Interesting article from the New York Times, “Walk In, Grab a Muffin and Watch a Newspaper Reinvent Itself” about the Torrington, CT Register Citizen.
In a town suffering from the recession, the Register Citizen has taken several steps to remake itself, including:
- Developing a new slogan: “Digital First.. Print Last.”
- Moving into a new building “designed to mirror the open, collaborative culture of the Web.”
- Inviting town residents to participate in the paper’s editorial meeting, offering coffee and muffins at the Newsroom Cafe and bringing in a new level of transparency to the paper.
- Embraced a new business plan “based on making The Register Citizen’s Web site a magnet for all things local and thus an attractive place for advertisers, sponsors and others who can replace declining newspaper subscribers and advertisers.”
This type of community engagement seems to be working both with readers, especially online, and with advertising, which now comprises 17 percent of total ad revenue.
It’s still at the experimental stage. But the Register Citizen could be a model for other papers. Since the paper is owned by the Journal Register, which owns 300 other papers, we just might see the modeler extend to other local papers.