Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Princess Leah extends a Happy New Year greeting - and a pizza recipe

Princess Leah Remington
Since being named Rensselaer County Dairy Princess in July, Hoosic Valley High School junior Leah Remington has religiously emailed The Record every week with her dairy princess update. Between preparing her update and her personal appearances at places such as the Altamont Fair, the Washington County Fair, The New York State Fair, and the Schaghticoke Fair, as well as her duties on the family farm, she must be busy young lady.

We weren't able to publish her writing in the paper each week so we tried to get Leah to blog for us this fall to no avail .... but I have had so much fun getting to know her through her writing I thought it appropriate to end my blog for the year by recognizing her hard work and sharing her most recent dispatch and season's greetings.

From Princess Leah:

I hope you had a wonderful, safe New Year's Eve celebration. May 2011 bring you good health and happiness. I am sure your holidays were crazy, so take some time for yourself and relax. My mom and I love to go to stop for hot cocoa and then go shopping to use our gift cards. There is so much less pressure when you're not trying to buy the perfect gift for someone.

I hope all the little ones had a tremendous vacation and fun playing in all the snow from last week's storm. Good thing the kids were off of school so, hopefully, you didn't have to travel in bad weather. I stayed at my Uncle Matthew and Aunt Sue's house during the storm. We watched movies, baked cookies and watched the snow fall and blow around from our cozy couch in front of the fireplace. It doesn't get much better than that!

Now that the kids are back in school, you have to get back to a normal schedule. So here is a quick and easy dinner recipe. Who doesn't love pizza!? This recipe is packed with dairy products, helping you get your recommended 3-Every-Day of Dairy!

Four Cheese Margarita Pizza
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
8 Roma tomatoes, sliced
2 (12 inch) pre-baked pizza crusts
8 ounces shredded Mozzarella cheese
4 ounces shredded Fontina cheese
10 fresh basil leaves, washed, dried
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Stir together olive oil, garlic, and salt; toss with tomatoes, and allow to stand for 15 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush each pizza crust with some of the tomato marinade. Sprinkle the pizzas evenly with Mozzarella and Fontina cheeses. Arrange tomatoes overtop, then sprinkle with shredded basil, Parmesan and feta cheese. Bake in preheated oven until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown, about 10 minutes.

If you have an event that you would like Princess Leah to attend, or have any questions or comments, please contact her at rens_princess_leah@yahoo.com

Monday, December 27, 2010

Oneida Daily Dispatch readers can look for big changes in 2011

After I became publisher of the Oneida Daily Dispatch in March, we had hoped to implement some big changes to improve the quality of our product. And while we made strides over the last nine months, a little thing called technology (or more accurately, the lack of it) got in the way.

Let me explain.

Before personal computers became commonplace and affordable in the late 1980s and early 1990s, journalists primarily wrote and edited copy and there was a separate team to compose the paper - in other words, to layout the copy and photos and ads for the press. But with the advent of PCs and computer programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Quark Xpress that easily allowed editors to paginate the paper, newsrooms everywhere took over production functions - compiling and designing the various elements that make up the newspaper. Fast forward to 2010 with a couple of downturns in the economy that shrunk newsrooms in between, and today upwards of half to two-thirds or more of the manpower in newsrooms can be spent on these pagination functions. This severely impacts the quantity of news produced - particularly at smaller newspapers such as the Dispatch.

So while it been my hope that we move quickly to outsourcing the news production of the Dispatch in 2010 so the journalists here could focus on writing stories, shooting videos for our Web site, etc., the going has been slower. Much of the issue has been technology - the incompatibility of some of our outdated computers/systems to interact correctly with a source outside the paper that might oversee the news production for us. We have taken steps to fix this - the entire newsroom will be equipped with new computers in the next couple weeks. The second phase is new software and finalizing plans to outsource the news pagination function.

However, technology aside, we did make a number of improvements in 2010:
- We gave all of our journalists flip cameras in March to shoot video. We now average over 40 videos posted to our Web site each month. (See some of our 465 videos posted including excerpts of local high school sports contests, community events such as fund drives and parades, and more.)
- We engaged our audience more using social media such as Facebook and Twitter. If you haven't already, please sign up to receive our Twitter feed and join the other 412 people who have "liked"' the Oneida Daily Dispatch page on Facebbook.
- We have also done a better job of posting stories to our Web site throughout the day in recent months as part of our corporate Digital First strategy.
- And we have opened up our Web site to community bloggers.
- On the print side, in the last few months we have localized the front page of our "Life and Times" section that appears each Saturday, and have added an Oneida Chamber of Commerce page on Saturdays as well.

Here is some of what is coming in 2011:
- A redesigned newspaper.
- More local news coverage (after we free up our newsroom from pagination functions in the second quarter).
- Smart phone and iPad applications.
- Establishment of a Community Media Lab to better integrate the community into our newsroom and vice-a-versa.

Many of these changes are part of an overall strategy our parent company Journal Register Co. has engaged in. I recommend those interested in the transformation at JRC, read my blog on the subject and also read our CEO John Paton's blog and see a video released last week on our progress in 2010.

In closing, I want to take this opportunity to wish all of our readers, advertisers and employees the merriest of holidays; we look forward to engaging our community even more in 2011.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Journal Register Company ends 2010 the talk of the newspaper industry

This blog was updated Dec. 23.

I published my year-in-review/2011 preview on The Record (Troy, N.Y.) today, and in the next week, will write a similar piece about our sister newspaper, the Oneida Daily Dispatch.

Alot of similar year-end pieces are publishing recently on the state of the newspaper industry ... and media in general. Here are what industry insiders are saying about our parent company, Journal Register Co. and our CEO John Paton in year-end stories:
  • Joshua Benton announced the results of a Neiman Journalism Lab poll on what industry participants thought were going to be the big stories in the journalism field in 2011. To the question, "Who do you think is the smartest thinker about the future of news inside the working world of journalism?" he announced JRC CEO John Paton as the winner. Voters could choose any editor, publisher, or other executive at any news organization. "John Paton’s efforts to turn around the moribund Journal Register Co. have gotten noticed: he led the way with 14 percent of votes, far outpacing The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger and CUNY’s (and JRC advisor) Jeff Jarvis," he wrote. "(Personally, I would have put Jeff in the Clay/Jay outsider category, but he wears enough hats that he could probably fit anywhere.) Others getting mentions: WaPo/TBD-ex Jim Brady, New York’s Adam Moss, Talking Points Memo’s Josh Marshall, Gawker’s Nick Denton, and Rupert Murdoch."
  • In another article at at Neiman Journalism Lab's web site, Martin Langeveld, who spent 30 years in the daily newspaper business working for a variety of New England papers, wrote: "Is there another newspaper company CEO who agrees with (John) Paton’s mantra, 'Be Digital First and Print Last'? I doubt it, because what it means, in Patton’s words, is that you 'put the digital people in charge, and stop listening to the newspaper people.' Most newspaper groups pay lip service to 'digital first'." See his full post here on his prediction for JRC in 2011.
  • emedia.com staff writer Ellie Behling named Journal Register Company alongside Sports Illustrated, Gourmet Live, National Public Radio, and The Atlantic as the top 5 digital makeovers in media in 2010.
And in related news:
  • Suburban Newspapers of America announced a North America Innovation Tour in May 2011 around the continent for newspaper leaders which includes a stop at JRC's Torrington, CT newspaper, the Register Citizen, to visit its open community newsroom. "While there, the group will also spend a half day meeting with JRC corporate executives learning more about their digital-first strategy with a particular focus on revenue strategies that are working," the SNA release reported.
  • The New York Times wrote about our sister paper, The Register-Citizen in Torrington, Ct. last week that has opened its newsroom to the public.
  • emedia.com also recognized two JRC advisory board members - professors/authors Jeff Jarvis and Jay Rosen - among the top five most influential digital media tweeters.
  • JRC CEO Paton wrote a year-end blog to employees lauding them for their digital first efforts in 2010: "In 10 months this company has gone from nearly zero video to producing about 1,000 videos a week and 2 million video streams monthly. From almost no digital ad orders to more than 1,000 orders per month." Read the blog and view a related video on JRC in 2010.  
It used to be said that journalists wrote the headlines, not dominated them. But times have changed as folks openly fret about the future of the media business. Some headlines reflect a glass is half-full outlook and some reflect the glass is half-empty; it is terrific to be working in a company where the headlines about it are all the former.

