Calkins Media is awarded the Mega-Innovation Award



The news organization was recognized for the successful integration of video in its print and online news reporting and for the creation of a 24-hour streaming channel.

LEVITTOWN, PA. (March 2, 2017) Calkins Media was honored with the Mega-Innovation Award for the progressive video news strategy that led to creation of the Bucks County Courier Times' 24/7 video streaming channel.

The award was presented Feb. 24 at the Key Executives Mega-Conference in Orlando, Fla, hosted by the Inland Press Association, Local Media Association, and Southern Newspaper Publishers Association. It was attended by about 700 media executives from across the country.

This is the second year in a row that Calkins Media was a finalist for the award, both times for video streaming. In early 2016 the channel had a four-hour content block but today has a full 24-hour programming day - essentially Bucks County's own television station.

"We wanted to create a channel that the residents of Bucks County could turn to for news and information that matters to them," said Jake Volcsko, digital media and marketing director. "With the variety of shows, as well as the number of platforms where the channel is available, we feel like we've created a new way for Bucks County to gets its news."

The Mega-Innovation Award was created to identify and reward media companies that are successfully transitioning their businesses to leverage emerging trends in media and marketing against changes in the way news consumers engage with information.

Calkins Media was selected the winner among four finalists; the others were McClatchy, headquartered in Sacramento, Ca.; The Pilot, Southern Pines, NC; and the Albuquerque Journal, Albuquerque, NM.

Calkins Media's commitment to public service journalism on all platforms was noted by Mega-Innovation Award judges. The same watchdog and enterprise journalism that can be found in the company's newspapers and news websites is evident in its video offerings.

"We are fortunate to have a family of owners who are supportive of new and progressive thinking," said President and Publisher Mike Jameson. "We're also fortunate to have a team that's willing to be bold in both the pursuit of business growth and in pursuit of the truth and information. The result is strong, useful journalism for our community to access in multiple ways."

The video stream is available through apps for IOS and Android, OTT devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire and Apple TV, and at couriertimes.com

Calkins Media has been working since 2012 to create a successful video strategy for local news in its newsrooms. In 2013, Guy Tasaka, the company's vice-president and chief digital officer, launched the company's first OTT application on Roku.

"We saw that people were using Netflix, Hulu and other channels and cutting their cable service," said Tasaka. "We didn't anticipate it would happen as fast as it did. We knew that people would always need local news and information and as people gravitated toward these new platforms we wanted to be the new local television station."

Viewer numbers are impressive with users spending up to nine hours a week with the stream's programs, Volcsko said. Calkins Media is seeing a 10 to 15 percent growth week over week in the number of viewers of its channel.

The video stream includes news reports by Courier Times reporters and shows on such topics as high school sports, local restaurants, cooking and gardening. Third-party content producers are responsible for some shows. A 30-minute local newscast called Newsbreak runs five days a week.

The streaming channel is fast becoming a destination for local advertisers too, particularly with plans under way for the launching of video streams for Calkins Media's two other Philadelphia area newspapers - The Intelligencer in Doylestown, Pa. and the Burlington County Times in New Jersey.

"Our programming line-up mines deeply into the community," said Carol Davis, digital video publishing director. "The channel aims to be the connective tissue -bringing community members together by highlighting its people, places and things - always in video."

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About Calkins Media Incorporated

Calkins Media Incorporated has deep roots in community journalism which anchor the company's growth into a rapidly expanding, technologically advanced news organization of tomorrow. With a dedicated staff of award-winning journalists, we remain steadfast to the mission of watchdog journalism and connecting our communities. We are a recognized industry leader for innovation and for the diversity of information delivery platforms we use to connect to our audience.

In addition to our print division, our company includes divisions that work with area businesses to maximize their digital footprint (Calkins Digital Solutions), that work with other media companies to establish video and digital distributions strategies (Calkins Digital), and a commercial printing division (Calkins Publishing Solutions) operating out of our state-of-the-art printing facility in Falls, Pa.

Calkins Media has been a leader in local media since the first newspaper was acquired by S.W. Calkins in Uniontown, Pa.in 1937. Today, Calkins Media serves communities across the United States through its print and online news divisions. Calkins Media Philadelphia region reaches an audience of 890, 968 in Southeastern Pennsylvania with digital and print publications of the Bucks County Courier Times, The Intelligencer and the Burlington County Times.

Corporate headquarters are located at 8400 N. Bristol Pike in Levittown, PA.