News media companies are engaging and exciting, and they are embracing innovative initiatives. Let me provide you with a flavour. Here are highlights of new programmes launched by newspapers in the first quarter of 2015 (and this is just Canada!).

  1. Black Press: The newspaper group launched, an online crowdfunding initiative for charitable causes. Fundraisers register on the newspaper’s Web site home page and provide details. Approved project profiles are then posted on a dedicated newspaper microsite to reach out to readers.

  2. Hamilton Spectator: Named as one of the 10 Newspapers That Do It Right by Editor & Publisher, the company has transformed its sales team into multi-media experts. Through training of staff and clients and internal motivation programmes such as the Millionaire Club, the media company also earned US$1.2 million in digital sales.

  3. Metroland Media: It just launched its community classified app Tradyo. The app allows users to create free listings, browse for goods based on geography, and negotiate transactions through an in-app private chat function.
  4. Peterborough This Week: The newspaper truly delivers on local issues, from sports to crime and human interest to community initiatives; locals are kept abreast of everything going on. But it goes beyond just reporting on what has happened and really delves into the impact these events or issues have on the community.

  5. Postmedia: This group has begun using a data management platform that allows it to segment data based on content consumption and target advertisements to increase advertising revenue.

  6. The Globe & Mail: This national newspaper aims to be one of the first news organisations with an Apple Watch app. It launches April 24 and is designed to have one sentence stories and powerful images. With no advertisements initially, this will change as the newspaper works with clients.

  7. Toronto Star: The newspaper has decided to invest in an interactive tablet app (guided by La Presse+, a Quebec newspaper’s groundbreaking app). It is also launching a Snapchat account and removing its paywall.

  8. Winnipeg Free Press: A first for new Web sites in North America, the newspaper is offering “pick-and-pay” access to its online articles at CAN$0.27 each (which comes with a money-back guarantee). Once logged in, readers can purchase articles (which are tracked), and at the end of the month, the reader’s credit card is charged.