The year in review - 2010 at The Record

This was a transformational year in the history of The Record. We took a firm step into our digital future while buttressing our legacy print business. The year in review:

Digital First
In February, Journal Register Company (our parent company) named a new CEO, John Paton. He met with JRC publishers on his first day on the job and told them to embrace a new “news ecology”, which includes the empowerment of citizen journalists to help us report what is going on in our communities. He demanded we be mobile-first in news delivery; and employ technologies to give consumers what they want, how they want it, when they want it.

To that end, the Record has changed the way it reported news in so many ways:
- All of our journalists were equipped with video cameras in the the spring; we now broadcast an average of about 70 new videos a month.
- Staffers began blogging, and we invited the community to blog on our site as well. Today we have over 30 bloggers.
- We began engaging our audiences more using social media. We launched a Facebook page, which today has 767 "fans". Now more than a dozen staffers use Twitter.
- We live-streamed all of our editorial board meetings with candidates during the election season, and our sports team has been particularly active with the above tools - regularly blogging, tweeting and posting video from games, and setting up special events such as Will Montgomery's high school football chat sessions, and Andrew Santillo's and Tretonian sports reporter Ben Doody's weekly chat about MAAC college basketball.

We promoted one of our staff writers, Tom Caprood, to lead our digital first efforts in the newsroom this spring, and he was named to JRC's Idea Lab in July. The concept is to have 15 employees companywide devote 10 hours a week for a year to helping the company "think differently about what we do and how we do it". Experimenting with technology is a big part of the charge.

We also opened the first phase of our Community Media Lab - a space designed to bring the community in to collaborate with us on all types of projects - from citizen journalism (ie. blogging) to forums on topics of interest to business owners to dialogues with local business, arts, education, government, and non-profit leaders.

And lastly, we added journalists in our newsroom in early 2010 - aiding both our digital and print efforts - and launched a few new features throughout the year. (Among the highlights were two in sports: a roundup of local athletic accomplishments each Sunday, and the presence of an in-depth sports feature that day as well.)

Our audience is growing
Our audience is larger than it has been in some time. Our digital audience is now up to over 163,000 unique visitors a month, and our print audience over the same period exceeds 93,000 adults.

The Record has been defying newspaper industry trends this year - as of last week our paid home delivery circulation was up 9.8 percent vs. the same week last December (while our overall circulation is relatively flat due to declining single copy sales).

Not only have readers have responding positively to changes in our operations; the Capital Region's alternative news weekly Metroland cited The Record in its Best of the Region announcement in late July for "Best Newspaper Turnaround". They said, in part, that we "re-imagined" our product, and "now regularly produce the most satisfying read of any paper around".

Legacy structure
None of the digital first focus represents an abandonment of our print products. In fact, this effort will enhance our newspapers as we refocus our resources to use newsprint to present more compelling journalism.

In many instances our company, as CEO John Paton has blogged about, we have outsourced to reduce our legacy costs so we could invest more in technology and journalism. Buildings, presses and delivery trucks have all been shedded. But in some cases where it  made sense, some locations were identified as printing centers in JRC. So Troy is a print hub now for our Troy, Saratoga and Kingston products. To that end, we invested in our building and printing technology here:
  •  In February we went live with new computer-to-plate equipment, which cut down on our prepress costs.
  • And in November we went live with new inserting equipment, which improved efficiency in that end of our operations in the week leading up to our becoming printer for a sister newspaper, Kingston's The Daily Freeman, on Dec. 7.
We have also invested in our building, repairing our roof and facade over the summer and fall, renovating two areas of the building for the aforementioned CTP equipment and the Community Media Lab, and installing a new T1 line.

More community engagement
We were active with a number of new community organizations during the year, and we expanded our Clothe the Child effort to a second annual campaign called "Camps4Kids". Proceeds sponsored camp scholarships for Troy Boys and Girls Club kids to its Camp Barker, which was struggling with funding.

Another exciting project came late in the year as The Record rallied to bring the 2010 World Series Trophy to Troy. After a five-week campaign, the San Francisco Giants - whose Major League roots are in Troy - agreed to bring the trophy here in May.

Sneak peak at '11
We have a bunch of new products, technologies and ways of reporting news and engaging with our readers that we will employ in 2011. I am happy to announce two projects today to provide a sneak peak:
  • The Record's Rensselaer Forum will be a regular gathering of community leaders in the arts, education, health, public service and local business to discuss issues of importance to local residents. The goal is to provide an ongoing process for residents to envision the future of their community. Topics and invited guests will vary, but the format will be the same: The public will be invited to participate in the discussion. A transcript will be published at troyrecord.com, as will stories. And video will be shot and excerpts made available on our web site.
  • We'll call it a working name for now - troyrecord.com's CML Concert Series (the CML standing for our Community Media Lab) - is also coming soon. We're inviting in music acts from the region to perform live in our media lab, and we'll post videos from each session and a brief artist biography on our Web site.
  • Electronic and mobile editions of our newspaper will roll out early in the coming year.
  • As announced this week by the Business Review, we are looking to expand our Community Media Lab into our newsroom. More on this as the project progresses.
  • And we are investing in a new front-end system for our editorial department this spring to make us more efficient, to push news more readily to mobile devices and the Web, and to make it easier to share content with other publications in our company, among other reasons.
In closing
I recommend those interested in the transformation at JRC see the video released this week on our progress in 2010.

And I want to take this opportunity to wish all of our readers, advertisers and employees the merriest of holidays; we look forward to engaging our community even more in 2011.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's coming ... San Francisco Giants' World Series Trophy coming home to Troy, N.Y.

After a campaign lasting over five weeks, The Record has done something that may have seemed a little far-fetched to some when we began it: We've convinced the San Francisco Giants to bring the World Series trophy home to Troy this spring.

The Record learned last night that the San Francisco Giants confirmed they will bring the trophy to Troy and Cooperstown the weekend of May 6-8. The stop in upstate New York will be part of a victory tour the team has set to celebrate its first World Series championship since 1958, and the first since moving from New York City to San Francisco.

