Three of four Mega-Innovation finalists are Inlanders

All but one of finalists announced for the Mega-Innovation Award have newspapers that are Inland members.


Here are the finalists in alphabetical order with the judges’ descriptions of the work that got them to the finals:

Block Communications—including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio—launched NewsSlide in October. NewsSlide is an app for phones and tablets, but it is more than an app; it’s a powerful new way to experience the news. With stunning visuals, photo galleries and videos, NewsSlide delivers an immersive, dynamic and intuitive experience.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser has been able to further diversity and grow as a result of an innovative out-of-home digital broadcast solution named The Digital Billboard Network. Content consists of continuous seven-minute “loops” of daily news briefs, point-of-sale messaging from the screen location’s host and third-party advertising, usually in the form of 15-second commercials.

Shaw Media redesigned its newspaper websites with the mobile user in mind, rather than the desktop user. The company stripped away auto-play ads, audience surveys and other advertising features that the audience found annoying. To make up for revenue lost, the company asked its audience—including print subscribers—to support local journalism by paying for access to the website. The number of free articles on the metered paywall also was reduced.

WEHCO Media has been aggressively growing its digital marketing division, Flypaper, over the last five years. What makes Flypaper unique in the newspaper industry is its recent expansion. In a bold move backed by a refined business model and profit from its established agencies, WEHCO is now operating in additional locations outside of its newspaper footprint. Its first remote location opened in Nashville, Tenn., in January 2017. A second location will be opening in Charlotte, N.C., in 2018.

The work of these four finalists will be showcased and the winner will be announced on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at the Mega-Conference.