conducted.

Mr. Casale described "Five Facts of Life in Today's Media Environment" that media executives need to understand in order to build audience in the future. These include:

  • The mass market no longer exists. Information has become a "commodity," particularly with all of the online portals now available.
  • Readers are the ones in command.
  • The franchise for some of news and information newspapers have traditionally provided is now owned by others. In one research finding, when asked "How often have you seen front page stories before picking up the newspaper?" — 44% responded 'almost always' and an additional 44% responded 'sometimes.'

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By Deb Shaw
Editor, Suburban Publisher

Your staffs are streamlined; hiring freezes are in place; and, as multi-media leaps into more channels than ever, you are facing the reality of needing to do more with less. Are you afraid to tell your already overworked and underpaid staff members that they are about to get even more work heaped on them? Well, according to the editors who contributed to Leading An Online Newsroom: What You Need to Know* point out, you shouldn't be.

The additional duties of writing for, posting and engaging your audience digitally are — perhaps surprisingly — embraced by many reporters and editors. They know what you know: The Web and its long tail are the future. Not only do they want in on it, many want to help develop and lead the many new initiatives that are part and parcel of today’s journalism.

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Mike Blinder
Mike Blinder

By Tanya Henderson
Advertising & Membership Relations Director, SNA

The hunter/farmer theory isn’t new in our industry. We’ve conducted many webinars and presentations where newspapers are actively organizing around staff that fit these updated descriptions of those that are top performers that are best cold calling for new business and those that are better with customer service and maintaining existing accounts.

What may be new is how this relates to the argument of unified or separate online staffs.

Maybe there’s a Hitch in your organization

Mike Blinder of The Blinder Group moderated a panel at the SNA/SNPA Strategic Revenue Summit titled "Stop the Insanity." Mike kicked off the session noting that rather than debate whether we should have separate online teams or not, that maybe that’s not the right question. Maybe we should consider who the reps are and not what they are selling.

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Steve Wagenlander photo
Steve Wagenlander

SNA recently conducted an audience development webinar designed to provide members with information they can use immediately to grow circulation revenue while reducing operational costs.

Steve Wagenlander, director of audience development at the Post and Courier in Charleston, South Carolina was the one and only speaker on this webinar and boy did he deliver. Wagenlander is a true industry professional with experience in every facet of circulation. The more than 100 people who registered for this webinar were glued to their computers for almost 90-minutes while Wagenlander covered everything from distribution methods to internal reporting.

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Even amidst a bad economy, newspapers will benefit in 2010 from the housing meltdown.

By Tanya Henderson
Advertising & Membership Relations Director, SNA

Someone once said that during tough times a bar will still do business; people celebrate when times are good and commiserate when they are bad. That’s kind of the thing that’s happening with real estate advertising in newspapers in 2010.

As the frenzy of home buying has come to a screeching halt, newspapers will still see a decent increase from 2009 (16%) and surprisingly, online overall will be down 4% while local online will be going up. So how is this happening?

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Lessons on how to become innovative

Photo of Mark Briggs
Mark Briggs

By Deb Shaw
Editor, Suburban Publisher

If there was an overriding theme in the lessons taught by Mark Briggs at the SNA Foundation’s first webinar of the New Year it was that, in order for innovation to be practiced at any company, people need to stop planning and start doing.

To illustrate his point, Briggs described a friend who now works as Chief Tech Officer at a local startup in the Seattle area but who had previously worked in a corporate environment in which he managed hundreds. In his former corporate life, the friend tells Briggs that he spent about 80% of his time planning and about 20% doing; in sharp contrast, at the startup company where he now works, he spends only about 5% of his time planning and 95% doing. Marked difference. Old thinking/new thinking; old normal/new normal; legacy company/startup company. There are lessons here folks.

When Briggs took center stage in mid-January to lead the Innovation At Work: An Introduction webinar, he attracted quite an audience — both in quantity and diversity — which speaks volumes about the desire among suburban and community media company staffers to further their practices and thinking when it comes to breaking new ground at their legacy newspaper companies. Briggs’ webinar attracted almost 140 registrants and virtually every job title was represented. Publishers, editors, web managers, ad sales account execs and managers, audience development supervisors, market research folks and more — you name it and that registration list had it. Another testament to the appeal of this topic among local media types.

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By Deb Shaw
Editor, Suburban Publisher

All problems are opportunities.
The bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity.
Never miss an opportunity to be fabulous.

