JRC ideaLab

This is where members of Journal Register’s ideaLab will provide insight and information into their projects.

Meet the members of the ideaLab:

Angela Carter: Aside from her day-to-day coverage of greater New Haven’s business community for The Register (www.NewHavenRegister.com), Angi has launched her Fi$callyFit blog to focus on financial issues directly impacting the lives and wallets of the readers of The Register (www.NewHavenRegister). She has leveraged her extensive contacts to help grow her following through a number of live chats as well.

Ivan Lajara: As the Life Editor at The Daily Freeman (www.DailyFreeman.com) Ivan blogs, recently led an editorial system install and plans to use these tools to “open a two-way street for tips and concerns and allowed our readers to tell us what are the uncovered stories that are on their minds. And follow up.”

Tim Ingle: An advertising account executive at The News-Herald (www.News-Herald.com), Tim played a large role in the first Ben Franklin Project, helping develop the “Ben Franklin in a Box” model. Tim also helped lead training for others during the second Ben Franklin Project.

Kelly Metz: The Morning Journal’s (www.MorningJournal.com) courts reporter, Kelly is also one half of the blogging duo behind News: From the field (the tale of two rookies starting out in the new age of journalism).

John Lazzeri: As Circulation Director at The Oakland Press (www.TheOaklandPress.com), John has been utilizing social media to promote – as he put it during his application to the Idea Lab – “the value of our print edition, drive sales, and improve retention.” John also launched Delivering This, a circulation blog aimed at sharing ideas for improving growth in sales and audience by sharing what works with others.

Kaitlyn Yeager: Kaitlyn, a reporter with The Register Citizen (www.RegisterCitizen.com), has a plan of creating a mobile journalist who can create content for multiple platforms all while staying connected with the audience and her editors. Her work on various crowdsourced stories as part of the Ben Franklin Project showcased her attention to our audience.

Dennis Kaffenberger: As a programmer working in our Michigan-based Shared Services division, Dennis – who helped develop a free classified ordering system as part of the Ben Franklin Project – plans on working toward applications for this technology that would benefit our audience (e-edition displays), circulation (turn-by-turn voice direction for delivery), and advertising (mark up changes to a client’s ad during a sales consultation).

Marissa Raymo: Aside from her daily duties in advertising sales at The Oakland Press (www.TheOaklandPress), Marissa also writes Horse Sense, an equestrian blog serving Oakland County. In her application for the Idea Lab Marissa focused on two growth areas for Journal Register Company and for our customers – mobile and SEO.

Michelle Rogers: Michelle, editor of The Saline Reporter and The Milan News-Leader, part of the Heritage Newspapers group, is the only member of the Idea Lab who did not nominate herself. Michelle was selected based on her daily efforts at her community weeklies where she is constantly focused on growing her audience and has done so by recruiting community contributors and hosting local blogging seminars.

Tom Caprood: The digital specialist of The Record (www.TroyRecord.com) in Troy, NY, Tom works with the staff to coordinate the newsrooms video and social media efforts – something showcased during The Record’s coverage of a robber on campus at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute earlier this year. Tom’s aim of developing a digital workflow where reporters spend time in the field and not in the office is part of his goal for the ideaLab.

Karen Workman: As a reporter for The Oakland Press (www.TheOaklandPress.com) Along with her video capabilities and her blogging efforts on her dog blog The Dog Blog, Karen also has a collaborative spirit of how to utilize the tools from the Idea Lab. She plans on sharing what she has and what she knows with her co-workers – just as she has done by helping train others on staff in video.

Chris Stanley: As the online editor at The Reporter (www.TheReporterOnline.com), Chris has been one of Journal Register’s leading producers of video and digital content. He has also worked to extend The Reporter’s offerings to include a local blog network, community organization pages and sports schedules – all areas the company can replicate and extend to other sites.

Chris March: Since transferring from The Mercury (www.PottsMerc.com) to The Register (www.NewHavenRegister.com), Chris has brought his experience in promotions and audience development to New Haven’s digital department. Chris’ application to the Idea Lab received support from his co-workers at both The Mercury and The Register.