Several days after the Giants beat the Texas Rangers in six games, The Record launched a Web and print petition asking the Giants to bring the trophy to Troy, the franchise’s original home. Petitions signed by Capital District residents and Giants from the Midwest and East Coast were presented to San Francisco Giants officials last week.

The back story on why the trophy belongs here, according to The Record Sports Editor Kevin Moran: The Troy City Trojans, an original member of the National League, competed for four seasons, 1879-1882. The Trojans failed to produce a winning season and struggled to attract fans, and that was a concern to other National League owners because of a threat from a rival league, the American Association. In December 1882 owners from Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, Providence, Boston and Detroit decided to remove Troy and Worcester from the National League and place franchises in New York City and Worcester. The vote was illegal  because according to National League charter teams could only be removed from the league if it failed to complete its schedule. Troy completed its schedule all four years.

Troy representative A.L. Hotchikin at first balked at resigning Troy’s franchise, but eventually did so with concessions. Troy would be an Honorary Member of the National League — a distinction its holds today. National League teams would return to the Collar City each season to play a series if exhibition games to help Troy raise revenue to start a new National League franchise. Of course this never happened.

The petition drive was envisioned and orchestrated by Moran, who also labored hard to get the story picked up by local, national and West Coast media. Digital specialist Tom Caprood assisted in bringing attention to the event by marketing the effort through social media. And editor Lisa Lewis kept the project moving forward despite a steady diet of breaking stories that needed coverage. Congrats to all for their hard work. And thanks to everyone who signed our petition.

We'll keep you update on the events surrounding the homecoming, and of course, have full coverage at troyrecord.com and in The Record.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Journal Register CEO John Paton delivers frank assessment of challenges to newspaper industry

The CEO of the Journal Register Company, parent company of four NY papers - The Record (Troy), The Oneida Daily Dispatch, Saratogian and Daily Freeman - delivered a frank critique of the challenges the newspaper industry is facing at an industry event today.

John Paton told colleagues at the International Newsmedia Marketing Association (INMA) Transformation of News Summit this morning in Cambridge, Mass. "(we must) profoundly change how we do business". He then spent the rest of the presentation explaining to folks the Digital First transformation he has led in JRC since he joined the company earlier this year, and the results so far. The short version is, in John's words, "the company’s expenses are down and its profits are up".

But if you have any interest in the newspaper business, the story is more compelling. Read/view John's presentation.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Journalists describe Digital First changes this year in The Record newsroom

I often write about the Digital First efforts at the new Journal Register Company, parent company of this Web site. Journalists in the newsroom at The Record in Troy recently reflected on the changes in the nine months since CEO John Paton came aboard. View their commentary:

The Record effort to bring San Francisco Giants' World Series trophy to Troy, N.Y. gains momentum

As reported last evening at troyrecord.com, The Record's effort to bring the San Francisco Giants' World Series trophy to Troy for a visit is gaining momentum.

San Francisco Giants president Larry Baer, while being interviewed by Brian Murphy of KNBR radio in San Francisco this week, acknowledged The Record’s effort to bring the World Series Trophy. He also stated the Giants are planning a tour of the World Series Trophy and that Troy would be included among its stops.

If you haven't signed our petition, please do so today. And keep reading troyrecord.com and The Record for the latest on when and where the trophy will come to our area.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Community members discuss their troyrecord.com blogs

Troyrecord.com digital specialist Tom Caprood
talks with blogger Marcie Pry at the web site's
Community Media Lab.

Some of troyrecord.com's bloggers came by The Record's Community Media Lab on Wednesday night for a discussion/reception to preview a video featuring several of them talking about their experiences writing for us.

Digital special Tom Caprood led the discussion and previewed the video he created.

More on the event.

See the video:

Petition by troyrecord.com to bring San Francisco Giants' World Series trophy to Troy gains momentum

Your News Now's Megan Eaton interviews
The Record's sports editor Kevin Moran.

I blogged Tuesday how the recent World Series winners, the San Francisco Giants, can trace their origins to a late 19th century National League team, the Troy (N.Y.) Trojans. And how troyrecord.com was rallying Troy folks and and baseball fans to petition the Giants and Major League Baseball to bring the World Series trophy to Troy.

Our effort is gaining momentum. Sports editor Kevin Moran has been interviewed from San Francisco on stations KCBS and Newstalk 810 to Albany on YNN-TV. News reports are also proliferating on Web news sites - from the Wall Street Journal to Huffington Post to USA Today to the San Francisco Examiner, among others.

If you haven't joined the effort, please sign the petition today.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sign troyrecord.com's petition to bring World Series trophy to city of S.F. Giants' origins - Troy, NY

The recent World Series winners, the San Francisco Giants, can trace their origins to a late 19th century National League team, the Troy Trojans. A long story, but Troy's NL team was hijacked to NYC; part of the stipulation moving the team from Troy to NYC was that major league teams would come to Troy to play exhibition games, which was never done.

To correct this slight, The Record is attempting to get the Giants and Major League Baseball to bring the World Series trophy to Troy to let city residents view what it rightfully theirs to share.

Please sign our petition, visit our Facebook page, and follow our progress at troyrecord.com.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Celebrations abound in late October around the Oneida region

There were many celebrations in and around the greater Oneida area late last week:
  • On Wednesday, the Madison County Historical Society held its well-attended annual dinner at Johnnie's Pier 31 Restaurant on Oneida Lake. Solsville native and guest speaker Jim Ford spoke about his book, "Sweet Cider Days", recounting the story of the world-famous Mott family of Bouckville. Executive director Sydney Loftus also reviewed the organization's highlights from the previous year and new board members were voted into office (including yours truly).
  • Oneida Healthcare Center celebrated the completion of the second phase of an $18 million expansion effort on Friday morning with a ribbon-cutting and a breakfast at the Kallet Theater for nearly 250 supporters.
  • A crowd of over 260 feted Madison-Cortland ARC Executive Director Ray Lewandowski as he received the 2010 Distinguished Service Award at the Greater Oneida Chamber of Commerce annual dinner, also held at the Kallet.
  • And lastly ... and admittedly how you feel about this depends on where you live and/or attend(ed) high school ... Oneida had a thrilling 28-27 overtime gridiron victory Saturday over rival V.V.S. in a Class B semifinal football game in Chittenango. It was quite a transformation from a 33-6 Oneida loss to V.V.S. just two weeks earlier.
November is shaping up to be just as exciting. Among the many events and activities on tap: Oneida football faces Cazenovia in the Class B finals this weekend. And the new Pepi's Pizza on Route 5 opens its doors soon. Keep reading the Oneida Daily Dispatch and oneidadispatch.com for all the news of these happenings and much more.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Congrats to Oneida's Marcia Warham!

When I started my career at the Oneida Daily Dispatch in 1981, Marcia Warham was already one of the most - if not the most - veteran employees in the newsroom with nearly a decade logged in here. A number of reporters, edtiors and publishers have come-and-gone since (including me with a 28-year gap in my time here) but Marcia is still working along side us. She manages our calendars and obits, and is responsible for many of our news briefs.

Today is Marcia's 38th anniversary at the Dispatch. Congrats and thanks Marcia for all your years of hard work and dedication!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Oneida residents say Daily Dispatch is their #1 source of school news

Oneida Superintendent of Schools Ron Spadafora stopped by the Daily Dispatch office today to let us know the results of a community satisfaction survey related to communications from the district.