What great lines and, coming from the mouth of the infectious Tina Seelig in her talk at Stanford University’s Entrepreneurship Corner, they make eminent sense. This is a very bright woman who heads up Stanford’s Technology Ventures Program and she delivered a speech about The Art of Teaching Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Despite her highfalutin pedigree of advanced degrees and professional accomplishments, she is as down to earth and easy to identify with as you can possibly imagine.

Every newspaper manager should give a listen to her podcast. It’s about 50 minutes long and well worth your time — I guarantee you’ll walk away uplifted and ready for bear. And, you’ll hear how she turned coffee into a helicopter ride over Santiago, Chile. No kidding.

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By Susan Karol, Ph.D.
Executive Director, SNA Foundation

Graduate journalism students participating in the fall Interactive Innovation Project class at Northwestern University’s Medill School recently published a white paper regarding the current status of obituary publishing in the face of changes in technology and audience behavior. The project’s faculty advisers were Rich Gordon, Associate Professor and Director of Digital Innovation; and Owen Youngman, Knight Professor of Digital Media Strategy. Legacy.com Inc., the Evanston, Illinois-based online aggregator of newspaper death notices which partners with more than 800 newspapers, sponsored the project.

The class’ comprehensive report, The State of the American Obituary, traces the history and practice of publishing obituaries and death notices, noting their importance to local newspaper publishers as both a category of content and as a revenue stream. They assert that this is an area where newspapers today still retain a dominant market share.

However, the students found that new user- and family-driven interactive forms of remembering the dead — on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace as well as stand-alone memorial sites and services — are increasingly attracting audience members of all ages who want not only to read about their friends and loved ones, but also to participate in the commemorations. As a result, the media landscape for obituaries is changing, and newspapers must adapt or risk losing readership and revenue in this category.

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Nine Questions for Greg Welteroth, CEO, Gregory Welteroth Advertising

Photo of Greg Welteroth
Greg Welteroth, CEO
Gregory Welteroth Advertising

By Deb Shaw
Editor, Suburban Publisher

Editor's Note: This Q&A feature continues the discussion that originally appeared in the January 2010 issue of Suburban Publisher.

A New Year might just be the perfect time to sniff out a new opportunity and Greg Welteroth has one for you. Welteroth proposes that every suburban and community newspaper consider the Pay for Performance proposition that Pella® Windows is offering via Greg Welteroth Advertising.

#1. You were on the Emerging Business Models panel at the recent SNA Fall Conference and when you made your opening remarks, you could practically hear a pin drop because the audience was so enraptured by your passionate comments about the local newspaper industry. Where does that passion come from?

I started my advertising career at a newspaper called the Grit, a Sunday paper with a 50,000 circulation. My job: sell advertising to people 35 miles away with only 4,500 circulation in their region. My challenge: get these people to pay the ad rates of a 50,000 circulation paper.

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By Ben Smith
Social Media Manager
Lawrence Journal-World / The World Company

Social media is more than an online fad. It’s changing the way we communicate with each other and with our communities. Here at the World Company, we have a tradition of embracing new technology, and of being leaders in news and communications. Many people in our organization have been using Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace — personally and professionally — since the networks were born. But we think that everyone in our company — from the customer rep in our cable TV division to the newspaper circulation manager — should be engaged in social media. So, over the last few months we’ve been implementing some major changes to include social media in our daily operations across all divisions of our organization.

A big part of social media is to be transparent and open, so here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how we’re embracing social media.

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Photo of Marc Wilson
Marc Wilson

By Marc Wilson
General Manager
TownNews.com

Rupert Murdoch is in the headlines for threatening to block Google from indexing his newspaper web sites, but community newspaper publisher Mark Roby in South Dakota is already doing so — and has been for years.

Roby, publisher of the Public Opinion in Watertown, S.D., is a long-time personal friend (and former TownNews.com board member). We often talk about the impact of the Internet on newspapers, and several years ago I told him we can block Google and other major search engines from crawling and indexing sites. He asked that we do so.

Google, Yahoo and the other reputable search engines have honored the block. (Less reputable Internet companies won't honor the blocks, and when we set up technical roadblocks to stop their spiders, they will intentionally end-run our blocks.)

"Our philosophy," Roby said, "has been to not allow aggregators to crawl through our site. As with our print product, we want readers to come to our 'front page' and then go inside...."

When Internet gurus speak, they often will talk about "Internet 2.0," which — in brief — means a search-based Internet. Under "Internet 1.0", readers had to go to specific web sites and drill down to find information. So, for example, if readers wanted news about the Chicago Cubs they would go to chicagotribune.com, click on sports, then click on the baseball link, then the Cubs link. At every step along the way, the readers were exposed to advertising.

