Northwest Florida Daily News and StarNews were recently recognized at the Local Media Association’s Digital Innovation Contest, which was judged by the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin’s Engaging News Project.
Northwest Florida Daily News in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, was awarded first-place in the Best Contest and/or Promotion category in the sites with 250,001 – 750,000 monthly unique visitors group for its “Home for the Holidays” promotion.
Judges noted: The company teamed up with a regional airport to award a local veteran in the area code a free airplane trip for the holiday season. There were around 972 entries and one winner. The airport invested $9,375 for the promotion and it came with success. They did a great job focusing their audience on veterans since that demographic uses the airport services quite frequently. They made great use of their outlets by dominating both print and digital media to advertise the campaign. The airport and Northwest Florida Daily News now have a valuable partnership that could go a long way in the future.
StarNews in Wilmington, North Carolina, was awarded first-place in the Best Strategy to Grow Digital Audience category.
Judges noted: StarNews Media strategies focus on a couple different things, including scheduling and direct involvement between reporter and reader. They keep track of running social media posts early in the morning when traffic tends to be the highest. Average Facebook Likes have increased by 42 percent and their Twitter followers have increased by 42 percent. They manage a rewards program for the reporters in having their personal pages viewed most often.
Sherry Jones, StarNews’ managing editor, was named as the competition’s Local Media Digital News Innovator of the Year.
Judges noted: It’s clear that Sherry has had an incredible impact on her news organization. While her nomination mentions digital initiatives that she has played a role in for years, we were particularly impressed with the work she did this year, including helping the web team adopt a new website template and the Reporter Audience Growth program. We look forward to seeing what new innovation Sherry comes up with next!
Propel Marketing was awarded first-place in the Best Digital Agency category.
Judges noted: We really liked Propel Marketing’s consumer reach and growth as an agency: they operate in 32 states and reach 19 million people every single week. Additionally, they have great third-party connections that drive their agency forward.
More more information and a completed list of winner, visit the Local Media Association.
GateHouse Media recently acquired Dix Communications, which publishes newspapers in northeastern and east-central Ohio.
The acquisition includes five daily and 18 weekly publications, including The Daily Record, the Record-Courier, The Alliance Review, the Times-Gazette and The Daily Jeffersonian. In addition to the print publications, the acquisition includes a number of niche publications, websites and a commercial printing operation.
Jim Hopson, who recently served as the interim publisher in Columbus, Ohio, has been appointed interim Group Publisher of GateHouse North-Central Ohio and will oversee the new division.
For more information, visit bit.ly/2kSclt7.
Peter Meyer, regional vice president and publisher of publications on Cape Cod and South Coast, will assume additional leadership responsibility for GateHouse Media New England, which publishes six dailies, 98 weeklies, 164 Wicked Local websites and assorted specialty publications.
Meyer began at the Cape Cod Times in 1986 as production director and also served as its general manager and assistant to the publisher before being named president and publisher in 2003. In 2008, he also became president and publisher of SouthCoast Media Group. He was named regional vice president by GateHouse media in 2015.
Before moving to Cape Cod, Meyer worked for Dow Jones & Company Inc. at Wall Street Journal publishing facilities in California, Maryland, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
He holds an MBA from Suffolk University and bachelor’s of science from Western Michigan University.
For more information, visit bit.ly/2jLssH6.
Brian Burns was recently named as the new publisher of the Ledger Media Group in Lakeland, Florida, which publishes The Ledger and the News Chief.
Burns previously served as the publisher of the Tampa Tribune, and has also worked as a vice president of digital publisher relations at Adiant.com and as the director of interactive media and vice president of digital operations northjersey.com in New Jersey. He began his career in publishing as digital manager and director of business development for the Post-Gazette in Pittsburgh after earning a degree in computer science from Penn State.
He also has a degree in fire science from Oakland University in Michigan and worked as a firefighter before an injury and desire for a career change led him to the media industry.
Burns plans to move to Polk County with his wife, Shawna, and their three children after the end of the school year.
For more information, visit bit.ly/2kceoYb.
Rustan Burton was recently named publisher of the Columbia Daily Tribune in Columbia, Missouri.
Burton has over eight years of experience in the newspaper industry and most recently served as the publisher of the Juneau Empire in Juneau, Alaska.
Burton grew up in Idaho and lived in Utah, Colorado and South Dakota before moving to Alaska. He, his wife Anna, and their four children will make the 3,100-mile move to Columbia at the end of the school year.
For more information, visit bit.ly/2k9SVMs.
Mike Distelhorst was recently named as GateHouse Media’s Coastal North Carolina group publisher.
In this new role, Distelhorst, who already served as the publisher of three GateHouse papers in eastern North Carolina — the Jacksonville Daily News, the New Bern Sun Journal and the Kinston Free Press — will take on the role of publisher of the StarNews in Wilmington.
Distelhorst grew up in southeast Iowa and graduated from Iowa’s Central College with a bachelor’s degree in communications.
For more information, visit bit.ly/2jz68RW.
David Adams was recently named as the new publisher of GateHouse Media newspapers in central Illinois.
He will oversee nine daily papers, including The Register-Mail in Galesburg, the Canton Daily Ledger and the Pontiac Daily Leader and the Star Courier in Kewanee, in addition to 20 weeklies and 10 shoppers.
Adams has 14 years of media advertising sales experience with a strong background in digital sales, including leadership roles in direct mail, online directory business, radio and most recently newspapers.
For more information, visit bit.ly/2iMeq5X
John Elchert was recently named the new publisher of The Daily Telegram in Adrian, Michigan.
Elchert most recently served as publisher of the Mankato, Minnesota, Free Press.
He began his career in the journalism industry in 1982 when he served as the circulation director of his hometown newspaper, the Tiffin Advertiser-Tribune, in Tiffin, Ohio. He is a graduate of the University of Toledo.
For more information, visit bit.ly/2glbTlc.
King Features Syndicate and More Content Now recently announced a collaboration that will make MCN special sections available via KFS.
KFS clients will have the ability to purchase special sections on bridal, health, home and garden, family, boomer issues and more at a special rate.
“GateHouse Media shares our commitment to editorial excellence,” said John Killian, vice president of syndication sales for King Features. “We are pleased to be able to add More Content Now’s sections to our content catalog.”
“Based on the success of producing sections like these for our own publications, MCN launched in 2012 with the goal of providing high-quality content at affordable rates for publications outside of GateHouse Media,” said More Content Now Director Lisa Glowinski. “This partnership furthers that mission.”
More Content Now’s lineup of more than three-dozen special sections for 2017 is available to KFS clients to preview and purchase immediately. Sections include an inauguration preview, a NASCAR season preview, monthly Family tabs, quarterly Healthy Living sections and several Auto tabs, including one timed to Presidents Day and a 2018 model-year preview.
To find out more about King Features, visit KingFeatures.com.
Access More Content Now at MoreContentNow.com.
Scott Jenkins was recently named the new editor of The Dispatch in Lexington, North Carolina.
Jenkins previously served as the editor of The Salisbury Post, where he began working as a reporter in 1999.
He is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and began his journalism career at The Daily Independent — now the Independent Tribune — in Kannapolis.
For more information, visit bit.ly/2fndILa.