In order to highlight the critical role they play in their communities, both GateHouse Media and Cox Media Group have launched marketing initiatives centered on local journalism.
During the first week of June, GateHouse started featuring “Newsroom Hero” profiles of its journalists in 130 daily newspapers. Each profile typically includes a photo, brief message about journalism and short bio of the particular person. The concept of the campaign stemmed from discussions with dozens of GateHouse editors across the country, said vice president of marketing Alain Begun.
“The paper and the news teams are both part of the fabric of their communities,” he said. “And they also provide the kind of in-depth, local reporting on key issues that other media don’t cover. So we thought it was important to showcase these local heroes who are having such a big impact.”
Begun said that the choice of who to profile was left up to each individual editorial team.
“Because the publications are all running multiple versions of the ad, there will be opportunities to showcase many different editors, writers, photographers and columnists in the months ahead,” he said.
GateHouse plans to run the campaign throughout the year, adding its 314 weekly newspapers to the mix later in the summer. Eventually, it will extend across all GateHouse print and digital properties.
Begun said he’s already heard from several editors that readers have commented on the importance of the role the paper plays. “That’s the type of feedback we were hoping for.”
Around the same time GateHouse kicked off its campaign, Cox Media Group commenced the “Worth Knowing” brand marketing strategy across the company’s seven daily newspaper markets, including The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Austin American-Statesman and The Dayton (Ohio) Daily News. The messaging strategy is based on four pathways identified in research of what readers most value: personal ritual, community pride, real journalism and civic responsibility.
“Our objective is to deepen an emotional connection and effectively communicate why we are not only worth reading, but worth paying for, which is critical as subscriber revenue becomes a larger percentage of our budget,” said Amy Chown, vice president of marketing at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
According to Chown, messaging will appear “across all consumer touch points.” Additionally, the company’s television and radio assets will be used in Dayton and Atlanta.
Though there is no specific timeline to the campaign, Chown emphasized that it wouldn’t be a short-term strategy.
“The core message is part of a long-term brand marketing strategy,” she said. “We will continue to infuse this message across all marketing channels and touch points and underscore what readers value most from us—it’s worth knowing what’s really going on with their tax dollars, roads, government, schools and community.”