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By Deb Shaw
Editor, Suburban Publisher

Put the power of individual thought to work for your company

Did you see the report on the news recently about the groom who had just said his “I Do’s” and instead of leaning in to kiss his blushing bride, he pulled out his smart phone to update his marital status on Facebook? Traditionalists were no doubt horrified by such a social gaffe; but that singular act reflects the immediacy of conveying news when it’s important to the person who wants to tell it. There is a lesson here folks.

Social media has been getting lots of ink lately — it’s the current wave coming in from the swells of the big deep unknown of the technology evolution. Strategies abound for utilizing these tools to both disseminate and collect news; for connecting and engaging audiences in narrow channels; and for popularizing and embedding staff writers on more personal levels in the community they serve. SNA has hosted several webinars on relative aspects including a recent discussion on Real Time Syndication, Facebook & Twitter — How To Make These Tools Work In Your Online Newsroom featuring The Hour Company’s Web Development Director Matt Terenzio.

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Matt Terenzio photo
Matt Terenzio, Web Development Director at the Hour Company (CT).

By Deb Shaw
Editor, Suburban Publisher

Lessons on Real Time Web

As Matt Terenzio put it, when we talk about real time web, we’re talking about a change in the way the internet is used. “Twitter and others have set the table and the growing sentiment is that all services must catch up to become real time or become irrelevant,” says Terenzio, Web Development Director for The Hour Company in Norwalk, CT.

This very topic was the center of discussion when Terenzio presented at a recent SNA Foundation-sponsored webinar. He started his presentation by suggesting that he should have delayed talking for just a few seconds to see how many people got itchy... and to make a point. If a few seconds of silence occur in a real life conversation you think there’s something wrong and that’s almost the case in real time web — while a slight delay of a few seconds or even a minute is currently a natural aspect of the real time web, too much of a delay and the user is off to another source. A delay of many minutes is probably too long to satisfy user’s expectations — that’s the reality for today’s typical web user and newsrooms are wise to plan real time web strategies accordingly.

The speed at which web usage is changing is almost as fast as the flow of information on sites like Twitter. Social networks today are huge factors in the real time web and in driving traffic to your websites. While not the end game — and who knows what’s coming next — Twitter and Facebook are certainly active players in today’s user universe and they are valuable tools for newsrooms to attract users and to collect/distribute news & information. Become a pro at using these tools today and you will more easily adapt to whatever comes next because real time web is only moving forward.

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Clip or Click coupons graphic
Clip or Click coupons are also a great way to MAKE money, especially if you're part of the zip2save.com initiative. If you haven’t yet investigated zip2save.com, e-mail tanya.henderson@suburban-news.org to find out how you can learn more.

By Deb Shaw
Editor, Suburban Publisher

The folks at Black Press know a good sales opportunity when they see one — they’re currently generating between $7,000 and $12,000 per newspaper each month by applying a systematic approach to a coupon wrap combined with the online shopping web site flyerland.ca, the Canadian version of zip2save.com, and there’s no reason why zip2save.com partners here in the States can’t replicate this approach with equally good results.

For those who haven’t yet joined the zip2save.com initiative, this ‘Clip or Click’ new revenue stream is just another of the many reasons that you should be on board with this important and innovative business enterprise. Learn more about zip2save.com by joining one of the informational webinars listed at the end of this report.

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Len Kubas photo
Len Kubas spoke about modular advertising at SNA's 2009 Fall Publishers’ & Advertising Directors’ conference.

By Deb Shaw
Editor, Suburban Publisher

Editors Note — Len Kubas is President of Kubas Consultants, Toronto, revenue growth and publishing strategy advisors to newspapers and was a panelist at the SNA Fall Publishers’ & Advertising Directors’ Conference earlier this year. In a session devoted to Emerging Business Models for Community Newspapers and Web Sites, Kubas talked about a conversion to modular advertising which involves overhauling traditional newspaper rates away from charging by the column inch or agate line.

In a follow up to that presentation, Kubas answered a series of questions about modular advertising. The initial part of this article is printed in the November issue of Suburban Publisher. I asked the questions. The answers are straight from Len Kubas.

#1 You recently spoke at the SNA Fall Conference on the panel concerning Emerging Business Models and in particular, about the need for pricing reform in the arena of print advertising rates. What’s the basis for your call for reform?

