Home' Local Media Today : June 2012 Contents 14 | LOCAL MEDIA TODAY | June 2012
Four first-place awards lead the list of 12
awards won by the St. Tammany News at the
recent Louisiana Press Association convention.
The paper received the first place awards for
Best Best editorial page, Best news story (by
Suzanne Le Breton), Best sports story (by
Mike Pervel) and Best retailer ad (by Sheila
Award-winning staff members of the St.
Tammany News News-Banner and Slidell
Sentry-News are, from left, Suzanne LeBreton,
Mike Pervel and Sheila Allemand. (Staff Photo
by Debbie Glover)
NEWSPAPER WINS FOUR FIRST-PLACE
AWARDS AT STATE CONVENTION
25 SUBURBAN WEEkLIES LAUNCH IN OHIO
More than two dozen community newspapers in central Ohio made their debut
recently. The new weeklies incorporate the most-popular elements of the weeklies
previously produced by ThisWeek Community Newspapers and Suburban News
The changes stemmed from last fall’s acquisition of Suburban News Publications and
the other central Ohio holdings of American Community Newspapers by The Dispatch
Printing Company, ThisWeek’s corporate parent and publisher of The Dispatch
The consolidated newspapers have a combined circulation of 327,559 and are
published in a 14-inch-deep, tab-style format. The weeklies bear the overarching
ThisWeek brand — although their nameplates vary by community.
Two companion websites, ThisWeekNEWS.com and ThisWeek-SPORTS.com,
feature the content contained in all 25 weeklies, as well as breaking news and video
and photo galleries.
The company spent several months researching — through surveys and focus
groups — what readers wanted to see in the consolidated weeklies.
The results shaped the newspapers that made their recent debut, said Roy Biondi,
group publisher for ThisWeek Community News. “We are excited to launch this
combined product and aim to do a better job than ever at providing committed local
coverage for our communities,” Biondi said, promising that the weeklies will be a
“powerhouse product for readers and advertisers.”
DIGITAL FIRST MEDIA ANNOUNCES
12 NEW COMMUNITY NEWSROOM PROJECTS
Digital First Media is launching 12 new community newsroom projects, as it con-
tinues to seek ways to more effectively engage and involve its local readers. These
community newsroom projects seek to build on the success of the Newsroom Café
launched by the Register Citizen in Torrington, Conn., an experiment that led to the
Register Citizen being named the 2011 Innovator of the Year by the Associated Press
The 12 new projects will use a variety of methods to involve the community in
reporting news, issues and events in the cities, suburbs and towns covered by Digital
“We didn’t want to replicate the Newsroom Café in other newsrooms,” said Steve
Buttry, Director of Community Engagement and Social Media for Digital First. “What
we’re trying to do is apply some of the principles of the Newsroom Café to the unique
circumstances of other communities and draw on the creativity of our local staff
members the same way we did with that project.”
Four of the new projects will involve “mobile community media labs,” which will equip
vans with computers and wi-fi hot spots for engagement throughout the regions covered
by their newsrooms, For instance, The San Jose Mercury News will use a van that includes
an awning and portable furniture to create a “pop-up living room,” so staff members
can lead classes and meetings throughout the Silicon Valley region the Merc covers.
Two of the projects will involve partnerships with local communities. In Michigan, for
instance, Heritage Media will operate its community newsroom at Eastern Michigan
University in Ypsilanti, Mich. The Heritage staff will engage with the public at the
Spark East business incubator, training bloggers and offering computers and wi-fi
for public use.
Projects in two other Digital First communities will provide rooms for community
use at the sites of the newsrooms. An example of this is in Pottstown, PA where The
Mercury is already using a room at its offices for community meetings and events.
The project will provide the room with computers, a microfilm reader and furniture
for daily use by the community as well as special events.
Four projects will seek to engage the community through existing facilities such
as in North Adams, MA. The North Adams Transcript will host weekly meetings to
discuss news in the community. The meetings will include a book swap, because the
community no longer has a bookstore.
Nearly two dozen other Digital First newsrooms have proposed further community
newsroom projects that remain under consideration. In addition to the Torrington
project, other community newsrooms are in various stages of development in the
company, including one opening later this year in downtown Oakland, CA, another
ready to open soon in Lansdale, PA, and one opened last year in West Chester, PA.
“We want all our newsrooms to engage their communities in multiple ways – on our
websites, social media, blogs, text messages and print products, but also in person,”
Buttry said. “We are pleased that so many of our newsrooms will be expanding the
ways that we reach out in person in our communities.”
From Net News Check
Patch.com, a network of small-town news sites owned by AOL, has emerged at
the center of a tug of war over the Internet company’s future, Keach Hagey reports
The high cost of running the local-news sites has fueled a campaign by dissident
investor Starboard Value LP against AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong’s strategy of
investing heavily in online content.
Starboard, which is waging a proxy battle to win several seats on AOL’s board at June’s
annual meeting, says that Patch should be closed, sold or put into a joint venture,
with a partner sharing the cost.
PATCH NEEDS PATCHING
Dirks, Van Essen & Murray
AMERICAN COMMUNITY NEWSPAPERS
HPR HEMLOCK LLC
We are pleased to have represented
American Community Newspapers in this transaction.
Santa Fe, NM t: 505.820.2700 f: 505.820.2900
LEESBURG (VA) TODAY
44,853 weekly circulation
ASHBURN (VA) TODAY
23,704 weekly circulation
ARLINGTON (VA) SUN GAZETTE
26,480 weekly circulation
GREAT FALLS, MCLEAN, OAKTON,
VIENNA (VA) SUN GAZETTE
39,647 weekly circulation
and a collection of niche publications including
Loudon Magazine, Loudon Business, and Middleburg Life
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