Honoring innovation!

Finalists announced for 2023
Mega-Innovation Award

Honors to be presented at the Mega-Conference

Two finalists for this year's Mega-Innovation Award have been announced.  In alphabetical order, the finalists are:

  • Oahu Publications, Inc. / Honolulu Star-Advertiser
  • Richner Communications

Their stories will be told Tuesday, April 4, on the Mega-Conference stage ... and the winner announced. The GRAND PRIZE winner will receive a beautiful engraved award, a cash prize of $500 and recognition for the great work that the company is doing!

Here's a preview of what our finalists will be presenting:

  • Oahu Publications, Inc. / Honolulu Star-Advertiser —Oahu Publication's introduction of an innovative credit card interchange fee elimination program delivered $1.3 million in annualized recurring savings to the bottom-line last year and enabled the franchise to continue its mission of diversification, transformation and financial growth.  Hear how this program also assisted local SMBs and generated  incremental advertising spend — thereby elevating this program into a diversified revenue center. The entry will be presented by Aaron J. Kotarek, senior vice president, audience and operations, Honolulu Star-Advertiser / Oahu Publications, Inc.
  • Richner Communications — With many of its advertising and commercial printing customers strugging during the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, Richner Communications sought to advise them on federal programs available to SMBs.  While many were taking advantage of the Payroll Protection Program, almost none were utilizing the Employee Retention Tax Credit program.  Richner Communications knew there was a tremendous opportunity to help bring this ERTC service to more SMBs ... and Easy Tax Credits was born.  Hear how this program was launched for local media partners this past October, including commissions that media partners can earn on referrals. This entry will be presented by Zachary Richner, director, Richner Communications, and Stuart Richner, CEO, Richner Communications.

Previous Innovation Award Recipients
2022 Recipient

Vince Johnson (center), group publisher of The Sumter Item and Gulf Coast Media and one of the judges for the Mega-Innovation Award, presents the 2022 award to (l-r) Kevin Hall, chief revenue officer; Judi Terzotis, president and publisher; Alisha Owens, vice president, sales; and Robert Young, vice president, digital solutions. (Photo by Phelan M. Ebenhack / PME Photography, Inc.)
BET.NOLA.com is the media initiative that captured the 2022 Mega-Innovation Award
Award recipients are NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune, The Advocate and The Acadiana Advocate
Cindy Durham | America's Newspapers

NOLA.com, The Times-Picayune, The Advocate and The Acadiana Advocate were honored with the 2022 Mega-Innovation Award at the Mega-Conference for their sports betting vertical: BET.NOLA.com.

2020 Recipient

The winner of the 2020 Mega-Innovation Award was the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for its iPad strategy. Pictured with the award is Eliza Gaines, VP of audience development at WEHCO Media Inc. (left), and publisher Walter E. Hussman Jr. (Photo by Nu Yang/Editor & Publisher magazine)
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is awarded the Mega-Innovation Award
Cindy Durham | America's Newspapers

"When people comment on how innovative our digital replica iPad program is, I think about the tale my father once told me about the rabbit who climbed the tree," said Walter E. Hussman Jr., publisher. "When someone said rabbits don’t climb trees, the response was: this one had to do it to survive.”

2019 Recipient

Pictured left to right: John Temple (one of the Mega-Innovation Award judges), and Jason Taylor, Rebecca Capparelli and Lyndsi Lane of GateHouse Live.
GateHouse Live puts on the show
Jane Nicholes | SNPA Correspondent

Putting on events has much in common with publishing, according to Jason Taylor, president of GateHouse Live and New Media Group Ventures. Publishers, he said, create content that attracts an audience, and they try to monetize that audience. "An event does the exact same thing."

2018 Recipient

Broadcasting from a newspaper rack
Jane Nicholes | SNPA Correspondent

By putting a computer screen on top of a newspaper rack, Oahu Publications opened up a new profit center. Called the Digital Billboard Network, the screen runs a seven-minute loop of news and advertising in high-traffic areas where people are likely to pass by or stand in line.

2017 Recipient

Local newspaper also provides local TV
Jane Nicholes | SNPA Correspondent

When Calkins Media was named a finalist for the 2016 Mega-Innovation award, its video stream produced by the Bucks County Courier Times was a repeating four-hour content block. Now, it is essentially a local TV station.

2016 Recipient
Innovation for all sizes
Jane Nicholes | SNPA Correspondent

When Vince Johnson was first named publisher of the Forsyth County News, the paper had a rule about social media. Only one article was posted to Facebook each day, at 6 a.m. In his entry form for the Mega-Innovation competition, Johnson noted that rule officially died on Jan. 20, 2014. Since then, the paper has increased its social media following by more than 1,000 percent. That's just one example of how the Forsyth County News, described by Johnson as "wildly traditional" not so long ago, has changed.