This will surprise your readers, but NAA numbers prove that daily newspapers have been losing ad revenues since Q2, 2000 (“the tipping point”). The decline has been going on for nearly a decade. It’s not something that began three or four years ago.

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Change logo

The SNA Foundation has sponsored three NewsU e-learning modules to help editors and their newsrooms make the transition to multi-media publishing: Leading an Online Newsroom: What You Need to Know, Build and Engage Local Audiences Online and Layout Driven Editing: A Seminar Snapshot. These are FREE of charge, thanks to the SNA Foundation and a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and already over 2,000 suburban and community journalists have already taken these interactive, self paced and relevant courses — enroll today and start learning. Many editors are using the courses as training tools with staff. Learn more

By Deb Shaw

In a recent post on SNA’s editorial forum, I asked “What are some of the challenges that editors are facing when it comes to managing an online newsroom?” An editor from Maryland posted a summary of challenges that seem fairly universal:

1. Getting old print reporters to follow a 15-minute deadline.

2. Staying on top of breaking news while maintaining the integrity of the facts.

3. Competing with the blogs and local news Web sites that will throw up any old press release in minutes, while we're still on the phone trying to confirm information and build on the release.

4. We're striving, like everyone else, to find ways to keep from giving everything away when we're a paid publication. It seems like a losing battle.

Let’s go in order to discuss some of the solutions that peers have discussed in webinars, in the NewsU e-learning courses that the SNA Foundation have sponsored and in response to direct inquiries about overcoming these challenges.

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Photo of David Joyner
David Joyner is executive news editor for Community Newspaper Holdings Inc.

From a presentation by CNHI Executive News Editor David Joyner with some excellent points worth sharing and discussing.

Summarized by: Jim Santori, Publisher, The Free Press, Mankato Magazine, Minnesota Valley Business Magazine, The Land

#1 Begin with Page One.

  • Basics: Do you read the paper daily? Does everyone in your newsroom? Is Page One prominent in the newsroom beside that of the local competition? Is Page One compelling, interesting, informative, satisfying?
  • Lead story: Does the top story compel me to read, act or react? Do verbs reach out and pull me into the headline, then into the story? Will the headline stop me as I walk by the box?
  • Lead photo: Does a dominant photo convey action or emotion?
  • Why do I care? Does each story give me a clear reason to keep reading? How does it affect me? Why do I care? Imagine yourself as an average reader — your mother, your neighbor — not the editor or publisher of a local newspaper.
  • Does it make sense? Do you understand the stories? Are obvious questions left unanswered? Are stories bogged down in process, government speak, jargon, clichés, acronyms?
  • Non-local stories: Are they relevant? Why will readers care about that national story? Why does it matter to them?

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By Deb Shaw

In a highly anticipated recent SNA webinar about Real Estate Advertising Online, a large audience took part in the web based seminar to hear what Peter Conti of Borrell Associates had to say about the current state of real estate online ad spending, and in particular, to better understand where the market is headed as it relates to community newspapers.

Conti more than delivered — he not only provided a good basic understanding of current and forecasted online ad spending but served up a healthy dose of strategic moves that local newspaper companies should be implementing now to capture their share of the tremendous growth that’s forecasted for online advertising in general and for the real estate category in particular.

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Conference attendee photo
Jon Rust, center, with Jack Robb, right, and Gareth Charter share a moment in Kansas City last week.

By Deb Shaw

Crowned with crystalline blue skies and wall to wall sunshine, Kansas City opened her arms to hundreds of media professionals last week and the embrace was strong and renewing. The spectacular weather and surrounding Country Club Plaza district with its stunning architecture and lively fountains seemed to mirror the disposition of those gathered for the SNA Fall Publishers’ and Advertising Managers’ Conference — confident, eager and bullish in their continued pursuit of leveraging the unique position that community media holds in markets across North America.

According to E&P’s Jennifer Saba, who moderated the keynote session, “I was pleasantly surprised when I landed in Kansas City earlier (last) week for the Suburban Newspapers of America annual fall publishers' conference. The mood was extremely lively — not wake-lively either. I'm not the only one who noticed. Take it from John Cribb, principal of Cribb, Greene & Associates, who surely has one of the most difficult jobs in the world as a newspaper broker. Cribb noted a change in attitude this year compared to last: Community newspaper publishers and executives have a sense of optimism that was nowhere to be found in 2008.”

