Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Innovation, Dot by Dot by Dot

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Innovation, Dot by Dot by Dot

Article excerpt

The Associated Press Media Editors, a national association of media leaders, has named the Herald-Tribune an Innovator of the Year finalist. The annual journalism award recognizes bold, creative efforts to improve products/services and grow audience.

The Wall Street Journal and The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch also have been named finalists, so it's understandable why we're proud that the Herald-Tribune is in the mix.

(A quick pause for disclosure. I'm on the APME national board and have been conference co-chairman for two years. Despite all of the above, I have no influence on the results.)

We're busily putting together our five-minute video, which will be presented during a national conference in Chicago on Sept. 16.

News executives from across the country will see each presentation, then vote for the winner. It's much like the Major League Baseball All-Star ballot, except on-field performance matters.

We were nominated for "The Stolen Ones" and how that project has changed the Herald-Tribune. The project, reported by J. David McSwane and photographed by Dan Wagner, spotlighted how children have been trafficked for sex in communities like Sarasota.

David's narrative -- published in a 44-page, magazine-style section on Oct. 13, and a special digital projects site at -- has received numerous national honors and spurred statewide changes.

"The Stolen Ones," though, went beyond turning great journalism into awareness and action. It also changed the way we think, act and engage in the Herald-Tribune newsroom and with the community.

The Herald-Tribune's nomination letter focused on the project's impact in:

Changing how newsroom projects are managed and marketed.

Creating unique readership experiences in print and digital.

Building layered relationships with nontraditional media partners (particularly the Community Foundation of Sarasota County).

Turning watchdog journalism into partnered learning opportunities (such as a Poynter Institute training session and a University of Florida journalism forum).

Since "Breaking the Banks" and "The Stolen Ones" grabbed your attention, we've tackled projects on the end of life, the fertility industry, Sarasota's Cuban ballet connection and medical marijuana that have generated national (and international) interest. …

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