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our independence from an industry that ties itself up with expensive proprietary I.T. systems and processes that are outdated almost the day they are installed."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 "Along the way, we will prove we can challenge the outdated business model of print to a model of the future that preserves and enhances our journalism."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.

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