2015 Innovator of the Year nominees focus on audience

By Lucas Schmidt
Ball State University

Attendees of the ASNE-APME conference will vote Sunday on who deserves the Innovator of the Year award. For the past nine years, the coveted APME award has been given to the organizations that best demonstrate ingenuity and success in their journalistic content. This year’s nominees are:

Los Angeles News Group

Screen Shot 2015-10-17 at 12.21.02 PM

In order to keep up with the regularly changing landscape of journalism, LANG put together a think tank of staff members to determine the best ways to get their content into the hands of their audience.

“Sometimes we think through problems. Sometimes we debate through problems, which has made it a lot of fun. But a lot of interesting things come out of it. New ideas and new tests that we can run to see what works and how we can be creative to push the envelope on new opportunities,” said Shawna Federoff, director of audience engagement.

Meeting every two weeks, the Audience Growth and Engagement Team (A-Team for short), brought together representatives from all departments of LANG such as advertising, marketing and circulation.

After the A-Team came together, LANG recorded a 40 percent increase in unique visitors, a 147 percent increase in social referrals and a 25.6 percent increase in search referrals; all of which were year over year.

“This team is about our audience, and about finding the best user experience for them. Because if we don’t achieve that, if we don’t give them the best experience, then they’re not going to be our audience for very long,” said Daniel Tedford, digital news director.

The presentation for LANG’s nomination will be presented by Michael Anastasi, senior vice president of news and executive editor of LANG.

Boston Herald

boston herald radio

Roughly two year ago, Boston Herald launched its Boston Herald Radio. In that time it has become a mainstay for the organization that helps invigorate its other content online and in print. By bringing influential people and newsmakers on to the station, Boston Herald is able to draw traffic and then direct them to other related content.

“It feeds and drives our news organization,” said Zuri Berry, deputy managing editor for multimedia. “That’s the real innovation there is that it feeds and drives our whole news organization. I think that’s what’s cool about it, and it’s why everyone here is a champion of it. It’s a fantastic platform and it’s created an outside influence from what, to be honest, would otherwise be just a regular mid-size newspaper in a metro city.”

Boston Herald Radio guests have included two Democratic presidential candidates, and 12 Republican presidential candidates including Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham, Rand Paul and Bobby Jindal. Other notable figures interviewed have been the mayor and police commissioner of Boston. These interviews act as a starting point for many stories that also are covered in video, online and in print.

“The process starts on Herald Radio and it flows throughout the newsroom,” said Berry. “I think for us, as it is for every news organization, it’s all about expanding the reach of our journalism. Expanding the reach of our journalism has allowed us to increase the name of The Herald and also internally it’s allowed for people who may have been skeptical in the newsroom to really look at it and say ‘You know, this has been a good thing for us.’”

The presentation for Boston Herald’s nomination will be presented by Zuri Berry, deputy managing editor for multimedia, Tom Shattuck, executive producer, and Joe Sciacca, editor-in-chief.

The Oklahoman

the oklahoman downtown big screen

The area surrounding the intersection of Sheridan and Robinson avenues. in downtown Oklahoma City is experiencing a lot of renovation and growth. At the intersection sits the home of The Oklahoman, and a 42-foot wide and, two stories tall monitor.

Displaying everything from tweets to breaking news to Instagram photos, the Downtown Big Screen is sure to catch the attention of anyone walking within its view.

“Some of the feedback we’ve received from people is like, ‘wow, this is like Time Square come to Oklahoma City,’” said Dave Morris, director of video at The Oklahoman. “This is a great opportunity for the Oklahoman and Oklahoma City to engage as a community and share stories and headlines not just in a one-way manner, but perhaps as an ongoing conversation.”

The presentation for The Oklahoman’s nomination will be presented by Dave Morris, director of video.

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