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Entries for the 'SNA Foundation' Category

The November LMIA report focuses on the subject of social media policies. Take a look at different practices being employed by media companies of various sizes. The report also provides helpful links and examples of several social media policies that might be worth adopting at your company.

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Week-long study tour includes visits to Facebook and Plug and Play Tech CenterInnovastion Mission

A terrific agenda has been planned for the 2013 Local Media Foundation Innovation Mission. A visit to Facebook headlines the list of innovative media and technology company meetings this year along with The Plug and Play Tech Center, one of Silicon Valley's leading start-up business accelerators. 

Innovation Mission attendees will also meet with top executives from the San Francisco Chronicle, The McClatchy Company and The Denver Post/AdTaxi. In addition to these confirmed meetings, Twitter and Craigslist have also been invited; we are working on final confirmation details with each of them.

Attendance is limited to the first 24 people that register and we expect to sell out! READ MORE>>

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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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This six-day tour is scheduled for November 4 through November 9, 2012 and includes stops in Washington DC, New York City and Chicago, IL.

Local Media Association Members can register for this study tour at WAN-IFRA member rates.
Join media professionals from around the world as they visit some of the top digital innovators in the US and learn what platforms and technologies they are using and how they make money with digital.

Highlights include stops at The New York Times, Associated Press and The Daily in New York. You’ll experience Election Day first-hand in Washington D.C and be the guest of the sales team at the Washington Times. In addition, you’ll meet with Gordon Borrell, CEO, Borrell Associates and visit The Chicago Tribune and Cars.com in Chicago.

Topics discussed along the way include:

  • Successful digital campaigns
  • Cross-media campaigns/packages
  • Platforms and products: what is offered and in what packages
  • Prices for digital advertising products
  • Process/workflow: cooperation with media agencies or direct sale?
  • How is the sales team organized: how companies make sure that they have the digital expertise

Complete program details are available on the WAN-IFRA web site at:
http://www.wan-ifra.org/events/study-tour-digital-advertising-strategies

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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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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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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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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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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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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.

 

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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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Live from the WAN-IFRA Study Tour

By Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association

A&N Media, parent company of The Daily Mail and Metro (London), wanted to develop ideas from the ground up.

After visiting companies like Starbuck's, Dell, Virgin Atlantic and Glaxo Smith Kline, the head of their "Idea Management Process" launched their idea factory web site - Let's Start Something Brilliant.

This provides a platform for employees to share their ideas. A top prize is offered ($500 Pounds + a share of the profit) and lots of subsidiary prizes. The winner will also be part of the new idea implementation team.

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

The SNA Foundation has released the full report from its recent ground-breaking research study examining newspaper Web site users’ views about user-submitted content on newspaper Web sites, funded by a grant from the McCormick Foundation.

This free comprehensive report includes extensive executive summary, conclusions and detailed findings from this large study.

More than 3,000 randomly-chosen newspaper Web site users completed online surveys regarding their opinions on whether newspaper Web sites should accept user-generated content, what types of user submissions would be acceptable, how newspapers should manage and regulate these contributions, whether the newspaper’s credibility or integrity is comprised by the acceptance of this material, and more. In addition, more than 200 community newspaper editors and publishers were surveyed to gain their insight on these issues and add perspective to the public study.

Results show that newspaper Web site users do want the ability to participate on these sites. In particular, they are interested in sharing their opinions; such as providing comments on staff-generated stories, posting opinions, contributing to forum discussions, and providing reviews. When asked as to the value of user-submitted content, the most cited response was that this citizen participation allows for diverse points of view. Nearly half of the survey respondents have posted content on a newspaper Web site in the past and more than three-quarters have posted to non-newspaper sites.

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Learn how to initiate new ideas and make them succeed in the latest in a series of free e-learning courses sponsored by the Suburban Newspapers of America (SNA) Foundation. Innovation at Work: Making New Ideas Succeed is now available. The course is professionally produced by Poynter Institute’s News University division.

Innovation at Work logo

If innovation were sold at a store, out of a catalog or on the Web, businesses would snap it up because innovation is so difficult to define, design and, yes, divine.

The next best thing to buying this elusive process of inventing or introducing something new is the latest in a series of e-learning modules from the SNA Foundation: Innovation at Work: Making New Ideas Succeed. And, no purchase necessary — this 4th e-learning course sponsored by the SNA Foundation and produced by The Poynter Institute’s NewsU division is now ready for the taking at no charge, thanks to a generous grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Access the course at www.newsu.org/Innovation.

“Innovation is not something that always comes easily or naturally but it definitely can be learned,” says Susan Karol, Executive Director of the SNA Foundation. “This extremely well written course is chock full of information about how both organizations and individuals within organizations can start to look at their business differently and become innovative, a key in helping business forge new paths and make needed changes for a successful future.”

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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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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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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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Individual Giving Campaign Kicks Off and Pledges Are Urged

Giving Brochure cover graphic
Click here to learn more about the Foundation’s Giving Campaign

With the theme of “The Cause Is Personal...For All Of Us” the SNA Foundation (a 501(c)(3) charitable trust affiliated with SNA), has officially kicked off its’ individual giving campaign. All donations are tax deductible and the goal is to raise $250,000 over the balance of the calendar year. Every penny raised will be used to further the Foundation’s mission of helping suburban and community publishers make the digital transition successfully. “We want to provide much needed research and information to community publishers to help them develop successful business models on the digital side so that our industry can continue to inform and engage the local citizenry,” said SNA President Nancy Lane.

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By Deb Shaw

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Ann Hoffman: “It would surprise me if there are many folks in our business who are still resisting using the web for breaking stories.”

“It would surprise me if there are many folks in our business who are still resisting using the web for breaking stories,” says Publisher Ann Hoffman who runs The Daily Advance in Elizabeth City, NC, as well as several non-daily newspapers in the region. Yet, at a recent SNA Foundation-sponsored webinar (Topic: Small Staff Can Make A Big Web Presence), one participant challenged the notion of putting news on the web first, arguing that doing so would be a threat to their single copy and subscription sales. No doubt, he is not alone in his concern.

Is there an approach that can combine these two perspectives for the benefit of both mediums? You bet there is but hold on a minute... the approach can come with a price. Daily Kingston (NY) Publisher Ira Fusfeld points out that posting an exclusive story for the web gives your competitors a heads up, enabling them to match it on line and in print. “That creates a tug of war here between the old thinking and the new. On the one hand, we want our exclusive in print. On the other hand, we want to be first with the story on the web,” comments Fusfeld.

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