BQE Media - Queens Ledger Brooklyn Star Group Embracing Technology in the New Media World
by waltersanchez
 Editor's Corner
Jun 23, 2010 | 7587 views | 0 0 comments | 73 73 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

2D Barcodes, News Text Alert Systems, Mobile Web Sites, Short Text Platforms, Social Networking Sports Sites, Digital Editions a TV Show and More

There has never been a more important time to be a journalist and a news organization than now. The upheaval in our newsroom is exciting because new digital technology has added a new dimension to our reporting structure at the Queens Ledger / Brooklyn Star Weekly Newspaper Group.

In this time of reinvention, great ideas get noticed more quickly and news reporters are even more accountable to readers and followers than ever before. Adding mobile and google reach makes our stories and ads go to a larger audience than ever before. We have been recognized by the New York Press Association for our efforts and we are moving forward faster than ever before.

Our mission has not changed: To tell stories which uncover new information in the communities we have served for more than 137 years. We want our readers to know more about our community every week and we will continue to elicit proactive response by giving the who, what, when. where. why and so-what.

We have revamped the websites of all 8 of our weekly community newspapers. We continue to focus on user generated content added to our expert news and local sports service online. We highlight local blogs on our sites, we have our own blog section where anyone can start and maintain a blog. We have a user generated event calendar, offier free classified ads, a community marketplace with more than 35,000 local businesses listed and we now have a proactive twitter feed into our site. Check it out at www.queensledger.com or use the name of any of our newspapers followed by a dot com. Oh, and by the way, we were honored by the New York Press Association (the weekly newswpaper industry) as having the "Highest Income Producting Web Site in the State of New York" in both 2008 AND 2009."

The power of our brand continues to grow as we are the first in using new media technologies to enhance our reach. BQEMedia is not just a chain of newspapers anymore - we are a growing news organization which uses new technology to grow a reader and follower base. Our corporate culture encourages open discussion - not just one way communication. We see a bright future for journalism because young writers, bloggers and editors are embracing this profession like never before. Advertisers see community news organizations, like ours, as a better way to get their message across because we are targeted, innovative and willing to work across multiple marketing platforms for them.

New features at our news organization:

Our 'mobile community news alert service' uses a new technology which we are the first to use locally. Just text "Foresthills" to our short text # 21-321. You are automatically put on our Forest Hills News Alert System. When something important happens in Forest Hills you are the first to know. We text out event notices, breaking news reports and even links to feature stories and video we now produce to tell a story. We have the service for Maspeth, Glendale and Queensbiz. Look for news services for your neighborhood coming soon. They will be announced in our newspapers as we start to furnish them. In Brooklyn you can text 'Brooklyn' ro 21-321 for alerts about Brooklyn. Our advertisers are using this technology to promote their businesses as well. Beach Bum Tanning Salons, a chain of salons in Queens uses our mobile technology and short text platform to communicate with their clients and offer them coupons. Text the word tanning to our # 21-321 and sign up for their own text alert service through us. They now reach their customers by texting them when they want to offer special coupons and deals.

Our 8 Mobile web sites allow readers to follow us while on the run. Mobile users are growing ... and now more than 30% of mobile device users who have internet on the device are using it as their prefered method of using the internet. That means that our mobile web ads, landing pages, coupons and short text plans are just what the doctor ordered. We know all the other newspapers and news organizations will be there, we just wanted to do it first - and we are ... doing it first. If you go the m.queensledger.com on your mobile device you will see what a real mobile news site looks like. It's easy to read and you never have to zoom in and move the page around when viewing our stories. We believe that our community news alert system will bring thousands of people to our mobile sites every day as it grows.

Our 'BQE QR 2D code system' is a new feature which we are the first to use locally as well. These codes are very popular in Asia and we are bringing it to Queens and Brooklyn real fast. You will see a square box within stories, ads and sidebars in the paper and in our quarterly It's Queens Magazine. WIth a camera-equiped phone and access to the internet you take a picture of the bar code and your phone automatically goes to a mobile url. Some of the uses for this include coupons, additional items for the news story and even video as well as more enhanced photos relating to the story. We lead you to web sites and newsletter signup sites for our advertisers. It brings users to a new dimension and helps readers of our newspapers and magazine better understand what's going on. It's new and it enhances our reader experience. If you are not mobile you ought to be. It adds incredible flavor to your life.

Our Brooklyn & Queens Community Sports Network has recently been launched by BQEMedia. It is a social networking site which allows dozens of local sports leagues to promote themselves in our newspapers and online. www.BQESports is an incredible site which uses a business model that allows these sports leagues to share in revenue from the site. Users can put their personal profile online, post league schedules, game results and boast about their sports successes on the site. And the news runs in our newspapers as well. We are helping leagues get exposure and we are giving advertisers more targeted opportunities in marketing.

We are now co-hosts of the long running QPTV Show "Independence." The show is shot live at Time Warner / QPTV studios in Flushing as a call-in show on the 3rd Tuesday of each month from 8PM till 9PM. It is shown on tape every Friday night and Tuesday afternoon. It is on channel 34 on Time Worner cable networks. Arby's and Hooters are our food sponsors and we have had lively guest on every show, which make the show fun and interactive. We typically chat about current news and have three or four guests: a civic leader with an issue, a health care specialist, an interesting Queens business and even a few 'campy' moments which are sure to make viewers laugh. We typically have a musical guest band and dive into some political talk as well. Check it out. You can call in too.

It's Queens The Magazine is in its third year. This quarterly glossy has had cover stories on David Wright, Lucy Liu, Mary Murphy and now Miss USA for Summer issue of 2010. 15,000 are mailed and distributed on more than 600 newstands throughout New York. To us, a real magazine is a paid product, not some random, free piece that you can pick up in a supermarket. We have embraced the technology of Digital Editions by putting the entire magazine on a digital edition which comes alive. Sure, you may have seen some other magazines and papers on some lame digital platform - but ours is on the ZMags platform, which allows us to add video, flash, links and even email acquisition profiles to the edition. Go to www.itsqueens.com and hit the 'digital editions' button. Watch the pages jump off the screen. Advertisers love it and we email 30,000 copies to selected individual subscribers and movers & shakers.

Who says the internet is hurting newspapers? It's adding a new dimension to our company as we continue to embrace new technology.

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