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  • First in Print: With First in Print launched, find best practices here

  • The deadline for First in Print was the end of June, and we've seen some great examples of GateHouse's content differentiation strategy put into practice. Find lots of examples and takeaways here.

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  • Check out Jean Hodges' blog post about First in Print best practices from GateHouse papers who are implementing the content differentiation strategy. There are lots of examples and takeaways below.
    Read other blog posts by Jean here.
    The deadline for First in Print was the end of June, and we've seen some great examples of GateHouse's content differentiation strategy put into practice.
    If you haven't yet launched or if you're just interested in how some of our papers are approaching First in Print, both online and in print, read on.
    A bit of background
    (Skip this part if you've already memorized it)
    GateHouse has had a content differentiation strategy in place for over a year. First in Print simply lets our readers know what's going on. We think print and online audiences want different products, so instead of dumping everything from your paper onto your website (or ignoring the Web altogether), GateHouse has developed a philosophy about Web and print. Print (and not Web) is where we run longer features, non-controversial opinion pieces and lists of public records, among other things. The Web is perfect for breaking news, multimedia (think photo galleries) and blogs.
    For a complete list of what goes where, check out the Newsroom Handbook.
    What our papers are doing
    Here's a look at First in Print implementation in our newspapers and online.
    1. Before launch, many of our papers explained to readers in editorials, columns and blogs what First in Print would mean to them. That's a great idea. The Peoria Journal Star launched First in Print right on deadline, and you can read John Plevka's account in a GHnewsroom Q&A.
    TAKEAWAY: Explain to your readers what you're doing, whether it's First in Print or any other initiative. Even if you just run a short explainer, you've given them something valuable that we sometimes take for granted: an inside look at what you're providing for them.
    2. Also before launch, many papers educated their employees about First in Print. That makes a lot of sense. The implementation of this strategy requires a logistical knowledge of it (where do the print ads run, where is the online promo), but more importantly, it requires an understanding of the types of stories to choose. Find out more about The Repository in Canton, Ohio, launch. The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Ill., also produced a guide for its employees.
    Page 2 of 3 - TAKEAWAY: Offer your employees guidance about First in Print. You might print out the content differentiation list (check out the link above) or customize that list for specific story types or standing content in your paper. Make sure the people who are executing the strategy have something handy to refer to as they get used to making choices about what works for First in Print. Also, take time to flag First in Print stories early in the process.
    What it looks like
    Utica Observer -Dispatch in print
    TAKEAWAY: Utica runs its First in Print logo on each story to let readers know exactly what's running first in print. They've designed the logo with a short explainer built in that reads: "Not available this morning online." As for content, the newspaper chose a feature no one else had.
    Utica online
    TAKEAWAY: Utica runs its First in Print in the carousel and takes a little time to explain the concept to online readers. The carousel item also gives enough detail about each item that online viewers can get a taste of what the stories are about.
    The Independent, Massillon, Ohio
    TAKEAWAY: Massillon explains First in Print in an anchored A1 element and identifies each story that is First in Print. The anchored element reads: "When it accompanies a story or column, the picture of a rolled up newspaper means we have published it first in your daily newspaper. We'll publish this content a day later at IndeOnline.com. IndeOline.com is still first for breaking news." On the story, the copy reads: "Published first in your daily newspaper. To appear later at IndeOnline.com." This follows the format of other GateHouse newspapers in Ohio. If you go with a First in Print logo on stories, make sure you explain somewhere in the paper what it means.
    Hannibal Courier-Post
    TAKEAWAY: In this instance, Hannibal ran First in Print at the top of an A1 rail, which is another way to let readers know what's in the paper. What's great about this is that it's visible on the newstand as a reminder to people buying the paper that there's content here that you won't find online today.
    Page 3 of 3 - Norwich Bulletin online
    TAKEAWAY: As for content, Norwich features a style column, an outdoors column and the Camp Stories summer series. Plus, there's a clear plug for the E-Edition. Make sure you include that in your online promo.
    Patriot Ledger online
    TAKEAWAY: In addition to your carousel promo, you can also remind readers within online stories of your First in Print content. At the end of the online graduation content last month, the Ledger told readers what was in print -- coverage of all local graduations, including the names of all local grads (perfect for print because it's that keep content for readers) -- and how to find the E-Paper, how to sign up online for home delivery and how to find the Ledger on the newstand.
    The Repository, Canton, Ohio
    TAKEAWAY: Format is the same as Massillon, Ohio, but what is interesting here is the newsiness of the choice. It's the top A1 story, and it's about a runaway girl's parents who are under scrutiny. As long as your story is an exclusive, you can include newsier items among your First in Print selections.
    Peoria Journal Star
    TAKEAWAY: Peoria runs an explainer in the A1 rail and identifies strong local stories as First in Print. In fact, two-thirds of the front page is First in Print, showing readers the value of their daily newspaper. Editor John Plevka talked in the Q&A mentioned above about readers wanting newsy selections among those that the paper was picking for First in Print, and Peoria definitely delivers.
    These are just a smattering of examples of ways you can use First in Print. If you have questions about the strategy or if you have an interesting take on First in Print, please comment here or shoot me an email at jhodges@gatehousemedia.com.

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