Journal Register CEO aims to remake company from 'collection of newspapers into a true multiplatform news and information media company,' considers name change
April 9, 2010
(Editor & Publisher)
– CEO John Paton, who is 60 days into a very public campaign to remake the Journal Register Co. "from a collection of newspapers into a true multi-platform news and information media company," is floating the idea of changing its name, too.
While some of our newspapers have been around since before the American Revolution, the Journal Register Company name is only about 20 years old or so,” Paton wrote in his latest blog posting to employees. “That name has certain connotations both pro and con.
I am wondering if the name now needs to be changed to reflect our new focus on multiple media platforms and hyperlocal journalism. What do you think?”
Under two previous owners, Journal Register, whose 22 dailies include the New Haven (Conn.) Register and Trentonian in New Jersey, acquired a reputation as a chain of relentless cost-cutting and unambitious journalism.
Paton, who was appointed CEO by the lenders who acquired Journal Register in bankruptcy, often refers to the legacy of those days in communications with employees, and did that again in this weekend’s posting.
“Working with crappy equipment; outdated computers; challenged I.T. -- and in some cases lousy pay -- it is your dedication, ingenuity and enthusiasm that has created those successes,” Paton wrote.
Among those successes, he said, was the decision to equip reporters with video cameras. Journal Register sites streamed more than 600,000 videos in March and expect to end this month with more than 2 million video streams.
“All of these efforts have helped drive our online unique visitor traffic by more than 58% in the last month,” he said. “Even better, video advertising, nearly non-existent 60 days ago, will by the end of next week have paid for all of the Flip cameras we bought.”
Paton said ad sales for March were up from year-ago month, and that four of its five newspaper clusters will show an increase in ad sales for the quarter compared to a year ago.