World Association of News Publishers

Project Thunderdome

Project Thunderdome

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“The idea is to put the end-user at the centre of everything we do,” says Jonathan Cooper, VP of Content, Journal Register Company, of its new Project Thunderdome.

Jonathan Cooper, VP of Content, Journal Register Company

US-based Journal Register Company (JRC) publishes 18 dailies, numerous weeklies, monthlies, specials and hundreds of websites.

Mr Cooper says JRC’s project aims to cenralise everything throughout the company that can possibly be centralised in order to free up individual publications to concentrate on what they do best: Engage audiences at the local level.

“We are no longer the centre of the conversation,” Mr Cooper says. “Our audience picks the platfroms of their choice to speak with whomever they want, and they do it whenever they want.”

“Engagement must include multiple touchpoints,” he says and this can be accomplished in a number of ways.

For example, they recently asked readers the question “What are the worst roads in the area?” This is something that users care about, but it would not be possible for the JRC’s staff to cover themselves. However, since it is a topic readers have strong feelings about, they were happy to respond and sent in their nominations.

Noting that it’s difficult to know where to start such a massive iniative as the one JRC is undertaking, Mr Cooper says that are taking a Nike approach: Just do it.

He also notes the success of the company’s ideaLab, which had more than 200 employees apply to become part of an ongoing effort that is open to all ideas, and offers staff new technologies (iPad, etc.) to experiment with in order to try to come up with new solutions that could be used companywide. About 25 people have been selected to spend part of their working time on the project.

It is important to be open to new ideas and know that not everything will work, Mr Cooper says.


Brian Veseling's picture

Brian Veseling


2011-06-09 23:39

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