Respondents of the survey - over 400 total - overwhelming said their number one source of information on Oneida schools was the Daily Dispatch. While 75 percent of those responding cited the newspaper, the number two and three sources of information came from school employees and the district's twice-annual newsletter, respectively.

We discussed how the school district and the newspaper can partner and we agreed to start publishing a district column once a month, beginning in October.

I also offered the district superintendent a blog on our Web site, and would make the same offer to students, faculty and board members interested in writing about local education.

The survey included Oneida residents with and without family members in Oneida schools.

Full results of the satisfaction survey will be announced later this year; look for details of it in the Dispatch and at oneidadispatch.com.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Don't miss The Record's h.s football preview section next Thursday

If you are a fan of local high school football, make sure you pick up a copy of The Record next Thursday, Sept. 2, for our 48-page Kickoff 2010 special section.

The special section is the only area high school football guide that is free (assuming you are subscriber, otherwise 75 cents). Written and photographed by our award-winning sports and photo staffs, the section previews the fortunes of 21 local teams. Schedules and additional articles are also included.

Troy Restaurant Tour is Tuesday; support the Troy Boys & Girls Club

The first Troy Restaurant Tour sponsored by the Troy Boys & Girls Club is 6-9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31. Ten downtown eateries are serving up samples of signature dishes to benefit the club.

The Record is the media sponsor.

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que will serve pulled pork and baked beans in the club's parking lot, located at 1700 Seventh Ave., with local bluegrass band Big Creek providing live entertainment. Other participating restaurants include: Bacchus Wood Fired Pizza, Brown’s Brewing Co., Francesca’s, Holmes and Watson, Gelateria Lisa, Meka’s Lounge, The Red Front, The Ruck, DeFazio's and Wood-Fired Pizza.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $30 the day of the event; call the club at 274-3781. Maps will be available to participants describing the menu options available at each location. 

See troyrecord.com story for more details.

Busy month in August at The Record

Busy month here at The Record. A few highlights:
  • Two staffers won awards in the state 2009-2010 New York State Associated Press Association annual contest. Chief photographer Mike McMahon won a second place award for spot news photography in the under 50,000-circulation category, while high school sports reporter Will Montgomery won a third place award for blogging in the under 25,000- circulation category for his blog, "Off The Record." Congrats to both.
  • We had some transitions among people some of our readers and advertisers may know: Jessica Pasko, our business/higher education reporter, left to pursue a graduate degree in media management at Northwestern University in Chicago, Ill. We are currently working to fill her position. Today is Danielle Sanford's last day in advertising; she is also pursuing a graduate degree (master's degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).  We wish both of them all of the best.
  • Lianne Webster-Kim joined the staff as night copy desk chief. Previously, she was special sections editor for the Hudson-Catskills newspapers. She and her husband Ray reside in Troy.
  • We have begun two important construction projects on our physical plant: We are completing a facade repair effort begun in 2009 and we will start working on replacing most of our roof (we're repairing those part that are slate) next week.
  • The Record's digital specialist, Tom Caprood, began his journey as one of 15 people selected to participate in our parent company's ideaLab by attending a gathering of his co-conspirators in Pennsylvania. The goal of the group is to develop and field-test ideas that are going to help transform our digital first company, Journal Register Co. Read Tom's blog about it.
  • Speaking of Journal Register Co. .... Our CEO John Paton was named to be a board member of the Newspaper Association of America; read the announcement.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Metroland on The Record: 'The most satisfying read of any paper around'

A year ago this week I was in my first 30 days as publisher of The Record when I wrote about a shout out in Metroland's Best of the Region issue; they cited The Record for having the area's best sports department.

Well, Metroland didn't cite any award this year for sports coverage but they did again recognize The Record - this time for "Best Newspaper Turnaround" - in their Best of the Region announcement this week. They said, in part, that we "reimagined" our product, and "now regularly produce the most satisfying read of any paper around".

We're blushing. Seriously, the newspaper - and our corporate parent, the Journal Register Company - has come along way in the last year. I've chronicled some of it here: a digital first focus, more editorial staff, new investments in technology and much more. And Metroland isn't the only one to notice; our home delivery subscriber base has grown over 6 percent so far this year.

I want to use this opportunity to say thanks to the folks at Metroland for the recognition, and particularly to our staff for the hard work and dedication to publishing a worthwhile community newspaper for the greater Troy area.

And finally, I want to say that more positive developments are coming. I can't wait to read what Metroland will recognize us for next year. I am confident the staff there and our readers will still be talking about the progress.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Record is looking for a few good sales professionals

The Record currently has two openings in its advertising sales department. One is a territory sales rep and a second is an online sales manager.

If you never have considered a sales career ... take five minutes and read "6 Massive Advantages of a Career in Sales". Many people - particularly those from hospitality, customer service and retail fields - find it a rewarding career. And newspaper sales positions are more family-friendly than many jobs in the aforementioned fields with weekday hours - no weekends, evenings or holidays - and the ability to get outdoors and visit with local business owners.

If you or someone you know is looking for a challenging career with a good income and advancement potential, please contact Heather DeForge, our advertising director, for more information.

Friday, July 23, 2010

New tech blog at troyrecord.com; author is receipient of JRC recognition

The Record's digital specialist Tom Caprood launched a technology blog this week at troyrecord.com; it's called Digital Future.

Tom has previously contributed to our Troy Talk and  Campaign Notebook blogs at our Web site.

Tom was named recently as named to our company's Idea Lab by our CEO, John Paton. Tom - and 14 other Idea Lab members from across Journal Record Co. - will devote 10 hours a week for the next year to helping the company "think differently about what we do and how we do it". Experimenting with technology is a big part of the charge.

Record staffer gets national recognition for blog

The Record's own Siobhan Connally has been named a finalist by BlogHer in its 2010 Voices of the Year competition.

She was recognized in the editorial-opinion category for No Babies Are Saved in Killing of Doctor, posted to one of her blogs called Exiled in Toyland. Her Tiny Babel blog appears at troyrecord.com.

She has been an editor and writer with our company for 18 years. She is also an accomplished photographer; see her Flickr site.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Breadth of bloggers for troyrecord.com keeps growing

The depth and breadth of folks blogging at troyrecord.com is growing in leaps and bounds.

I wrote in mid-March when we had 14 bloggers that we wanted to expand the community voices on our Web site and many responded. By the end of April, we had grown our roster of blogs to 27. And since then we've added six more indiviudals to bring the total to 33.

Areas of interest/expertise on a wide range of subjects are represented, from semi-professional football to financial and career planning to several people who write on happenings and concerns in our local communities. Our latest blogger is B. Reefer, a management major at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, who writes on his experience as a college student in our community.

Interesting in blogging with us? Contact Tom Caprood with your ideas. And to everyone else, happy reading.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Record's sports section is now even better on Sunday

The Record has long had an outstanding reputation for local sports coverage but sports editor Kevin Moran and his team have topped themselves with two recent additions to our Sunday sports package.

