I have now been on the job for three weeks.
And the more I learn about the Journal Register Company and its employees the more I am certain this company will successfully make the transition from a newspaper company to a dynamic, multi-platform news and information company.
On my first day, I promised Flip video cameras in the hands of every reporter in this company. We have already shipped some and I am happy to tell you we will be able to successfully deliver on that promise by the end of the month. We also shipped some of the Flips to advertising directors as well. Not only have we started to add ever more compelling video to our news sites but we have already made some money using them too.
Check out this:
The Pottstown Mercury series on teen driving has been so successful the series is being incorporated by State Farm Insurance into their Southeastern PA public affairs programs on driving safety in schools. That is outstanding work. Message to Publisher Tom Abbott: Buy that group lunch and send me the bill. Go to the Mercury site and see for yourself.
Over at the Oakland Press, Advertising Director Teresa Goodrich, with a Flip in her hands less than a day, recorded this advertiser testimonial. Just listen to what the advertiser said about the power of advertising online and in print with our Oakland products. You will find that video and more on the Oakland site. Again, this is outstanding work and I am pleased to have awarded a $500 bonus to Teresa. Her initiative, just like the initiative shown by our team at the Mercury, will take us much more quickly into our digital future.
I also promised you the company would commit to improving both our information technology systems and skill sets. I am pleased to tell you we have already engaged a highly skilled consultant to review our I.T. situation. His report is due on my desk the first week of April.
If you are unsure about the commitments I have made to you and our company, you can find a presentation, about how I see the future and what we need to do, on our website at www.journalregister.com.
At our two-day Online Sales Summit in Yardley last week, I was impressed with the level of innovation and enthusiasm from our online team. And while all were good, one person truly stood out. Daphne Miller, Online Advertising Manager at the News Herald in Lake County Ohio, blew everyone away. Daphne, working on her own, built a web-based system for tracking sales using Google tools that could be updated from a web-enabled cell phone. Daphne didn’t wait for the company to get its act together she just got doing and what a fantastic job she did. The company is now working with Daphne to roll out her system to other properties. I was honored to be able to hand over a $1,000 cash bonus to Daphne at the Online Sales Summit dinner that evening.
More importantly, I invited Daphne to join the committee of Publishers, Editors and Ad Directors of our Top 5 papers chaired by Jon Cooper. Coop and his group will be setting up our Community Journalism Media Labs and setting up relationships with innovative digital firms in our communities. As I told Daphne and her colleagues, I don’t care what your title is, if you have a smart idea you will be rewarded and involved in helping to improve our company.
We expect to have details on the promised Profit Sharing Plan to you in the next couple of weeks or so.
I have now met hundreds of you in person and many more via email and I look forward to meeting you all. I have visited some of our properties and am excited about my visit this week with some of our staff in Ohio and Michigan.
Our journey of transforming this company has just begun but already we are being noticed. Some of the messages from our Online Sales Summit and our other initiatives are being noticed in the web world and we are being tagged as a company to watch.
Finally, I promised better communication when I started three weeks ago. Hopefully, this email is proof of that – it’s the first time anyone has been able to email every employee with an email account in a single email. Not a huge innovation but a good start. Now I need to hear from you.