Friday, November 16, 2012

Three newspaper projects garner APME quarterly awards

            Newspaper projects from Arizona, Michigan and Oklahoma have been selected for the Associated Press Media Editors' quarterly idea and innovation awards.

          Judges selected “Traditions,” the Arizona Republic's multimedia project on the state's large number of American Indians, as the winner of its “Great Idea of the Quarter.” They also selected the Detroit Free Press' “Project Prom” and The Oklahoman's “What's It Like” as winners of the “Innovation of the Quarter.”

           In the description about “Traditions,” Republic Editor Nicole Carroll wrote that the project was the “first-ever comprehensive collection of demographic, historic and traditional information about Arizona’s large and diverse community of American Indians, combined with award-winning reporting and photography.”
          “Because of the team’s creativity and sensitivity, they were able to gain access to historic traditions that few people have been able to witness, including coming-of-age ceremonies and other sacred events that have roots extending into the past for centuries.”
          One of the judges wrote about the project that can be found at “This is what we do best, and it was creative to pursue it so thoroughly.”
          As for the innovation winners, judges selected The Detroit Free Press and The Oklahoman as co-winners.
          The Detroit Free Press used its many tools, from print to online to social media, to encourage high school students to create prom dresses from newspapers. Efforts by staff members Krista Jahnke and Alexandra Bahou were so successful that participants lobbied for their dresses on Facebook, and more than 3,200 votes were cast. An interior and fashion expo also requested that the winner display the dress during the event.
          Judges thought the project that can be seen at was innovative in several different ways.
          One judge wrote: “The innovative idea of the newspaper dresses works on so many levels: engaging with a new, younger audience; two, poking fun at ourselves and other uses for our product; and three, showing that the staff and business can be playful with the readers -- we will copy the idea.”
          Nancy Andrews, managing editor for Digital Media at the Free Press, said: “The idea exceeded our fondest expectations. ... It was so successful that we’re already planning for next year — and we’ve attracted interest from a popular shopping mall.”
          The Oklahoman's innovation takes an interactive approach to questions that readers might ask about medical procedures or that they may undergo themselves in their lives.
          The idea by Assistant Local Editor Nick Trougakos spurred health writer Jaclyn Cosgrove to create a multimedia project on health procedures for the Sunday editions. 
          Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news, said the project also has revenue potential.
          “About 80 percent of the 'What's It Like?' features have been sold to a presenting sponsor, making in a double win for our group, “ she said. “It provides unique and useful content in a new way while monetizing the effort based on the topics chosen by the reporter. None of the ‘What's It Like?’ stories have been requested by a potential sponsor. They have been written, produced and scheduled before being pitched to sponsors.”
          Judges thought that the innovation is one that many newspapers and media would want to duplicate in their communities.
          “We often wonder about medical procedures, and here's a newspaper willing to give us a multimedia inside look at them,” said one judge about the project that can be found at “Great work!”
           Finalists for the quarterly awards were The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch's interactive Construction Zone Map; The (Hanover, Pa.) Evening Sun's Battle of Gettysburg 140 Characters at a Time; and the Utica, N.Y., Observer-Dispatch's Who We Are series.
           APME is now seeking entries for its next quarterly honors that will be awarded early next year. You can submit your news organization's idea or innovation at It takes only a few minutes to enter, and your submission will automatically be considered for the next “Great Ideas Book.” 
The “Innovation of the Quarter” and “Great Idea of the Quarter” are a project of the APME Awards Committee. Joe Hight, director of information and development for The Oklahoman/, and David Arkin, vice president of content & audience for GateHouse Media Inc., are co-chairs of the committee. Committee members are George Rodrigue, managing editor, The Dallas Morning News; Linda Negro, grassroots editor, Evansville Courier & Press/; Meg Downey, managing editor, The Tennessean; and Laura Kessel, managing editor, The Willoughby, Ohio News-Herald. Rodrigue, Negro, Downey and Kessel served as judges for the quarterly awards.

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