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Innovator of the Year expands: January winner is Register Citizen of Torrington, Conn.

Thursday, February 3, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Laura Sellers-Earl
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The Register Citizen, an 8,000-circulation daily in Torrington, Conn., is the first winner of APME's innovator of the month contest.

The Register Citizen, owned Journal Register Co., was recognized in January for its groundbreaking Newsroom Cafe, which began in December.
APME's Innovator of the Year, now in its fifth year, is expanding by naming an innovation of the month. Each monthly winner will be invited to enter the annual contest, which is open to all newspapers in the U.S. and Canada and is awarded at the APME conference in Denver in September.
"The Register Citizen shows that innovations come in all sizes," said Bob Heisse, APME vice president and Innovations Committee chairman. "We're pleased at APME to put a year-round spotlight on innovations at newspapers." 
Here's how the entry submitted by Publisher Matt DeRienzo and Editor Emily M. Olson described the innovation:
"The Register Citizen, an 8,000-circulation daily in Northwest Connecticut, moved from its 105-year-old ‘fortress-like’ building to new offices built around an ‘open newsroom’ concept. We built a coffee shop into the space, with leather couches and chairs, cafe tables, coffee and pastries for sale, free public Wi-Fi, an artist of the month gallery program, and no walls between it and the newsroom. The public can sit in on daily newsroom meetings, which are also live-streamed on the Web.
"We offer free access to 134 years of archives in the space, computer workstations for local bloggers and citizen journalists, and free community meeting space. A classroom with video conferencing was built right into the newsroom, and we offer free classes for staff and public on journalism, writing, technology and where they intersect, which are also live-streamed free on the Web."
How is the Newsroom Cafe going? Here's an update on the progress:

DeReinzo said Newsroom Cafe is the manifestation of  a new "digital first" philosophy at Journal Register Co., instituted by John Paton, who became CEO in February  2010.
Applications for APME monthly innovation recognition are being accepted at

Left, Andy Thibault, left, and Jan Smolinski lead a class 
on the Freedom of Information Act Wednesday night 
at The Register Citizen's new Community Journalism School
at 59 Field Street in Torrington. Submitted photo

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APME is a professional network, a resource for helping editors and broadcasters improve their news coverage and newsroom operations.

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