Home' Local Media Today : April 2005 Contents Editors note:A special
event held at The
Michigan City, IN,
part of a Chamber
Business After Hours /
Open House to the
community, had the
town abuzz recently
thinks other SNA
members might have
some fun with it in
According to Woolsey,
“We were looking for
a way to break out of
the tried and true
open house events -
and based on
response, looks like
we’ve been very suc-
Filed by Publisher Leonard Woolsey.
The News-Dispatch held a special
Chamber of Commerce after-hours event
featuring a surprise event: a murder.
With over 200 community members
present, publisher Leonard Woolsey
stumbled out of his office shortly after 5
PM, dropping to the floor before the
stunned crowd. Someone called for a
doctor – and the LaPorte County
Coroner stepped out to quickly take the
victim’s pulse. After declaring the pub-
lisher dead another frantic call went out
for the police – at which time the
Michigan City Police Chief stepped for-
ward from the crowd. Within minutes his
investigation led to the arrest of a popu-
lar local caterer, leading the alleged
killer out the front door in hand cuffs
before a stunned crowd.
Well, sort of.
Maybe the LaPorte County Coroner and
Michigan City Police Chief were plants.
Maybe the caterer knew about the hoax,
too. And maybe, just maybe, I was fak-
ing the entire ordeal. But it sure made for
a great “buzz” in the community!
We’re always on the prowl for ways to
generate positive PR – and our little
murder mystery seems to be a success.
Feedbacks from those present are calling
this the best event of its kind they’ve
ever attended. Local people who were
not able to attend are calling to say
they’ve heard how exciting the “murder
mystery” was – and wondered if I
was feeling better.
The newspaper produced a souvenir
front page for those in attendance to
show firsthand “how a newspaper works
when news breaks”. Reporters, on cue,
fanned out into the crowd to gather clues
I’d dropped in the first half-hour, inter-
viewing dozens of guests.
Visitors then toured the newsroom as the
reporters filed stories and the city desk
took over editing and creating the page
design. The entire project took 1-hour to
complete – with hawkers calling “extra,
extra, publisher poisoned” as the finished
edition came available.
A big win for everyone: the local cham-
ber, the community and The News-
Dispatch. Employees are still buzzing
with excitement. From a business stand-
point everyone in attendance also
received a gift bag with a special sub-
scription offer inside and the staff effec-
tively networked the room. Plus, the
caterer had such a good time he came
back and set up a luncheon for the staff -
According to Woolsey “The buzz is still
running through town as I continue to
receive get well emails and phone calls.
The best: my wife received a “sorry for
your loss” card from the “convicted
caterer” with a return address from the
Michigan City Jail. The reporters had a
blast writing the stories in “tongue in
“Oh, and yes, I am feeling better. Thanks
Woolsey is happy to share his idea and
can be reached at 219.874.7211 ext. 400
Ripped from the headlines of their newspaper...
Murder at The News-Dispatch
About 200 community members were in attendance at this inno-
vative approach to the standard business card exchange. Every
attendee received a souvenier edition that was produced live as
the events of the evening unfolded.
solo mail). Suburban newspapers,
according to Cleary, play an “important
role given that the majority of our stores
are still located in the suburbs.” He
added that suburban papers are critical in
providing coverage of the retail trading
zones and commented that the editorial
content of suburban newspapers
absolutely enhance the relevance factor
that’s important to Lowe’s media strate-
Lowe’s prefers audited, paid circulation
newspapers and wants to be able to
selectively choose distribution zones that
go well below the zip code level. Cost
efficiency and quality editorial content
remain vitally important.
As the company looks ahead Lowe’s has,
like many larger retailers, changing
expectations and they expect media part-
ners to change along with them.
Database marketing is driving the need
for more targeted distribution options
while financial accountability and ROI is
a top priority. Lowe’s is eager to contin-
ue its’ long, successful relationship with
newspapers and urges database sharing
and more selective distribution options
as ways to enhance the partnership.
Cleary reminded publishers that he and
his team control the ad budget complete-
ly at the corporate level with no local
budgets given to store managers
although, despite no local budgets,
Cleary admits that he often hears from
store managers with opinions about
where they think media dollars should be
spent. Cleary encouraged the audience to
work through TNN when pursuing the
Lowe’s ad business.
TNN’s Jeff Dietz, based in the Atlanta,
GA office was also in attendance at the
conference and made himself available
to SNA members throughout the week.
Lowe’s Kevin Cleary
addresses SNA group
Continued from page 3
Look for SNA’s advertising & promotions contest
forms and materials in the mail this month. Entries
must be postmarked by May 13. More info page 11.
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