The first is Faces in the Crowd, a weekly page devoted to accomplishments of athletes of all ages. Recent appearances include a brief profile on John Hudson, head groundskeeper at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium; a photo of the Lansingburgh Knights modified baseball team, which outscored opponents 140-38 on the road to winning their league championship; and an update on Troy heavyweight boxer Shannon Miller.

The goal is to expand the number of faces and names in our newspaper beyond those who normally appear in our local sports coverage to include brief stories and profiles of Little League players, triathletes, Senior Games and Special Olympic participants, skiers, fishermen, and martial arts enthusiasts, to give a few examples. The space will also be used to profile the exploits of former local high school sports stars in their collegiate, professional and amateur careers. All mentions include a photo of the athlete(s).

If you have wish to submit an athletic accomplishment to Faces in the Crowd, send details and a photo (.jpg format) to sports@troyrecord.com.

The sports department has also launched a weekly Sunday sports feature that goes in-depth on an issue that is of interest to sports fans; it appears over two pages in the centerfold of the section. Andrew Santillo's recent profile of Capital District World Cup fans and Kevin Moran's comprehensive profile of legendary Catholic Central High School basketball coach Don Bassett are two examples. A different approach was taken the Sunday prior to the U.S. Open when The Record golf columnist John Craig wrote a hole-by-hole account of his recent effort to play Pebble Beach, site of the 2010 event.

You don't have to be a dye-in-the-wool sports nut to enjoy reading either of these new efforts each week. if you haven't already checked them out - do so this Sunday. You will be glad you did.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Newspapers' audience online reaches nearly 3 in 5 users

I've wrote on this blog repeatedly about our company's digital first efforts. A report released yesterday by comScore and its Media Metrix service demonstrates the reason why: It showed that more than 123 million Americans visited newspaper sites in May, representing 57 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience.

“The good news for publishers is that even as print circulation declines, Americans are actually consuming as much news as ever – it’s just being consumed across more media,” said Jeff Hackett, comScore senior vice president, in a press release. “The Internet has become an essential channel in the way the majority of Americans consume news content today with nearly 3 out of 5 Internet users reading newspapers online each month."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Oneida High senior Colten Seamans receives Dispatch scholarship award

Colten Seamans is the 2010 winner of the Roland J. Woodcock Memorial scholarship.

The award, sponsored by The Oneida Daily Dispatch, is given to an Oneida High School graduating senior planning a career in journalism or graphic arts. (Colten is shown at right receiving the award from Dispatch editor Kurt Wanfried during a recent award ceremony at Oneida High School.)

The award is named for 'Rollie' Woodcock, who retired in 1991 from the Oneida Daily Dispatch after an amazing 71 years on the job. Except for doing his bit in World War II - a two-year stint with Savage Arms Co. in Utica from 1942-1943 - all of his working life was spent at the Dispatch. Starting as a paperboy in 1917 when the paper was a weekly, he ended his career as a master pressman noted for his ability and enthusiasm in teaching the craft to others.

Colten is the son of James and Bernadette Seamans, who live on Crescent Avenue in Oneida. His activities included intramurals and Art Club, and he helped produce school talent show. He enjoys working with videography in and out of school.

Colten, who works part time at Dunkin' Donuts and for neighbors doing yardwork, will attend Alfred State College in the fall, majoring in graphic arts.

Congrats to Colten and all of the members of OHS' Class of 2010.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New video portal at troyrecord.com

New today to troyrecord.com is an improved video portal to a library of all of our recently posted videos. It can be sorted by most recent and most viewed; video captions can be searched as well.

Currently 216 videos are posted and we are filming an average of almost 2.5 each day, so come back often for updates. Some videos are also embedded in news stories. Videos average about 2 minutes in length; the range is as brief as roughly a half minute and as long as a little over four minutes.

This is the latest in a series of developments to improve out video journalism. The first this winter was to equip every journalist with a video camera. Coming soon is the ability for readers to upload videos to our Web site.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Record announces Ben Franklin Project stories

Recently I wrote about the Troy Record's participation in Journal Register Company's Ben Franklin Project. On Sunday, July 4, our editorial coverage will reflect the fact our journalists will have sought considerable help from readers in reporting the news, while using free tools to publish our print and online products.

We rarely work on story budgets this far out but for this project we are making an exception, for obvious reasons. Here are seven stories we would like readers of The Record to give us input on:

High cost of summer athletics. Some parents pay up to $1,000 or more for their children to play on summer athletic teams or to attend specialized camps around the country and abroad. We want your input on the matter of the value of these programs and camps to swimmers, soccer players, baseball athletes, football participants and others. For a related story, we would also like your opinion on how the specialization in sports has led to the near extinction of the three-sport scholastic athlete as teens strive to pursue college scholarships. Contact Andrew Santillo or Will Montgomery.

 Major League Baseball memories. We’re looking for readers who have been to major league ballparks to share their most memorable experiences - as well as photos if you have 'em - with fellow readers. Contact Ed Weaver.

Parking meters. Troy recently installed new meters downtown. The effort has caused quite a stir among residents, business owners and visitors. We want to find out how the public feels about the city’s effort to generate new revenue and manage parking space availability. Some people report confusion about how the meters work and where best to find parking. We will send a staff member to observe how parking ordinances are enforced as well as how people are reacting to it. There are also plans to create a video and/or photo slideshow on how the meters work, and to set up an online forum for discussion. Contact any one of these individuals with your feedback: Jessica Pasko, Cecelia Martinez, Tom Caprood or Katie Nowak.  

Gridlock. Capital District highways and thoroughfares tend to turn into parking lots most days during morning and afternoon rush hours. What are some of your worst commuter horror stories? What route is the worst for traffic jams or best to avoid them? Contact: Jessica Pasko, Dave Canfield, or Danielle Sanzone.

Editorial page content. We’re inviting the public to submit content for editorial cartoons, columns and guest editorials related to an Independence Day theme of your choice. Feel free to be as creative as to the context - patriotism, independence, the state of state and/or federal politics, or something else. Contact Lisa Robert Lewis for more information and to share your ideas.

Travel. We are asking the community to send us their thoughts and photos of their favorite travel destinations for this time of year: day trip, weekend getaway and week-long (or longer) summer destinations are all welcome. E-mail Siobhan Connally.

Photo story. Lastly, we're looking for photos of your favorite historic sites, patriotic displays, and local summer events to put together for a photo page showcasing your interests. Contact Mike McMahon.

Thanks in advance for participating!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Oneida Daily Dispatch announces Ben Franklin Project stories

Recently I wrote about the Oneida Daily Dispatch's participation in Journal Register Company's Ben Franklin Project. The gist is that on Saturday, July 3, our editorial coverage will reflect the fact our journalists will have sought considerable help from readers in reporting the news, while using free tools to publish our print and online products.

We rarely work on story budgets this far out but for this project we are making an exception, for obvious reasons. Here are three stories we would like your input on:

Where have all our neighbors gone? Census projections show Madison and Oneida counties continue to lose residents. It's not just retired people moving to Florida; it¹s the young and the educated seeking opportunity they can¹t find at home. If this area is to grow and proper in the years to come, these are the people who need to make it happen. What can be done?  The first in a series of articles on this topic will run July 3. We'll talk to teenagers about where they see themselves living as young adults. We'll reach out to former residents as to why they moved. And we'll talk to local adults of all ages about whether they are planning to stay.

