The News Media Alliance is excited to announce that we are now accepting nominations for the 2021 John P. Murray Award for Excellence in Audience Development.
Established in 2019 in memory of the Alliance’s long-time colleague, the John P. Murray Award for Excellence in Audience Development recognizes three Alliance member news organizations each year that have demonstrated exceptional innovation and sophistication in understanding content strategy as part of audience development.
The 2020 recipients, announced in May 2021, included #ThisIsTucson/Arizona Daily Star, The Keene Sentinel, and McClatchy. Click here to view the John Murray 2020 Audience Development Best Practices Webinar with the 2020 recipients for more background (member login required).
We received so many great nominations last year and unfortunately, it was not possible to select them all. If you submitted a nomination last year and weren’t selected, we encourage you to submit again. Tell us what has happened in the last year to move the program forward.
Click here to submit your nomination.
There has been no shortage of news this year around which to implement innovative audience development and engagement strategies. We’ve seen continued, daily developments around the coronavirus; historic change as part of the movement for greater racial equality and the end of systemic racism; a new President in the White House; and coverage of the January 6 Capitol riots – which are still the subject of ongoing investigation – all driving reader interest in and consumption of local news to understand how it all impacts them, their families, and their communities. As Americans have gotten vaccinated against COVID-19, we’ve endeavored to return to normal routines. But it has not been without challenges, and we continue to look to our local news outlets to tell us how to navigate the constantly changing landscape.
While your nominations can center around any audience development efforts you undertook in the last year, these major events of 2021 represent obvious areas for possible focus, as they likely prompted last-minute changes to your existing strategies and/or the development of new strategies.
- How did you engage with your audience on these news events, and on which platforms (e.g., social media, video streaming, etc.)?
- What new products did you introduce to grow audience, engagement, and/or subscriptions (e.g., email newsletters, new print/online verticals, etc.)?
- What content formats (e.g., audio, video, text messaging, etc.) did you use to maximize engagement?
- How have you leveraged virtual and live events to grow audience?
- How did you get your readers involved in the editorial process?
- What was the impact on subscriptions (digital and print)?
How it works
Alliance members can nominate themselves or other Alliance member news organizations for consideration for the award. Each nomination should be for an individual newspaper title – newspaper publishing groups should specify which newspaper they are nominating (see Rules below). Nominations will be accepted through Friday, January 28, 2022. The three recipients, one in each newspaper size category (small = 50 or fewer employees, medium = 51-250 employees, and large = more than 250 employees), will be announced in the Spring of 2022.
Cash Prize: This year, the recipient(s) will each receive a $1,000 cash prize to put toward enhancing their audience development and engagement efforts.
Nominations should be submitted through completing the form here or below.
Selecting the recipients
Once again, the 2021 award recipients will be selected by a group of Alliance and American Press Institute (API) executives. The selection panel will be looking for deep insight into “on and off platform” audience behavior and intelligent use of social and search analytics. As a benchmark of nominees’ success, the panel will use the seven Table Stakes capacities of modern news publishing, which were developed as part of the Knight Lenfest Local News Transformation program, now managed by API.
The recipients of this year’s John P. Murray Award will be announced via a press release; invited to co-host an Alliance member webinar to share best practices; and receive an award to display at their property. The Alliance will also add the 2021 recipients’ names to the John P. Murray Award plaque on display at our headquarters.
- The John P. Murray Award for Excellence in Audience Development will be awarded to three newsrooms annually – one in each size category (small – 50 or fewer employees; medium – between 51 and 250 employees; and large – more than 250 employees).
- The recipients will be selected by a panel of Alliance and API executives from the nominees and will be evaluated using the seven ‘table stakes’ capacities of modern news publishing, which were developed as part of the Knight Lenfest Local News Transformation program, now managed by API.
- Alliance newspaper members may submit nominations here or using the form below by the designated deadline for consideration. They may nominate themselves or another Alliance newspaper member, and they may submit more than one nomination. Note: Each nomination should be for an individual newspaper title – publishing groups should specify which newspaper they are nominating. Nominations for publishing groups not listing an individual newspaper will not be considered. Non-Alliance member newspaper nominations will not be considered.
- Should there be a lack of qualifying nominations for any category, the selection panel may contribute nominations and/or designate a recipient of its choice.
- The Alliance will notify the recipients that they have been selected and they will have the option to accept or decline the award.
- Confirmed recipients will be announced via a News Media Alliance press release.
Complete the form below and submit (make sure you click the “Submit” button), or click here.
Members of the News Media Alliance staff have contributed to this post.