Thursday, October 11, 2007

2007 Conference Features Convergence the Gannett Way

COLUMBIA, SC-- It’s all about the consumer—that’s the word from the top man at the Gannett Co, who was the keynote speaker at tonight's dinner for the 2007 Convergence Conference.

My former boss, Craig Dubow, shared the company’s strategic plan which has as its centerpiece a makeover of all of its television station and newspaper newsrooms into information centers.

“Our world is truly platform agnostic at this point,” Dubow said. “This industry has really shifted.”

A former head of Gannett broadcasting and general manager at Atlanta’s WXIA-TV (where I worked more than seven years ago), Dubow took over as chairman of the nation’s largest chain of newspapers and more than 20 television stations and dozens of Websites within the last two years.

“What the information center concept is all about is hyper-local,” Dubow explained.

As Dubow explained, the four components of the plan are digital delivery, innovation, the information center and leadership and diversity.

Along with Dubow, several top managers from his company including the general manager of the Gannett-owned CBS affiliate here in Columbia, WLTX.

Earlier this afternoon, Dubow’s person person on new media, Jennifer Carroll, gave conference attendees a tour of the many local microsites that have launched in markets such as Cincinnati and Indianapolis that augment and facilitate community conversations.

Carroll shared concepts such as “crowdsourcing” and Web sites built around databases that expand the online user’s experience beyond reading news.

Gannett's News-Press in Fort Myers has won an award for its crowdsourcing concept from the CinciNavigator and has drawn unprecedented Web traffic.

“Let’s keep it about the journalism, but let’s do it with an engaged audience, more clarity and more immediacy than ever before,”Carroll said .

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