By: Nu Yang
When a newspaper announces a redesign, it usually has to do with its layout, its fonts or its masthead. The Pioneer News Group Co. is planning a different kind of transformation: a content redesign. The Seattle-based family media business owns 23 newspapers primarily in the Northwest.
President and chief executive officer Mike Gugliotto said the project’s goal is to create content that will connect with their readership. “As a company, we should be more responsible at filling the needs of our readers,” he said.
The content redesign will take place at nine Pioneer newspapers, including the Bozeman (Mont.) Daily Chronicle, Idaho Press-Tribune (Nampa, Idaho), Idaho State Journal (Pocatello, Idaho), The Herald and News (Klamath Falls, Ore.), Herald Journal (Logan, Utah), Standard Journal (Rexburg, Idaho), Skagit Valley Herald (Mount Vernon, Wash.), Teton Valley News (Driggs, Idaho), and Ellensburg (Wash.) Daily Record.
Gugliotto said these publications were chosen because they had the largest circulations in their news group.
To ensure the project’s success, Pioneer News Group Co. has partnered with the American Press Institute and the Poynter Institute. According to API, the project will include an API-designed content auditing system that will add meta-tags to news stories. API will combine this story data with its web analytics to gauge readership of different types of content. In addition, each paper administered about 800 API-designed audience surveys in each paper’s market in July that provided an in-depth assessment of audience and behavior. From there, each paper will then use these tools to create a plan to revise its coverage.
“We hope these tools we are building can help publishers begin to use data to serve their communities in a deeper and much more informed way,” said API executive director Tom Rosenstiel.
Gugliotto, who also sits on API’s board of directors, said, “First, we must find out what the community wants and what it believes it wants before we can give them that content. We have to find out what they’re about.”
After a fall management retreat in September with each of the participating paper’s publisher and managing editor in attendance, Gugliotto said he plans to launch the redesign during the company’s fourth quarter. Gugliotto said he would like to see each paper’s total audience grow as a result of the content redesign. “We want to utilize more of our sources while anticipating our audience’s changing needs. It’s about being a better match with the community and doing a better job, and knowing day in and day out if we’re making a difference.