WaPo Launches Project Signal (News & Tech)

November 10, 2020

Article by: News & Tech

WaPo Launches Project Signal

 Washington Post has launched Project Signal, “a next-generation advertising product that brings the combination of advertiser and reader needs to the forefront,” wrote Jarrod Dicker, vice president of innovation and commercial strategy, in a blog post on the product. https://www.washingtonpost.com/pr/2020/11/03/jarrod-dicker-brand-publisher-relationship-is-not-just-about-context-its-also-about-consumption/.

Project Signal is meant to be a solution for the post-cookie era, the blog post indicated. “The Post is well positioned to help brands prepare for this industry shift by providing a view of the content their audiences read, the topics that drive interaction and preferred forms of media consumption. This deeper understanding gives advertisers the ability to know the types of content likely to lead to more engagement and conversion with their brands,” says the blog post. Advertisers will be able to invest and learn from insights on The Post and scale those learnings across the Post’s Zeus Prime network of publishers.

Newspaper Companies Release Earnings Reports

Major media and newspaper companies have released earnings reports for the last quarter. Reports are online from Gannett, New York Times, Tribune Publishing, and Meredith.

The New York Times report says that for the first time, total digital-only subscription revenue exceeded print subscription revenue, “making digital-only subscriptions not just the central engine of the company’s growth, but on its way to being our largest revenue stream.” For its part Gannett surpassed 1 million paid digital-only subscribers. “Our third quarter results showed a significant and rapid rebound from the second quarter impact of the COVID pandemic and economic shut down,” said Michael Reed, Gannett chairman and CEO in the report.

Quad/Graphics Closed 4 Plants, Cut 1,100 Jobs

Wisconsin-based Quad/Graphics has closed four plants and cut 1,100 jobs, the Milwaukee Business Journal reports. Printing company Quad shuttered plants in Taunton, Massachusetts (in May); and in Charlotte, North Carolina; Portland, Oregon; and Riverside, California (all in February). The drop in employee numbers took place since the start of the year, said the business journal.

The closings were mentioned in Quad’s earnings call on Nov. 4, with the closures helping the company “rightsize our costs to match volumes,” according to Executive Vice President and CFO Dave Honan.“Net sales were $679 million in the third quarter, down 28% from 2019. And on a year-to-date basis, net sales were $2.1 billion, down 27%,” Honan said. “Both the quarter and year-to-date variances are primarily due to the economic impact from the pandemic, ongoing print industry volume and pricing pressures, and a 2% impact related to the divestiture of our Omaha packaging facility in January of 2020,” he said in the call, according to a Motley Fool transcript. Since the pandemic began, Quad saw the largest decline in net sales during the second quarter, as net sales decreased 38%, Honan said.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Agrees to Recognize Union

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has agreed to voluntarily recognize a union for newsroom staff, the paper reported Nov. 2. Management’s agreeing to recognize the unionizing effort means there is no need for a vote on the issue. More than 80% of non-management staff signed union authorization cards, the organizing committee said.

The Fort Worth NewsGuild will be part of The NewsGuild-Communications Workers of America. McClatchy owns the paper. It’s the second major paper in Texas to go for a union in recent weeks. Newsroom staff at The Dallas Morning News opted in October to unionize.

Gannett Sells BridgeTower Media to Transom Capital

Gannett has sold BridgeTower Media to private equity firm Transom Capital Group. BridgeTower is a provider of B2B information, research, events and marketing solutions in more than 25 U.S. markets and industries.

BridgeTower Media is a business media and marketing platform providing content within the legal, business, construction, legislative, pet retail and home furnishings sectors through more than 40 print and digital brands, says a news release on the buy. BridgeTower provides subscribers with content relevant to their daily professional activities and has a research unit focused on employee satisfaction, lead generation services and live events centered on awards and education. BridgeTower was previously a stand-alone, B2B information subsidiary of Gannett. Transom is headquartered in Los Angeles.

Walla Walla Paper Works with imPRESSions

The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin has chosen imPRESSions Worldwide for the relocation and installation of a three-tower pressline. The Union-Bulletin (owned by the Seattle Times Company) acquired the 13-unit press from Pendleton, Oregon, to be moved to its Walla Walla, Washington, facility. The press will replace an older Urbanite. The Yakima Herald (also owned by the Seattle Times Company) will support the project and run jobs for Walla Walla and Pendleton. Once the Pendleton press is removed, delivered and installed by imPRESSions, the Walla Walla plant will print more commercial work in addition to the Union-Bulletin. The project is underway now and the press is expected to be printing live jobs before Christmas.

RJI Fellowship Applications Due

The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute is now accepting 2021–22 RJI Fellowship applications from individuals or organizations with an innovative journalism project idea that could also benefit the industry. Applications are due Dec. 18.

Potential project ideas could include devising new strategies or models to solve a problem, building new tools, creating a prototype, or advancing a prototype so it’s ready to launch. RJI’s eight-month fellowship is a flexible program with three types of fellowship options — residential, nonresidential and institutional. The institute has a 50,000 square-foot facility on the University of Missouri campus in Columbia, Missouri.

Colorado Community Media Buys Colorado Papers

Jerry Healey announced Oct. 29 that he has closed a deal with Landmark Community Newspapers to buy all of their Colorado weekly papers and companion websites. Prior to the acquisition, Colorado Community Media already owned and operated 17 weekly and two monthly papers in the greater Denver area.

New Mexico-based media merger firm Dirks, Van Essen & April represented Landmark in the transaction. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.The papers acquired are the Brighton Standard Blade, Fort Lupton Press, Commercial City Sentinel Express, Metro Advertiser, Canyon Courier, Clear Creek Courant and 285 Hustler.

“It is with mixed feelings that we sold this group of newspapers which our company has owned for many years,” said Michael Abernathy, president of Landmark Community Newspapers. “In today’s challenging times, we came to the decision that the communities we serve and our employees in the Denver area would be better served being part of a larger Denver-based newspaper group.”

More news

  • ESPN has announced the layoffs of 300, network president Jimmy Pitaro said in a memo to staff, USA Today Sports reported. Also, 200 open jobs won’t be filled.
  • Newsday debuted a state-of-the-art television studio for its election coverage. Pat Dolan owns Melville, New York-based Newsday.


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