Oneida proud. One thing shared by many of us who have remained in Oneida is Oneida High School; either we attended and/or our children. But the school was different in each era. Teachers, fashions and atmosphere are some of changes. Clique also fashioned our experiences. We want people to share their memories of what OHS was like "back in the day" .... whenever that was for you. It would be particularly fun to talk to families who have had several generations of family members taught at OHS. We'll also ask readers to share photos.

Dangerous intersections.
Based on your input as to which intersections are the worst, we'll talk with local officials about how to solve what may be long-standing issues. We'll use online maps and take photos to illustrate.

If you would like to participate in any of these stories, please contact editor Kurt Wanfried.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Oneida Daily Dispatch honors vets, wins 1st in parade competition

The Oneida Daily Dispatch won first place in the "adult float" category at the 2010 Oneida Memorial Day Parade.

The parade theme was "Honoring our Veterans - Past, Present and Future". The Dispatch float used symbols that interpreted all three themes:
- PAST: At the head of the float (right) is a table set for one. A common symbol at American Legions, it represents service members - POWs and MIAs - whose return we await.
- PRESENT: The yellow ribbon represents the support we give to all service men and women as they serve our country, and our hope for their safe return home.
- FUTURE: Silhouette of service member as he takes his oath at enlistment represents all men and women who will voluntarily commit inthe future to serve in the armed forces.

Kudos and thanks go to:
- Marc Alvord and Karen Alvord for decorating the float, and Marc for the concept.
- Gordie Fox and Brian Pratt for cutting and painting the symbols on the float.
- Dennis Alvord for donating the wood for the symbols.
- Francis Relyea for donating his truck (and time driving), pulling the trailer.
- White's Farm Supply for supplying the trailer.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Record adds fact-checking and story idea tools to Web site

As some readers have noticed, we've added several new fact-checking and story idea submission forms to on news and sports stories at troyrecord.com.

The enhancements exemplify our efforts to be more transparent in our journalism and to collaborate more frequently with readers in gathering and reporting news. It also acknowledges our collective knowledge of our communities is greater than any one news organization can possess.

The initiative is one element of the Journal Register Company's (JRC) Ben Franklin Project which aims to “crowdsource” content as much as possible in our products. The Record is a JRC news operation.

We encourage you to report any fact we publish that you believe is incorrect. Our staff will verify the information and publish corrections at the source of the original story (whether it is in print or online, or both).

To be clear, The Record is not passing off its editing and fact checking responsibilities. Accuracy remains of paramount importance to each and every member of our staff. We only hope that by opening the door to the tens of thousands of you who read our products, we can harness the collective knowledge of everyone.

On story submissions, this will help streamline incoming story ideas to make sure they are being screened by the right people, while also hopefully encouraging more people to submit ideas.

We will communicate much more about the Ben Franklin Project and the role we hope our readers will play with us in the coming weeks

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Declaring independence: Shedding the past and adopting the future coming July 4th to this newspaper

Ben Franklin is credited with saying, "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing."

Reporters of our company's newspapers and Web sites do a lot of the former each and every day. On July 4, we're going to something of the latter. That is the day all of the newspapers in our parent company, Journal Register Co., will seek help from readers in reporting the news while using free tools to publish print and online products.

I mentioned last week that JRC announced The News-Herald in Lake County, Ohio and the Perkasie News-Herald in Perkasie, Pa. successfully produced two websites and newspapers – one daily and one weekly - using only free web-based tools. Now JRC's CEO John Paton has challenged all of the company's employees to "declare our independence from the kind of thinking that has kept our company and industry from transforming to a multi-platform news company.
"And we will", he continued, "declare our independence from an industry that ties itself up with expensive proprietary I.T. systems and processes that are outdated almost the day they are installed."

As a part of the company's Ben Franklin Project, our 18 daily newspapers - including this one - will publish online and in print, using only free web-based tools. and "crowdsourcing" content while bypassing proprietary systems -  from ad order entry to sales, finance, and publishing.

"In the process, we will, as before, liberate our thinking and become ever more meaningfully involved with the communities we serve by involving the audience in our content creation," he added. "Along the way, we will prove we can challenge the outdated business model of print to a model of the future that preserves and enhances our journalism."

Look for more info on this project as Independence Day approaches.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Long-time issue in Oneida resonates with SeeClickFIx users on Dispatch Web site

"Cancer Corner" in front of Oneida High School has been a source of consternation for some members of the community going back at least three decades. And local residents have recently used a new citizen journalism tool - SeeClickFix - to express concerns on Oneida Daily Dispatch's Web site.

Oneida Police Chief David Meeker responded to the issue in today's newspaper in a report by Caitlin Traynor. Read the story online and join the conversation.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Parent company of this newspaper produces web sites and newspapers using free tools

The parent company of this newspaper - the Journal Register Company - announced today it successfully produced two websites and newspapers – one daily and one weekly - using only free web-based tools.

The participating newspapers were The News-Herald in Lake County, Ohio and the Perkasie News-Herald in Perkasie, Pa.

The company’s Ben Franklin Project, announced April 21 by CEO John Paton, challenged the legacy newsgathering process and proprietary computer system model – while focusing on the company’s digital-first model. The websites and newspapers involved in the project were produced – from story assignment and advertising design through publication – utilizing free tools available online. The employees were given 30 days to meet that challenge and this week they succeeded.

Highlights of the project:
- The papers' newsrooms solicited story ideas and contributions through social media tools including Facebook and Twitter.
- Residents of one community shared their views on the county’s most dangerous roadway intersections and the newsroom staff compared those submissions with data from police reports. The audience, using Journal Register Company’s community portal partner SeeClickFix, also reported blighted properties – ranging from fields in need of mowing to a house that has been under construction for 10 years – that were included in newsroom reports. Residents in another community submitted questions for local officials as part of reports on the local pay-as-you-throw trash system and the community’s electric supplier contract.
- Advertising designers used free, web-based tools to design online and print advertisements, and copy editors and designers utilized a desktop publishing system available free online.

"Taking a digital first, print last approach motivates journalists to tap into readers before they even start reporting," said a blogger for the Poynter Institute of Media Studies, Mallary Jean Tenore, reporting on the project.

“We have taught ourselves the power of open source journalism by involving our communities," Paton said in a news release, "and we have showed the industry a way to a much more effective business model by bypassing costly legacy media proprietary systems and harnessing the power of the web.”

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Record opens Community Media Lab to public; newspaper presents advertiser workshops

We opened The Record's Community Media Lab this morning with an "Advertising That Sells" workshop for advertisers. Five sessions are scheduled today and Wednesday; the 75-minute discussions focus on how business owners/manager can effectively buy local media by using some tried-and-true tools and principles.

One person at each session received an autographed copy of "What Would Google Do?" by author amd media expert Jeff Jarvis; Jarvis is a member of our parent company's (Journal Register Co.) advisory board.

If you have't heard about the lab read the blog at the link above and share your ideas for use of the room.

Below video is an excerpt from today's workshop.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Record's Community Media Lab is now open

The Record is putting the finishing touches on its Community Media Lab in our building in downtown Troy (501 Broadway).

The goal is to have a space where we can bring the community in to collaborate with us on all types of projects - from citizen journalism (ie. blogging) to forums on topics of interest to business owners to dialogues with local business, arts, education, government, and non-profit leaders.

