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October's Innovator of the Month: Press of Atlantic City wins for Jersey Shore Nightlife

Friday, November 18, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: David Arkin
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Neill Borowski

OCTOBER'S INNOVATOR OF THE MONTH

Winner: Neill Borowski
Paper: The Press of Atlantic City
Position: Executive Editor and Content Director
Why his paper won: His newspaper created a print, online and mobile product that covers Atlantic City's clubs scene. 
Links: WebsiteFacebook page and mobile site



1. What prompted you to create this innovation?

The motivation was twofold. First, we wanted to create a lively club-oriented section in the weekly At The Shore entertainment publication to attract a young audience and to enable our advertising department to approach clubs and bars for new (incremental) sales. Second, the section was viewed as the content provider for a new mobile website that is part of a broader initiative in digitally providing deep tourism information for Atlantic City.

2. What were the steps in creating it?

The double-truck clubs/bars section in print was a new product that was an extension of our core. Like other new print products, we prototyped several versions and the advertising department ran them by potential advertisers to research revenue potential. From a journalism perspective, we would have done this club section with news hole without advertising. However, we wanted to give it every chance to make money. The ad configuration was a bit different — an ad in the lower left corner of the left page and the same-sized ad in the upper right corner of the right page. The ads looked balanced with the design of the double-truck. It sold from the beginning and only once or twice have we had non-club advertising when we were between advertisers.

After producing our print product, our web team began designing a mobile website that would house all of the information produced by the At The Shore team. This site (www.clubsJerseyShore.com) also has its own unique features, including seamless connections to social media.


3. How did you introduce or promote it to your audience?

We promoted the print product heavily on the front page as well as throughout the newspaper. We made a strategic decision not to heavily market our mobile website until it became one facet of our total digital plan for the tourism market. However, we are doing some "free” promotion to the mobile web in the paper, including a QR code in the section that sends the audience to videos of the nightspots.


4. Any results thus far?

We’ve enjoyed consistent advertising revenue for the print product and positive reaction from both clubs/bars as well as those who go to those venues. Traffic is building on the mobile website. I was surprised recently when my 21-year-old son was visiting and we were driving into Atlantic City. I told him the clubs address and he looked at it on his iPhone. "I go there quite a bit to look up clubs, it’s a neat site,” he told me. He had discovered it through Google and didn’t realize it was our site.

5. What would you recommend to other media wanting to do a similar project?

I cannot say enough about the agile implementation of mobile websites. It is a joy. Like others, we were distracted by iPhone and Droid apps in the beginning. We have a couple of them for our overall website. However, for the iPhone, you are under the control of Apple and its app store and for smaller operations like ours you never own the app — you only lease them for a monthly fee. Our web team has become proficient at putting up mobile sites urgently (when necessary). We had one up in a couple of days for Hurricane Irene. We’ve also had mobile websites for the Dave Matthews Band Caravan in June and for the Atlantic City Air Show in August. We livecast several hours of the air show and the air show parade over our mobile site.

Have a great innovation? Apply here for Innovator of the Month.

Recent winners

• August Innovator of the Month: The Winnipeg Free Press (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
The Winnipeg Free Press wins August Innovator of the Month award

• September Innovator of the Month: Quad-City Times (Davenport, Iowa)
Quad-City Times wins Innovator of the Month for Friday Night Tweets (September)


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