Ben Doody: Ben, the Assistant Sports Editor at The Trentonian (www.Trentonian.com), has long been using free digital tools on his beat for the Trenton-based tabloid. His The Full Court Press blog – which he launched in 2007 – chronicles Rutgers football and MAAC basketball and his Ben Franklin Project story focused on the effort to bring baseball back to the youth of Trenton

Anthony SanFilippo A Philly native and sports staffer at The Daily Times (www.DelcoTimes.com), Anthony has developed a loyal following with his coverage of the Philadelphia Flyers. Anthony’s In The Room blog and his extensive video coverage of the team have increased that following because, as he puts it, he’s “just (the fans) humble representative with access” to the players.


Karl Sickafus: The Daily Local’s (www.DailyLocal.com) Karl Sickafus showed during the second Ben Franklin Project that he is ready to experiment and develop solutions. Those who know him know that there is no shortage of ideas – maybe only time – with Karl. He helped lead training during the Ben Franklin Project and has mapped out a free, open-source ad/edit tracking system.

LeeAnn Moran: During the first Ben Franklin Project The News-Herald’s (www.News-Herald.com) composing manager led the experimentation with Scribus that allowed the newsrooms that followed to produce their BFP newspapers. She also led company-wide training during these projects.

Viktoria Sundquvist: Since being promoted from The Register Citizen (www.RegisterCitizen.com) to the top editorial post at The Middletown Press (www.MiddletownPress.com) Vik has developed a digital first strategy to transform her small, community-focused newsroom.

21 responses to “JRC ideaLab

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  2. I vow to pay for the first ideaLab by bending some ears and developing a JRC Lottery initiative.

    Let’s say there are 18 labRats. Each is given $1,300 in hardware and $6,000 in grants.

    That’s (($7,300 * 18 = $131,400)/12) about $11,000 a month for the next 12 months.

    If we can build an attractive Lottery page/blog on our websites and include a mobile “app”, and a live “tweet” as Lottery numbers are drawn, this is what I envision can happen.

    We already know many single copy sales are made for retrieving lottery results. So, the interest is there. Most of our papers offer little if any lottery coverage online. We also know that there are hundreds of ticket outlets per county. Each ticket outlet makes 5% commission on ticket sales (we know for fact in PA). We also know our states’ lottery commissions have set aside untapped advertising revenue, most of which goes to radio and TV.

    If we have 18 daily papers which need to make up, at the very least, $11,000 in new revenue per month, that’s a little over $600 per paper. We can definitely sell $150.00 in new revenue per week just by hitting the ticket sellers, not to mention getting a small chunk of the sate’s advertising revenue. We can sell banner ads, pre-rolls, strip ads (print), sponsored “tweets” sponsored mobile “apps”, the list is endless. There are three drawings per day, so there are three possible sponsored “tweets” per day.

    Our Lottery pages need to be sharp, informative and fun. We can develop my scripts that offer lottery players fun statistics they may not have ever thought about. We can take advantage of the state’s lottery media content that we leave unattended. The content is already there. The revenue is “potentially” there, we just have to go after it with an attractive idea.


  3. “Icebreaker Coupons”

    I had the “spark” of an idea on the way to work today. After presenting it to three other people, in a matter of ten minutes, we already had a host of ideas to incorporate; mobile devices, web sites as well as our print editions.

    What additional ideas can you and your site come up with to make this a money maker for your publications?

    Here is the crux of the idea.

    So, you are “out on the town” at one of our participating sponsors. You see someone at the establishment whom you’d like to buy a drink. So you use one of our “Icebreaker Coupons”. You get a certain discount when you buy the drink, and you fill out your Icebreaker Coupon with certain information like your Facebook name. The bartender delivers your drink along with your Icebreaker Coupon.

    We envision:

    Icebreaker events
    Icebreaker pages on our web sites where you sign up and get an “Icebreaker Code”
    Your Icebreaker Code is on your coupon
    Your Icebreaker Friend looks you up on the Icebreaker page
    Icebreaker event videos
    Icebreaker Tweets

    Most of which can be SPONSORED.


  4. Bruce Spiro

    I have an idea that would fit in very nicely with the idea lab team to investigate. There is a new product on the market which is not expensive and is sold in large retail chains like best Buy. The product name is Livescribe. It is an electronic pen that is used with special paper that has an invisible grid on the paper. You right on the paper like normal but can then upload your writing through a USB port on the pen into any mobile device. The writing goes through character recognition so that it shows up in word or other word processing programs ready for spell checking and uploading to a content management system. The Pen has a built in microphone so it can also record sessions for later playback.

