News Media Alliance Announces Winners of 2021 John P. Murray Award for Excellence in Audience Development

Press release | News Media Alliance

The News Media Alliance named The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead (North Dakota) (small category), Detroit Free Press (medium category), Honolulu Star-Advertiser (medium category) and Newsday (Long Island, New York) (large category ) as recipients of the 2021 John P. Murray Award for Excellence in Audience Development.

A selection committee comprised of an Alliance staff member and the American Press Institute (API) selected the four winners (with a tie in the middle category) for their exceptional innovation and sophistication in understanding content strategy as part of audience development. Their effective use of multiple platforms and formats to share content; developing thoughtful and responsive content and programs to help readers navigate important issues (e.g. COVID-19 vaccines, local crime, etc.); live broadcast of sporting and virtual events; and leveraging social media, video and newsletter products to introduce their brands to new audiences has resulted in measurable positive impacts on audience growth, subscription and advertiser revenue, and print subscriptions and digital.

All four news publishers successfully applied one or more of the seven “Table stakes” modern news publishing capabilities, which have been developed under the Knight Lenfest Local News Transformation program.

Alliance President and CEO David Chavern said, “We continue to be amazed at the innovation and creativity our members have demonstrated year after year in their submissions for this award. While we still received many impressive nominations this year, these four news outlets have shown amazing results in terms of growing viewership and revenue for their digital products and services that exemplify what is possible when news outlets listen. readers and what they need, and meet them where they are. I know John Murray would have been really excited and proud to see the hard work of news editors paying off in the form of a new and engaged audience.

Michael Bolden, Executive Director and CEO of API, said, “The four John P. Murray Award winners have demonstrated successful applications of transformational thinking that news organizations must apply in the digital age to better serve. their communities. Winners can build on their success, while their work offers useful case studies for other publishers to follow in their own markets. Putting such peer-to-peer learning into practice is one of the most powerful tools we have in journalism to help move the industry forward.

This is the third year of the John P. Murray Award for Excellence in Audience Development, which was established in memory of former Vice President of Audience Development John Murray, who worked for the organization for more than 20 years before passing away in 2018. Murray was known in the news industry for helping Alliance member news publishers improve audience development and engagement, and for inviting members to share best practices.

In response to his nomination as the recipient of the 2021 John P. Murray Award:

  • Stephanie Schroeder, Director of Client Services and Marketing at Forum Communications, said, “The Forum is more than honored to be chosen as one of the recipients of this prestigious award. We believe that our audience is our most valuable asset, so we are proud to be recognized for our efforts to better serve them. Our work is not yet done – and it probably never will be – but it is work that we feel privileged to do.
  • Brian Manzullo, social, research and audience editor at the Detroit Free Press, said, “On behalf of the Detroit Free Press, it is an absolute honor to receive this award from the News Media Alliance in memory of John Murray. This is a testament to the efforts made by our entire newsroom to not only engage our audience, but to engage them throughout the newsgathering process in order to strengthen our journalism and have a meaningful impact in our communities. Thank you very much to the News Media Alliance for recognizing our work, and especially thank you to our readers who push us to serve them better.
  • Dennis Francis, President and Publisher of Oahu Publications, Inc., said, “Innovative audience development allows Honolulu Star-Advertiser to focus on its core mission of providing the community with local news, sports , commentary and entertainment while stimulating public discussion of critical issues affecting the lives of our readers and the communities they serve across the state.
  • Debby Krenek, Editor of Newsday, said, “We couldn’t be prouder of what the team has achieved for our organization with Newsday LIVE events. We are extremely honored to have their work recognized by our peers at the News Media Alliance. Melissa Carfero, Head of Event Strategy and Development at Newsday, added, “It is a tremendous honor to receive this award and to be recognized by the News Media Alliance, particularly for excellence in developing the audience. The success that Newsday LIVE has enjoyed year after year is no doubt attributed to the expertise, determination and unwavering commitment our team shares to make each event more successful than the last.

The four recipients will receive a prize to display in their property; a check for $1,000 to be donated to enhance their audience development and engagement efforts; and will be invited to showcase their successes at an upcoming Alliance member best practices webinar. The Alliance will also add this year’s recipients to a plaque that will be displayed at its headquarters.

For more information on the John P. Murray Award for Excellence in Audience Development, click here.