The room, located on the first floor near the entrance, is brightly lit with capacity for 30 people: it comfortably seats 24 people at seminar-style tables, with room for another half dozen or so seated on the perimeter. We will install a video display in coming weeks for multi-media presentations, and Wi-Fi is present for Internet connectivity. We have also roughed out an area to build a new restroom in the future, but in the meantime there is one located on the same floor.

We soft-launched use of the room today with an internal training presentation (see photos above right and at right of John Krivosheyff from the Journal Register Co. leading digital sales training). Next week we have a couple public seminars called "Advertising That Works" scheduled (registration required). In coming months we will open it up to a full compliment of activities. We envision workshops for students on journalism; get-togethers for our growing compliment of bloggers; brown bag lunch discussions for businesspeople on topics such as social network and e-mail marketing; and roundtable discussions with local leaders from different fields that we will broadcast and report on.

This room is the result of 10 months of discussion and planning; originally scheduled to be created late last year, the date was pushed back when we decided to renovate another area of our building at the same time to install new pre-press equipment. The proposed named has changed (formerly dubbed the less stylish Community Meeting Room) since February when the CEO of our parent company - Journal Register Co. - announced his desire to establish Community Media Labs at several newspapers. Our paper wasn't on the original launch list but we proceeded because we felt it was a core component of our effort for our newsroom - and all of our staff - to be integrated into the community in new ways and vice-a-versa.

I need to do a shout-out to three people who were instrumental in making this (and our new pre-press facility installed in February) happen: Randy Pobran, operations director; Mike Furman, building services manager; and resident painter extraordinaire Joe Hack. Once again, they did a project on-time, on-budget and above expectations.

We expect our readers have many more ideas than we do on how to use our Community Media Lab - please drop me a note and share yours.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Newsweek to take a page from Journal Register Company playbook

On The Daily Show the editor of Newsweek magazine discussed his publication's fortunes Wednesday; it was previously announced the magazine, which is losing money, is up for sale.

"For 77 years, the emphasis has been on the print," Jon Meacham said. "We had it backwards .... It's probably time to flip that." He said the approach should be to focus on digital delivery and take "the best stuff" from the previous week and compile it for the readers who "want to hold the magazine in their hands".

Newsweek isn't the traditional print media company to reverse its strategy. John Paton announced a similar "digital first, brands first" approach in early February upon being named CEO of the Journal Register Company (parent company of this newspaper).

Newsweek won't be the last print publication to make this announcement if more are to survive - and thrive - in the digital age.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Can you describe Troy in 140 characters or less?

How do you feel about Troy? Are you a lifelong Trojan beaming with pride? Or have you had enough of the Collar City?

The Record wants to know.

Tell The Record what you think of Troy in 140 characters or less (including spaces) and we’ll share your feelings with the world.

Send a direct message on Twitter to @TroyRecord and we’ll send them out to all our followers as they come in. Additionally, you can send an e-mail to tcaprood@troyrecord.com with the subject "TroyNYis".

We plan to expand the project over time by adding video interviews, photographs, comments from area officials and business leaders, and more.

We will even print a number of responses in The Record and post them to our website in the near future.

However, we ask that you be honest and courteous with your responses. Personal attacks, as well as the use of vulgarities or profanities, will not be allowed.

Questions? E-mail The Record's digital specialist, Tom Caprood, at tcaprood@troyrecord.com.

Follow along with us - @TroyRecord on Twitter with the hashtag #TroyNYis

Stable of voices writing blogs at troyrecord.com grows to 27

The Record is expanding the quantity of "voices" in its products, starting with our Web site.

We have added 11 bloggers to our site in the last seven weeks, bringing the total number to 25; we have two more polishing up their first blogs and they should go live later today or over the weekend. This brings us one blogger shy of my previously stated goal of having 28 bloggers on our site by today.

Here is just a sample of some of the new voices at blog central at troyrecord.com:
- Clinton Ballinger, founder and CEO of Evident Technologies, is taking the mystery out of technology without techno-jargon in his fun, relevant and educational blog.
- Marcie Pry, aka Short Temper, rocks and rolls - literally - as a member of the Hellions of Troy Roller Derby. She chronicles her adventures in roller derby, from bragging about bruises received at practice to attending roller derby events.
- Three women - Margaret, Jenn and Amy - from Troy's Some Girls boutique share writing duties for a style and lifestyle blog.

Why our effort? Jay Rosen, New York University professor and a Journal Register Company (our parent company) advisory board member, states the case succinctly: "Journalism - to be fully legitimate - needs to present a plurality of voices, not just one. I don't mean to invoke the gods of balance. They are false gods. I mean to suggest that journalism isn't a monologue. More than one person speaks in it. More than one angle is taken on the object."

Beyond blogs .... From the recent addition of our SeeClick Fix tool to our commenting functions, we're committed to a "plurality of voices" on our Web site. Coming soon is the ability for site viewers to upload their videos to all of our company's Web sites.

Also look for more bloggers. When I set the goal in mid-March of adding 14 bloggers by April 30, I also committed us to adding another 14 by June 30, to bring the total to 42. If you have the expertise, time and interest to blog for us on a particular subject, send a brief bio, contact information and a sample blog (or link to one) to editrecp@troyrecord.com and we’ll review and get back to you quickly.

The Record expands Clothe-A-Child to help send kids to summer camp

The Record announced this morning that we have expanded our Clothe-A-Child Fund to a second annual campaign to raise funds to send children from low income households to summer camp.

Clothe-A-Child is expanding from a narrow mission of buying clothing for needy children to a broader aim. The winter campaign will continue to raise monies to purchase winter clothing for children while the summer effort, called Camps-4-Kids, will focus on funding summer camp scholarships.

The summer campaign will run through mid-June; a goal of $35,000 has been set. This year, Camp Barker, operated by the Boys and Girls Club of Troy, is recipient. The funding couldn't have come at a better time according to the organization's Executive Director Sharon Smith. She reported that two major funding sources for camp support have “dried up completely” recently.

“We were in serious danger of not offering a camp program this summer until The Record came to our rescue,” Smith stated.

More info here.

Donations may be sent to Clothe-A-Child/Camp Fund, The Record, 501 Broadway, Troy, N.Y. 12180.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A look at John Paton's first 90 days as CEO of Journal Register Co.

John Paton will celebrate his 90th day as CEO of the Journal Register Company (parent company of this newspaper) this weekend. It has been a whirlwind three months for John and for the 3,100 employees of JRC, including those working here.

After a year of uncertainty as the company went into, and later emerged from bankruptcy and conducted a search for a leader, JRC has not only been reporting the headlines but making them almost weekly for a series of announcements about the bold steps it is taking to transform to a digital company.

