The Statesman Journal in Salem, Ore., is the May winner of APME's Innovator of the Month contest. The paper is honored for its social media integration into reader contests.
APME's Innovator of the Year, now in its fifth year, is expanding in 2011 by naming an innovation of the month.
"We're pleased at APME to put a continuing spotlight on innovations at newspapers," said Bob Heisse, APME vice president and Innovations Committee chairman. "Salem’s project shares a great idea.”
Here's how the entry submitted by Bill Church, executive editor, described the innovation in the entry:
"The Statesman Journal in Salem launched online-only voting for its annual Best of Mid-Valley contest three years ago. This is a revenue-generating digital project that can quickly grow reader engagement and traffic for all sites. Online users nominate entries in numerous categories and then are allowed to vote once daily during the contest period.
"This year, Best of Mid-Valley saw record growth in digital traffic, thanks to exclusive early voting through Facebook, hundreds of tweets during the contest period and the launch of a mobile Best of Mid-Valley that integrates Foursquare.
"The online results were repurposed into a Sunday special section that saw more than a 55 percent revenue increase. BOMV winners also were invited to an open house at the Statesman Journal, where they had photos taken, received BOMV certificates and – most important of all – ate great cake.”
"Best of Mid-Valley connected with our audience in experiential, fun ways. To build community, you need to become part of it. That’s been our approach to social media,” said Church, who can be reached at email@example.com
Contest judge Kathy Best, managing editor at The Seattle Times, said: "Compelling mobile presentations are going to be critical to our industry's future. The Statesman-Journal came up with a simple, attractive and very useful way to put valuable and useful information into the hands of their readers no matter where they are. The fact that it's tied to their engagement efforts via social media makes it even more compelling.”