Digital First Media’s local journalism footprint in Connecticut includes three daily newspapers (the New Haven Register, Middletown Press and The Register Citizen of Torrington), the statewide Connecticut Magazine and a number of weekly, monthly and quarterly local and niche publications, including the West Hartford News, Shoreline Times, Litchfield County Times and Passport Magazine.
Journal Register Company was a traditional print newspaper company that boldly embarked on a “Digital First, Print Last” strategy in February 2010 when journalist and entrepreneur John Patonwas named CEO.
On July 4, 2010, JRC newspapers participated in the “Ben Franklin Project,” producing a day’s worth of online and print publications using crowdsourced journalism and only free, web-based, open-source software to publish.
The company then appointed the “JRC Idea Lab.” Eighteen employees from across the company were given a monthly stipend, tech tools including Netbooks, iPads and iPhones, and were freed up to devote 25 percent of their work week on experimenting and innovation. The Idea Lab included four journalists from Connecticut – New Haven Register reporter Angela Carter, New Haven Register online producer Chris March, Middletown Press Editor Viktoria Sundqvist and Register Citizen Community Engagement Editor Kaitlyn Yeager.
Community Media Labs were launched at each of JRC’s newspapers, partnering with and spotlighting the work of local bloggers.
In December 2010, the company launched its first “open newsroom” in Torrington. The Register Citizen Newsroom Cafe is open to the public and features coffee and pastries for sale, free public wifi, story meetings in which readers are invited to participate in person or via live-stream on RegisterCitizen.com, 134 years of local history archives open and accessible to the public and a “Community Journalism School” that offers free classes and workshops.
In May 2011, the company welcomed pioneering journalist and 2010 Editor & Publisher Editor of the Year Steve Buttry as its new Director of Community Engagement.
And in August 2011, one of the most prominent digital journalism leaders in the country, former WashingtonPost.Com executive editor Jim Brady, was named Journal Register Company’s editor-in-chief.