    So the idea is during an interview you record the session and take notes. Once you are done, you can instantly upload to your Mobile device and send to Web media channels. Then at a later time you can listen to the recording and as you are listening you can write more notes to expand the story.

    Bruce Spiro

  5. Bruce,

    Michelle Rogers and the team at Heritage have been experimenting with one.

    You can see a little of how they’ve done so far here: http://idealabheritage.wordpress.com/2010/08/23/what-a-smart-pen/

    Jon Cooper
    VP, Content

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  7. Ivan L. Herring

    Has the Journal Register Group taken a position on “Bullying” and/ or “Cyberbullying”? It has gotten a lot of press recently and some interseting new products are in the Market. I wrote thie (uncopyrighted) article on one that may be of interest as it allows Parental Intervention before disaster strikes.
    One of the most basic instincts in the Animal Kingdom is the desire of a parent to protect ones offspring. How often have you heard someone say, “she’s like a momma bear protecting her cubs”? A problem is that we, as “modern humans”, don’t always know when our children are in danger. In this information age of “instant gratification” and “the world at your fingertips”, we are often not aware of our children’s plight, and when we do suspect something, they usually don’t want to openly discuss it with us. We tend to ignore that these “electronic marvels” have made our children equally accessible to those who seek to do them physical or emotional harm or take advantage of them financially. No matter how hard we try to be a “good parent”, the 6:00 PM news still seems filled with stories of violence, drugs and sex facilitated by the perpetrator using the new “electronic media,” especially mobile phone texting.

    Now there may be something we can do about it. Protext Mobility, a publicly traded New York-based company, in conjunction with the AmberWatch Foundation announced Wednesday a new Direct-to-Consumer device-based application for Android smartphones called AmberWatch® SafeText (www.amberwatchsafetext.com). AmberWatch® SafeText is a way for parents to keep their children safe in the world of text and social-based communications. Today the average teenager in possession of a mobile phone sends and receives over 3,300 text messages per month (Source: The Nielsen Company). AmberWatch® SafeText will alert parents when dangerous or inappropriate messages are detected so they don’t have to review the hundreds of messages on their child’s phone that could include unidentifiable words, phrases, and slang.

    The AmberWatch® SafeText system reviews each text sent or received by the child’s phone, searching for key words and phrases that may represent a threat to the child. It isn’t fooled by the abbreviations used by young texters today either. The company maintains a linguistic library and a proprietary Bayesian algorithm that interprets data streams into “real English” for the parent. When a risk is detected, the system sends a text message notification to the parent’s mobile phone and/or an e-mail “alert” to a computer, designated by the parent, informing them a violation has been encountered. This allows the parent to make an informed decision as to the type and level of risk the text message represents and to decide what to do about it.

    One of the concerns generally held in respect to applications like these is the invasion of one’s privacy. To ease concerns over this issue, Protext Mobility strictly adheres to the fact that its systems will not be used for profiling or marketing of any type. The data is owned by the contract holder, usually the parent, and cannot be used without their expressed consent. Also, data can be wiped from the Protext Mobility servers immediately after scanning, so the only permanent record will be the data sent, by text message and/or e-mail, to the parent’s mobile phone and/or home computer. In this way the child’s and the parent’s privacy should be well protected.

    Protext Mobility is a company taking on a massive initiative, so it will take a little time to get the product inserted into the market. While the initial launch is Direct-to-Consumer focused, the company is pursuing in parallel a carrier-based, network strategy. The network-based version of the solution tailored for mobile network operators allows them to offer AmberWatch® SafeText to their entire subscriber base, regardless of device type. Regardless of how the application is distributed it will probably cost in the range of $10.00/month for the service, but that may be a small price for “peace of mind” and the safety of your child.

    If circumstances dictate you need a service like this right now it can be obtained if the child uses an Android-based smartphone, where the application is currently available through the AmberWatch® SafeText site at http://www.amberwatchsafetext.com. Subsequent device-based releases will support additional device platforms, such as Blackberry.

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