We Did It!

Folks,

We did it.

On April 21 we launched the Ben Franklin Project. Our ambitious idea was – from content creation to sales, ad order entry and customer relationship management – to actually produce and print products using only free, web-based tools. We were to bypass costly proprietary systems and the legacy editorial process by going straight to the web and the audience in our communities. And we were to do all of this at one of our dailies and one of weeklies within 30 days.

Well, we did it – in 29 days.

The amazing staffers at our daily, The News-Herald in Lake County, Ohio and our weekly at Montgomery Media’s Perkasie News-Herald reinvented almost every process it takes to produce a website and newspaper and involved our communities every step of the way.

See VP of Content, Jon Cooper’s post on The Ben Franklin Project site http://tinyurl.com/2dccaup  for details on how our brilliant and innovative colleagues just pulled off what must be a first for our industry.

Our journalists dove deep into their communities to find out what they wanted and collaboratively developed stories. Working the crowd and the cloud they worked on stories including blighted neighborhoods and dangerous intersections.

Our production folks bravely dropped all of the familiar tools of our industry and figured out how to do their jobs with no budget just a connection to the web.

The result has been groundbreaking for our Company as we have changed our focus and culture from legacy based to Digital First.

I don’t know if Ben Franklin would be proud but I sure am. The Journal Register Company is now a company to be watched and that is because of you.

So, what next?

How about starting Monday, and 30 days from then, every one of our 18 daily newspapers pulls off another Ben Franklin Project? What do you say?

Until next time, John.

7 thoughts on “We Did It!

  1. Excitement, creativity, laughs and groans, could all be found in The News-Herald editorial and production departments during the Ben Franklin project. The TEAM pulled it off and should be proud. Now, The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio will learn from their sister paper and soon be a member of the Ben Franklin project class. The bar has been set high.

  2. I am very proud to be part of The News-Herald team! It was with great anticipation we waited for the press to print our edition and get into our hands. I am sure our readers felt the same way.

  3. Pingback: DALLA ‘NUVOLA’ ALLA CARTA. IN 29 GIORNI « Senzamegafono

  4. I knew these papers could pull it off, and I raise my glass to them.

    But I’m more curious about how their readers reacted to the final product; in print – and online. Did we get feedback? Did we toot our horns about this remarkable feat we were doing the day before and the day of? I was surprised to not find any promotion or discussion of the final product on either’s website after publication. Got buzz on the media blogosphere – but what about locally?

    And I’m even MORE curious about how the rest of JRC feels about this bold step now taken? Where’s all the Paton blog commentators now?? Surely, there must be dozens of questions, fears and curiosities about how we can apply what these papers learned to our own BFPs that we dive into next week.

    -chris march, nhregister.com

  5. Well put Chris. Seems like John (Mr. Transparency) Paton is awfully quiet when it comes to those “thorny” issues and questions not toting the company line……

  6. Chris, all good questions. Some are answered on the Ben Franklin Project blog (jrcbenfranklinproject.wordpress.com) but most have to be answered by your colleagues. I, like you, am interested in the answers. John.

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