NAA Roundup: COX Media Triples AJC Sports Page

Cox Media Triples AJC Sports Page Views with Niche College Football Community Site

Just before college football season officially got underway last month, Cox Media Group launched the first of many anticipated digital niche communities. The first community, appropriately called Dawg Nation after the Georgia Bulldogs, covers University of Georgia sports and seeks to capitalize on the currently very captive audience of passionate UGA football fans. So far the community has been a hit, tripling the sports page views on the Atlanta Journal-Constitution site.

The first big push of the new community saw more than a dozen posts in a 24-hour period, daily podcasts, and aggressive social media outreach.

Through the community, Cox Media is providing richer content to niche enthusiasts looking for sources that share their same passion and thirst for detail. While the average reader may only be interested in the final score of the game, visitors to the community will get more in-depth information about player stats and recruitment, game schedules, forecasts, highlights and more.

Dawg Nation, which has its own separate website and browser product, was made possible through a significant investment; one that will need to be replicated for future communities (Future communities will likely expand into other topic areas.) That investment has been applied toward a separate content management system, as well as dedicated content and production staff.

In addition to ads and sponsorships, other potential revenue streams include possible subscriptions, social media and partnering with ticketing and sports apparel sites.

The Washington Post is Carving out a Niche with News Gaming Apps

As media is increasingly visual and interactive, The Washington Post has developed a gaming platform for news, featuring polls, quizzes, brackets (think March Madness) and more. The platform has grown to eight gaming apps in the last year. The platform, which was built in-house by Post games staff, allows reporters and editors to quickly and easily create and embed their own quizzes and games into their stories.

Quizzes and polls have become increasingly common across online news and information sources and can take on a viral effect when shared on social media. In recent years, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and others have utilized in-story quizzes.

Games can make articles more engaging and interactive, incorporating real-time responses and providing the Post with valuable insights about – and feedback from – its readers. The Post’s games have become more elaborate over the last year, most recently releasing a quiz with an interactive map feature.

The gaming platform is available in the Post’s custom publishing platform, Arc.

Wall Street Journal Targets Specialized Industry Pros with its New “WSJ Pro” Service

The Wall Street Journal has introduced a new subscription service, WSJ Pro. WSJ Pro is a paid service that will include industry-specific details and related benefits, such as industry events with opinion leaders. WSJ Pro Central Banking is the first service that is being offered and will provide an in-depth look at banking topics and trends.
WSJ created and will target WSJ Pro to professionals in specialized industries that are covered in the daily Wall Street Journal publication, but whereas general news coverage must cover a wide array of topics, Pro offers more detailed and specific knowledge of a specialized industry.

The new service represents a potential revenue growth area for the Journal. Similar models have been adopted by other news and media outlets as alternate revenue streams to advertising.

Staff updates:

Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.:

Amy Johns has been appointed publisher of The Ada News, effective Sept. 12. Johns has been publisher of the McAlester News-Capital since 2008. She will now perform the publisher responsibilities at both papers. Johns joined Community Newspaper Holdings Inc. in 2000 as an advertising executive.

Chris Cato has been promoted to senior vice president and senior controller of Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. (CNHI), effective immediately. Cato initially joined CNHI as an accounting manager in 2000 and has served as controller and vice president of newspaper operations. Before joining CNHI, Cato previously served as a budget analyst for United Health Care in Birmingham

Cox Media Group: Cox Media Group has named Michelle Harper as its new VP of Sales, effective Sept. 21. Harper will work with CMG newspaper, radio and TV brands on strategic sales programs and training. Harper was previously the General Sales Manager for WSOC-TV in Charlotte, NC. She began her media career at WTVD-TV in Raleigh-Durham, going on to work in TV sales in Charlotte before joining WSOC-TV. She eventually moved into national sales at Seltel and relocated to the Atlanta area.

Morris Communications:

Steve Gray has been named vice president of strategy and innovation of Morris Communications Company. Gray will be responsible for company-wide strategic planning and innovation. Gray first joined Morris as a consultant in 2009 before becoming director of strategy and innovation in 2012. His family owned a newspaper in Monroe, MI, which is where he began his newspaper career, as a reporter, then as editor and president. In 2005, Gray joined Newspaper Next, a three-year innovation project of the American Press Institute that worked to identify new opportunities, technologies and detailed business initiatives for the newspaper industry.

Zach Ahrens has become publisher of the Topeka Capital-Journal. Ahrens is the current president and publisher of the Morris-owned Log Cabin Democrat (Conway, Arkansas). Prior to these roles, Ahrens served as the current vice president of sales for Gate House Ohio, including several dailies and weeklies. Ahrens initially worked at the York News-Times (York, Nebraska) and has served as publisher of several weeklies in Nebraska. He was also ad director for a Nebraska daily and as advertising and digital media director for the Grand Forks (North Dakota) Herald.

Tribune Publishing Company: Timothy Ryan has been appointed as Publisher & CEO of the Los Angeles Times and The San Diego Union-Tribune. Ryan will also serve as CEO of Tribune Publishing; California News Group (comprised of the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune and nine community weeklies). He was appointed Publisher & CEO of The Baltimore Sun in 2007 and took on the role of Publisher & CEO of The Morning Call in 2010. Ryan has also held leadership positions at the Chicago Tribune and The Philadelphia Inquirer.


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