Our successful Ben Franklin Project ( http://bit.ly/apHRbA ) has shown the world that in an industry that can be bereft of good ideas that smart people with the willingness to take a risk can produce revolutionary results.
But like all successful revolutions we need to continue the journey. And like all successful revolutions we have a goal – independence.
On July 4th we will declare our independence.
We will 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 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our independence from an industry that ties itself up with expensive proprietary I.T. systems and processes that are outdated almost the day they are installed.
On July 4th all of our 18 daily newspapers will publish, both online and in print, using only free web-based tools. Just like our successful projects to date ( http://bit.ly/bxofDh )we will crowd source content and – from ad order entry to sales, finance, and publishing on the web and in print – we will bypass our proprietary systems.
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. Along the way, we will prove we can challenge the outdated business model of print to a model of the future that preserves and enhances our journalism.
From July 4th on we will continue to explore ever more ways to shed the past and adopt the future.
To that end, we are, immediately, establishing the ideaLab.
To start, we are going to equip 15 Journal Register Company staff members with the latest tools and give them the time and money to experiment with them. Each member of the ideaLab will be equipped, initially, with an iPhone, iPad and a Netbook. We will carve out 10 hours a week from their jobs to allow them time to experiment with these tools and report back on how we can change our business for the better. And we will add an extra $500 per month to their pay.
How do you become a member of the ideaLab? In about 200 words or less, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post on my blog what you would do with the tools and time to improve our business. Any Journal Register Company employee in any division or any department – part-time or full-time – is eligible. I will involve our Advisory Board ( http://bit.ly/dyhkVK ) in the selection of the 15 staffers and we will make sure the ideas of those chosen will be posted on my blog and the Ben Franklin Project site.
Now, the ball is in your court. Over to you.
Until next time, John.