Newspaper of the Year: Division C
Marshfield (Mass.) Mariner
Read some of Marshfield Mariner’s projects online: Bullying, Day Care Dilemma: Parents facing tough choices, A grand solution, Extended school day programs offer safety, structure, Regional service offers four day care programs, Day care one more barrier to living comfortably on Cape Cod, Types of daycare on Cape Cod, Cape Codders deal with rising costs of daycare
Publisher: Mark Olivieri
Editor: Kristi Funderburk
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With strong, newsy front pages and an inviting, community-focused Page 2, this is a good-looking newspaper that keeps its readers informed about both community issues and their neighbors.
Did your newspaper roll out any new products or pages in 2014?
Some of the highlights of new features in 2014 included Dishing It Out – a multimedia feature that put a spotlight on a local restaurant and included photos, a Q&A, and a video; 5 Things To Do This Week – a print and online list giving our readers insight to local events; and the Real Estate Home of the Week – an online feature that gives our readers a look inside one of the featured homes in our classified section.
How did you involve readers in your newspaper in 2014?
Meet The Mariner was an opportunity for our readers to meet our staff in an informal setting to discuss what they like or dislike about our paper as well as stories they would like to see. It was also a friendly way to introduce ourselves to the community as I was new in April and my reporter was fairly new, staring in December 2013.
Petsonality allows us to feature reader-submitted pet photos and Q&As.
The Reader’s Choice awards asks our readers to weigh in on the best businesses in town, from best salon to top pizza shop. We accept submissions over several weeks and run a special section with all the winners.
Each week (sometimes more often), we do reader callouts in which we ask our readers to submit a photo related to a timely topic. For example, one of our most popular callouts was when we asked our readers to submit photos showing their Patriots Pride as New England Patriots headed to the Super Bowl. We got responses for weeks. We also did an online callout for photos during a bad blizzard Jan. 26-27 and got a lot of help covering the storm from places we couldn’t even access due to flooding and snow.
One of our most-anticipated events of the year is the Citizen of the Year banquet and it starts with our readers. We run a nomination form online and in print for several weeks asking readers to give us a person and a reason why that person should be our Citizen of the Year. We look for people who are active in the community in which they live, whether through volunteer work, holding an office, or both. Then we have a committee of community members and past Citizens pour over the nominations and select the ideal candidate based on their work, not how many votes we may receive. The winner gets a profile and editorial in our paper, and a banquet dinner.
What did you do to engage audience with social media work?
We use Facebook and Twitter to keep our readers informed about community events and news. Often we post links to make people aware of a story and encourage them to click and read it, but we also engage them by asking them to weigh in on an aspect of the story.
For example, we recently had a story about roof collapses that were happening because of the snow. One collapse happened at an abandoned tire shop on the main drag in town. When we posted the link on Facebook, we told our readers to check out the story about collapses and how to avoid them, and later engaged them by challenging them to come up with ideas for what they hope to see at the property once it’s cleaned up. We used Twitter to refer people to the story and the Facebook post, and ended up writing an editorial about all the ideas readers gave.
We also use social media to start conversations that can sometimes lead to stories instead of just link stories we already did.
Over 2014, our Facebook Likes increased by 685 to 2,935. We now have 2,487 followers on Twitter (@marshfieldpaper), up from 1,521 in January 2014.
Honorable Mention: Wareham Courier
Publisher: Mark Olivieri
Editor: Gregory Mathis
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A newsy, easy-to-read newspaper with an attractive Page 1 and a reader-friendly Page 2. Good arts and sports coverage, a strong editorial page and inviting headlines make for a good package.
Honorable Mention: Havelock News
Publisher: Mike Distelhorst
Editor: Ken Buday
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An abundance of community news, diversity in coverage and a features page strong in both content and design are highlights of this newspaper.