Here are some highlights:
- John started work on Feb. 1; his first two days on the job were attending an already-scheduled meeting of JRC publishers, a handful of editors and corporate executives. He told those gathered the company's current business model was broken and that "all employees must recognize we have to change. And fast." He explained that the company must be "digital first and brands first" and set goals for significantly increasing operating cash flow from the digital side of the business over the next 3 to 5 years. He also charged those in the room with ensuring that the company is the "number one choice" for news in all of the communities that it serves. He restated these and other goals to all employees later in the week in both a companywide phone conference and in a letter.
- An advisory board was named in mid-March. Paton said in the announcement that the board "is charged with helping us assess the changes we need to make (to participate in social media and other digital innovations) and pushing us to experiment in new ways of news creation and delivery." Named were: Jeff Jarvis (an author and associate professor and director of the Interactive Journalism program and the new business models for news project at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism; Jay Rosen, PhD (a professor and former chair of the journalism program at New York University and a member of the Advisory Board of Wikipedia); and Betsy Morgan (a former CEO of the Huffington Post and former senior vice president and general manager of www.CBSNews.com).
- Earlier this month, Paton announced the launch of the Ben Franklin Project. Two JRC newspapers are empowering their communities to decide what information readers would like to see covered, and to become active members of the news-gathering process by submitting tips, personal stories, photos, videos and more using tools found for free on the Internet. Part of the project's mission is to create a web and print publication for one week that uses only free tools widely available on the Internet to demonstrate just how easy it is for citizens to become 'citizen journalists'. One newspaper had a community forum this week to field ideas of what readers would like to see the paper cover as part of the process.
- And last week Paton announced "a major citizen journalism initiative" with a partnership with SeeClickFix that allows Web site visitors to observe, report and follow issues - from poor road conditions to blighted buildings - in their communities.

Other changes include giving EVERY reporter in the company a digital Flip HD camera to contribute video to our Web sites (these were quickly paid for through new digital sales initiatives); the establishment of community media labs at six JRC newspapers (to encourage citizen journalism); restructuring at corporate to flatten the company and give more decision-making powers to the field; a considerable amount of training through Webinars and corporate conferences (touching more than one-third of the company's employees); and announcement of an employee profit-sharing plan.

Paton and JRC have been garnering considerable press for this recent activity. From trade industry magazines such as Editor and Publisher, to bloggers such as Judy Sims, a former vice president of Digital Media for the Toronto Star Media Group, the industry is eagerly watching the transformation at JRC.

But much more change is coming - most importantly, developments that will radically improve all of our print and digital products. You can follow these here on my blog and/or on John's blog.

My gut tells me the activity in this company in any 90 day period over the next few years will equal or exceed the pace of the past three months. Employees are on notice this transformation isn't for the faint of heart, and readers have been encouraged to expect more - and engage more - with the various products that comprise this emerging leader in U.S. community journalism.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oneida digs SeeClickFix feature at oneidadispatch.com

The Oneida Daily Dispatch announced Tuesday it launched a SeeClickFix feature on its web site, whereby local residents can identify issues of concerns in their communities. In 48 hours, viewers have already raised nine issues in Oneida and Verona about everything from potholes to disruptive teens to a zoning dispute. The latter - over a vacant Oneida lot where a planning board has nixed the design for a proposed restaurant - has drawn the most responses.

The mapping/social networking feature has drawn written comments, but also allows for videos and photos to be uploaded.

Our site also has a video from the founder of SeeClickFix, with more information on the possibilites of the product, and another video showing a few of the sites viewers there have complained about, including one of the nastiest poholes I have ever seen (at Oneida High High School).

The Record in Troy, where I am also publisher, launched SeeClickFix in the past month and viewers have opened way more than 50 issues on our site. Among the reports there is a brand new "fake red brick crosswalk on Central Ave in the Village of Colonie, at Vly Road, (which) is falling apart already". The viewer continues, "So much for DOT's new 'fancier', 'cobble-stone look' crosswalks!"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

This newspaper wants to partner with you to 'fix' issues in our communities

The Record and the Oneida Daily Dispatch - both papers at which I am publisher - are part of a major citizen journalism initiative to empower citizens to improve their communities.

Starting today, all 18 Journal Register Company daily newspapers and online publications in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Michigan and Ohio - including in Troy and Oneida - are partnering with www.SeeClickFix.com in the communities they serve.

The partnership provides SeeClickFix portal pages on our websites that allows users to observe, report and follow issues - poor road conditions to blighted buildings - in their communities.

This benefits our community by:

- Encouraging our audience to utilize the SeeClickFix platform to alert fellow residents of impact issues.
- Empowering residents to work with our journalists to address the needs of the community.
- Highlighting those who participate and make a difference through news reports.

We all have some issue - a broken sidewalk or a graffiti-marred public sign - near our home or workplace that drives us a little mad. Chances are someone shares our frustration, and experience has shown that municipalities and others will generally respond to those who shout the loudest. This tool is as effective a way as I know to 'shout' pretty loud.

Visit Oneida Daily Dispatch's or The Record's Web sites and look for the SeeClickFix information on the front page. Troy has had dozens of viewers participate in recent weeks; Oneida just launched theirs today.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Conventional wisdom: Young people do not read newspapers. Except studies show a fair amount do

News reports last week of a new survey of news consumption in Britain shows adults under age 35 significantly increased their consumption of news in the past three years. And more are getting their news from print newspapers.

A McKinsey survey says average daily news consumption in the U.K. increased from 60 to 72 minutes in three years - "an increase driven almost entirely by people under the age of 35", according to a McKinsey spokesperson.

While young adults "overwhelmingly prefer to get their news from television and the Internet," the report says, newspapers remain the most trusted medium. The report said 66 percent of respondents describe the paper as "informative and confidence inspiring" compared to 44 percent for television and just 12 percent for the Web.

"This suggests that newspapers have further scope to go beyond news, to drive reader interest and advertising revenues at the same time," a spokesperson wrote.

And "interest" in getting news from newspapers has grown, the survey found. Among people aged 16 to 24, interest in newspaper news grew from 53 to 64 percent since a 2006 survey. Among 25-34 year olds, interest grew from 51 to 61 percent.

A study released last month from a 2009 survey of Canadian newspaper readers found print newspaper readership among young adults roughly the same as the general population.

A study by NADbank reported that 71 percent of adults ages 18-24 read a print version of a newspaper in the past seven days, nearly identical to the percentage of all adults age 18 and older (73 percent). Young adults were less likely than the general adult population (37 percent vs. 47 percent) to have responded they read a newspaper "yesterday" however, mirroring historical trends which show younger adults tend to be more often consumers of single and pass-along copies (and therefore not reading every day).

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Record's coverage of breaking news story Tuesday sets site traffic record

On Tuesday I blogged about how The Record newsroom executed coverage that day of breaking news story – Troy’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute locked down its campus after an alleged armed robber was reportedly sighted near one of its buildings - exemplified our paper's digital first strategy.

I also said readers responded to our tweets, blogs and e-mail alerts and scoured our coverage in large numbers. The traffic stats are in and we set a one-day site record for visitors, crushing a record set a week earlier. Some 26,343 visits were recorded, up 46 percent over a previous one-day record of 18,028. Wednesday's coverage also drove an audience near the size of the previous record: 17,422 visitors. We also set a one-day record for page views on Tuesday (70.556). And, we set a record for two-day views of a single video (4,156) of the sound of an RPI alert shot from our newsroom window. Another video from the same package also recorded the second most views over a two-day period (2,743).

Our use of social media to drive site traffic also drove registration for our main Twitter news account; 45 new followers signed up.

More on how our digital efforts are paying off in bigger audiences in future blogs.