Ideas abound from Publishers' Roundtable

Richmond Times-Dispatch Publisher Tom Silvestri
Melissa Morse of the Falls Church News Press C-Ville Advertising Director Gabe Rodriguez

A group of publishers and newspaper officers came away with concepts for new products - and revenue - through a roundtable discussion held Nov. 13 at the Virginia Press Association.

Leading the group was Richmond Times-Dispatch Publisher Tom Silvestri, who illustrated the idea concept by bringing an oversized, but functional, light bulb to the discussion.

The quick takeaways:

Don't fear the quirky - The Falls Church News Press struck a chord with readers through its weekly "Critter Corner" feature. Advertising Director Melissa Morse noted, "It you want a reader revolt, try taking out the Critter Corner." The next step? Pet obituaries.

Beyond news - C-Ville Weekly found great success with stand-alone glossy magazines that highlighted cuisine in the Charlottesville area. Advertising Director Gabe Rodriguez said "Knife and Fork" was easily its most sought-after print product.

Look inward - Silvestri talked about a recent section put out by the Times-Dispatch to mark its 165 years in publication. While celebrating the paper's longevity, it also served as a how-to guide for readers, providing information on circulation, contacting staff, the paper's various projects and other information that we often assume readers already know. "I recommend doing this kind of piece at least once a year," Silvestri added.