NAA Roundup: New York Times Magazine, Google Partner

  • Lindsey Loving
  • 10.23.2015

NAA Roundup_10-23-15New York Times Magazine, Google Partner to Produce Virtual Reality Journalism Series
The New York Times is collaborating with Google on a virtual reality project to launch The New York Times Magazine’s new virtual reality film, “The Displaced.” The film, about children uprooted by war, can be watched with cardboard viewers that are used with a smartphone. The partnership includes the distribution of more than one million cardboard VR viewers to subscribers. The viewers will be sent to home delivery subscribers in early November, with some digital subscribers receiving codes by email to receive a free viewer.

The New York Times Magazine produced “The Displaced” with VRSE, a virtual reality company and is the first in a Times virtual reality film series. The goal of the film – the first to use virtual reality to depict a serious journalism story – is to raise awareness of a humanitarian issue through connecting people to stories they may otherwise not hear, in more intimate ways.

The Times will also release a virtual reality app on November 5.

CNN Launches “Great Big Story” Video Site
launched its new platform, “Great Big Story” (GBS), a video network targeted to millennials around the world seeking inspirational stories. The site plans to differentiate itself from other sites geared toward this group by offering more substantive content.

Great Big Story, which will be primarily accessible via social media, including Facebook, YouTube, and a branded app, will release three to five non-fiction videos per day. Videos will explore as-yet unexplored themes centered on people and the planet, tastes and flavors, and will be designed to appeal to an inquisitive mind.

GBS is positioning itself separately from CNN and parent Turner Broadcasting’s, as it does not want to be perceived as a news network, but rather a source of interesting content for millennials searching the Internet for answers.

While advertising will not live on the site at launch, it anticipates weaving brands into the actual video content. Kind Snacks and Hewlett Packard Enterprise have already been confirmed as sponsors. The GBS editorial team will create the branded content in conjunction with CNN’s branded content studio, Courageous.

GBS will use data it gathers on video viewership to determine future video topics. By early next year, it plans to offer video streaming using over-the-top (OTT) streaming technology.

Gannett News Sites Surpass 100 Million Reach Milestone in September
Gannett Co., Inc. announced that and affiliated sites surpassed the 100 million unique visitor mark, reaching with 101.4 million unique visitors in September 2015.

The record can be attributed to gains in USATODAY’s Sports Media Group, which reached 52.4 million multi-platform unique visitors, including increases on Sports, “For The Win”, and USATODAY Sports Local Media Group.

The number represents 39% of the total domestic digital population (comScore Media Metrix) and exceeds that of online news sources such as Huffington Post and Vox Media. In addition, 37% of Gannett’s multi-platform digital audience during September was comprised of the much sought-after millennial audience.

Staff Updates:
Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.: Fred Scheller has been appointed publisher of The Daily Star in Oneonta, New York. Scheller previously served as assistant general manager and audience director for The Daily Item in Sunbury, PA.

Scheller started working for The Daily Item part-time in the distribution department in 1976. He was promoted through the years to eventually become the director of audience development and assistant general manager in 2012.

GateHouse Media: David J. Butler has been named The Providence Journal’s Executive Editor and Senior Vice President of News and Audience Development. He will start on November 9th.

Butler was most recently Executive Vice President and Editor-in-Chief of Digital First Media. He was previously Executive Vice President for News and editor of the Los Angeles Daily News until 2005, then served as editor and publisher of The Detroit News for two years.

In his more than 40-year journalism career, Butler has held management positions at newspapers around the country. He began his career as a reporter at The Southern Illinoisan, eventually rising to metropolitan editor and then became assistant city editor at The Sun-Sentinel and Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) News. Butler previously held editor positions at The Messenger-Inquirer (KY); the Jacksonville (Fla.) Journal; the Rocky Mountain News (Denver); and the New Haven (Conn.) Register.

McClatchy Company: Debra Leithauser has been named president and publisher of the Idaho Statesman. She will start on November 9th. Leithauser has been the president and publisher of McClatchy’s Centre Daily Times (State College, PA) since early last year.

Leithauser joined McClatchy in 2012 as the top editor at the former McClatchy-Tribune Information Services (MCT). Before coming to McClatchy, for nearly ten years she was an editor at The Washington Post, including its online GoingOutGuide, the Weekend print entertainment section, and The Washington Post Magazine.


  • Lindsey Loving
Lindsey is the Communications Manager for the News Media Alliance. Prior to joining the Alliance, she led communications for a food and nutrition nonprofit in Washington, D.C. for over eight years.