Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Thinking outside the Box: The Arizona Daily Star Finds Creative Ways to Retool Newspaper Vending Boxes

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Thinking outside the Box: The Arizona Daily Star Finds Creative Ways to Retool Newspaper Vending Boxes

Article excerpt

With fewer people using newspaper vending boxes, the staff at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson found themselves answering an important question: How could they bring these boxes back to life?

While the days of carrying spare quarters in your pocket may be long gone, the paper realized there were a number of ways to revive the steel machines.

In addition to partnering with the city of Tucson to retool old boxes as free minilibraries, the Star also began to utilize existing vending machines as "brand communication vehicles," said Mark Lolwing, director of circulation and consumer innovation.

"We're focusing on viewing them as messaging vehicles as opposed to revenue drivers," he said. "I thought we needed to shift our paradigm a bit and realize that we've got these great communication opportunities all over the city so why not use them?"

Messages such as "Quality journalism never goes out of style" and "Stay smart. Get real news. Get the paper." have appeared on more than 200 newspapers boxes in and around Tucson in the standard lower rack card positions. By the end of May, about 20 boxes had also been equipped with top rack attachments as well.

"We're trying to change the conversation in the community and make these boxes more visible," Lolwing said. "I always say newspapers are great at telling everyone else's story but we've never been good at telling our own."

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So far, the positive feedback from local residents indicates the Star is on the right track. …

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