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Photo of Nancy Lane and Margaretha Engstrom
SNA President Nancy Lane, left, and Margaretha Engstrom, Swedish publisher and creator of the layout driven editing practice, at the SNA Spring Publishers' Conference earlier this year.

Changing copy editing practices in your newsroom can get you additional reporters on the street, drive more productive involvement from all newsroom staffers and boost efficiency.

By Deb Shaw

Every editor and publisher who is reading this should spend 30 minutes to hear what Margaretha Engstrom has to say about the topic of Layout Driven Editing. Thanks to the SNA Foundation, you can do so for free by clicking through to the latest in a series of e-learning modules professionally produced by the NewsU division of Poynter Institute. This one is found at www.newsu.org/layoutdrivenediting.

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graphic
Every Sunday during the promotion The Daily Journal touted the value of the in-paper coupons for that day. This element has continued since the promotion ended.

Promotion stressed value during tough economy

By Deb Shaw

What a hoot to watch the difference between a senior citizen and a Gen Y’er make a 90 second dash for free groceries around their local supermarket. Gloria Toledo sauntered along very politely, taking only what she could really use and even declined any more items although she had a few more seconds on her timer. Justin Morrison, on the other hand, raced through the aisles making a beeline for — you guessed it — meat, meat and more meat. He made a quick stop for frozen shrimp and chicken nuggets, probably to pacify wife and little one waiting nearby, before the timer halted his grab of $590 worth of groceries.

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Bears That Care charity event ad
The house ad that the Fergus-Elora News Express used to generate interest in their "Bears That Care" charity event.

Read through for a Halloween idea, too!

By Deb Shaw

Is there a new holiday shopping promotion in a news release?

I regularly receive briefings from the Center for Media Research that, to put it politely, are a little dry. Sure the info these briefings contain is useful to understanding current dynamics about important issues like Teen Health Perceptions and Health Care Reform but for the most part, they’re not the most exciting read of the day.

In today’s inbox, however, I learned that holiday shoppers, according to new research from Information Resources, will take a “more strategic approach to holiday shopping this year and are heading into stores with shopping lists and a budget in mind.”

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Redesigned ledgernews.com screenshot
A screenshot of the redesigned home page of ledgernews.com.

By Deb Shaw

Convergence. We’ve heard the term a lot lately, especially as it applies to print and web publishing but this time it’s about a 19 year old, non-newspaper computer guy and an old model newspaper website that was screaming for an overhaul. Converge the two is what publisher Dave Caughman did in Cherokee County, Georgia and the upshot is...well, see for yourself at www.ledgernews.com.

The twist in the story comes early — the teen-aged computer guy is also the publisher’s son.

“Nick is a nineteen year old who has excelled in computer skills since a very young age. He has built many computers and then started learning about web design. He is self taught at every level,” boasts Dad, err Publisher Caughman. Interestingly, Nick’s view of his dad’s old website and most newspaper sites in general was that most were less than praiseworthy and, given the chance, he wanted to put a GenY spin on ledgernews.com.

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Jim Santori photo
Jim Santori

By Deb Shaw

Newsroom leaders in community and suburban media companies today are challenged to do more with less, to multi-task with multimedia, to overcome technical obstacles which often include arcane front end systems & out of date equipment, and to deal with seemingly endless hurdles be they competitive pressures, fiscal restraints, or warp speed changes in consumer expectations relative to new media. The business these days is definitely not for the faint of heart.

But, for those who have got the tenacity and willingness to position their companies to take full advantage of the audience-attracting new and emerging methods of content delivery and the inevitable economic rebound, there’s probably never been a more seminal time for true leaders to guide the way in local newsrooms.

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Millbury-Sutton Chronicle front page photo
The Millbury-Sutton Chronicle (August 6, 2009)

By Deb Shaw

Imagine buying a twenty-one year old local weekly newspaper in 2007 and then factor in the economic chaos and industry commotion that’s ensued in the interim. With the aid of hindsight and 2009 style wisdom, would you do it again? No doubt Gareth Charter would, and for very good reason. The property has seen continuous growth in both circulation and ad revenue since the new owners, Holden Landmark Corporation, took over two years ago and the future continues to look very bright indeed.

The Millbury-Sutton Chronicle in suburban Worcester, Massachusetts was previously owned by local residents Alec and Andree Belisle who were and remain very deeply rooted in the community. “They know everyone in town,” says Holden Landmark Publisher Charter who credits their deep roots and uncompromising commitment to a local, local, local mission as ingredients in the initial appeal. In fact, Alec continues to be active in the community and sits on the board of the local credit union.

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