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New London - The Day Publishing Co. announced this week a series of initiatives intended to strengthen the media company's news content, marketing reach and digital infrastructure.
Publisher Gary Farrugia said the company is working to improve content in The Times weekly newspapers while also adding reporting firepower to its news and sports departments. In addition, The Day is looking to ramp up revenue streams by converting the Wheels and HomeSource sections into products of its marketing department as well as using its extensive database to help advertisers target specific markets.
"We're coming off a pretty good year," Farrugia said, citing The Day's $105,000 contribution to the Bodenwein Fund last year.
Farrugia said marketing studies showed, however, that there were additional opportunities to reach a new audience of potential readers, particularly in Waterford, Groton, Stonington, Mystic and the Lymes.
"We're focusing a lot of effort on expanding our audience, our paid membership," Farrugia said.
To provide fresh content, The Day next month will be shifting Ann Baldelli from her role as community editor to general assignment reporter. Baldelli will focus on features, news, profiles and business stories in the region's towns.
Kathleen Edgecomb will move from her reporting role covering New London to become the new community editor responsible for The Times weekly newspapers. Joining her to bolster The Times is Jessica Hopper, who will move from a part-time role handing social media to a full-time position as assistant community editor.
"It gives us more resources to throw into The Times," said Timothy Dwyer, The Day's executive editor. "We'll be able to put more hyperlocal content in each title."
Lisa McGinley, assistant managing editor for reporting, has been named deputy managing editor with expanded duties focusing on strengthening local coverage and online presentation.
Also as part of the changes, reporter Colin Young will be taking the reins as New London reporter, and a new hire, Tess Townsend, will be covering Waterford starting next month.
In addition, Ned Griffen has rejoined The Day as a full-time sports reporter covering high school sports and blogging for theday.com. He had previously covered a variety of beats, including the Connecticut Sun basketball team.
Gary Samek also has joined The Day as a multiplatform copy editor. He previously did copy editing at The Providence Journal and Hartford Courant and served as sports editor at The Bulletin in Norwich.
Farrugia said changes in the newsroom will come along with plans to completely redesign www.theday.com in the coming year. The company also will be purchasing a new content management system, he said, and plans a digital-infrastructure rebuild by adding a programmer who will develop responsive coding to make theday.com available on any platform, from a desktop to a tablet to a phone.
The Day also plans to develop interactive magazines for advertisers as well as increasing the availability of advertorial opportunities. Dirk Langeveld, previously a local editor in New London for Patch.com, has been hired by The Day's marketing department to provide editorial support for a variety of services, including interactive digital magazines.
Michael Moses, director of marketing and digital coordination, said iMags are catered to individual companies' needs, providing a dynamic product that can be linked to their own website as well as being accessible on theday.com. The first interactive product being produced by The Day's marketing department will be tied to content in the Wheels and HomeSource sections.
"We're trying to meet the needs of the evolving behaviors of our readers ... because they are changing," Moses said.
Moses said the key to interactive magazines is The Day's database that allows local marketers to target specific demographic lifestyles.
"I'm very bullish on building us out as a database information company," Farrugia said. "It worked for us last year. We're doubling down this year.”