Steve Alessi, Vice President of Digital Sales at the Philadelphia Media Network, shared some of the innovative steps his company has taken in its Project Liberty venture. Among other things, Project Liberty included a new print product titled “Sports Week,” a hyper-local initiative called “Neighbors,” and a new health website. The company also developed and sold the first ever pre-loaded tablet for digital and newspaper integration and provided newsroom staff with new technology. Project Liberty reflects a paradigm shift from a printed newspaper to a media organization that gathers and distributes news in many ways.
“Sports Week” is a weekly publication that launched in Oct. 2011. It is published both electronically and as a printed publications, with the top stories and exclusive content available to digital customers. “Neighbors” emphasizes hyper-local content and is dedicated to focusing on comprehensive coverage for an individual town or community from a trusted source. It allows citizens in the community to participate in discussions and to submit their own announcements, photos and reviews. The Monday Health and Science section is an up-to-date healthcare section focused on wellness. When creating this section, Philadelphia Media Network worked with a large number of health clients to ensure added value to readers and advertisers.
The news group was also the first to launch a pre-loaded tablet loaded with the organization’s content, effectively selling technology and news content as a bundled buy. The company also hired new executive producers who are responsible for producing high quality content across all of the platforms and facilitating integration of print and digital in the content sections of Business, Health, Entertainment and Sports.
Recognizing that not all ideas come from inside, Philadelphia Media Network has partnered with a number of outside participants to develop the Project Liberty Incubator, a small business incubator that supports companies excelling in e-commerce, mobile and apps. In addition, they have created a small business portal that includes online information and resources for small business owners and their employees. Tied to the portal is Small Business Events, an ongoing monthly two hour event that includes networking and panel discussions with moderators and speakers. Through these initiatives and more, the Philadelphia Media Network is committed to investing time and resources in creating a profitable, sustainable, forward-thinking news organization.