Montgomery Business Journal

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Montgomery Advertiser Launches Expanded Coverage

February 2014

By David Zaslawsky    

Photography by Robert Fouts

In what might be one of the largest and most dramatic transformations, the Montgomery Advertiser will relaunch in early February and it will no longer resemble the newspaper you used to receive on your driveway.

This new version adds some bulk, or as Advertiser Media Group President & Publisher Robert C. Granfeldt Jr. likes to call it, some “heft.” We’re talking 50 to 60 or more pages a week than the old version. That is a lot more heft.

“We’re really excited about this,” Granfeldt said. “It is huge for us. This is what people have been asking for while other newspapers are eliminating days of publication, we’re adding up to 60 pages a week worth of print content.

“That’s great news for our readership; it’s great news for the casual readers; but it’s also great news for our advertisers because the paper is going to be much more (hefty). If you think about it, people like heft in their newspapers. They want to be able to feel it and we are going to add heft to our newspaper.”

That heft is coming from the addition of a seven-day-a-week USA Today report and expanded local coverage. There will be widespread use of color pages. The USA Today report will feature both news and business stories and there will be additional USA Today sports pages in the sports section as well as feature stories in the newspaper’s lifestyle section.

The Sunday newspaper will be a treat with “a never-before-published” lifestyle section from USA Today that will focus on “travel, fashion and a lot of things that a lot of newspapers have gone away from,” Granfeldt said. The newspaper’s current Sunday lifestyle section will be converted into an arts and entertainment section, Granfeldt said.

“I want to make it clear – the thing that is so important to us – is adding heft to our newspaper and increasing dramatically our local report,” he said. “This is all about local. Adding USA Today is great, but this (relaunch) allows us to add substantial local. And we’re very excited about it.”

In the first half of the year, the Advertiser Media Group will change all of its websites – all of its digital products – with new apps. The new digital products will be customized for smartphones and tablets. “These new sites that we are going to roll out are just out of this world and they take advantage of a lot of the social media technology; conversational technology; and then, of course, multimedia,” Granfeldt said.

One of the questions that Granfeldt said he routinely fields is, “is the Advertiser going to remain a daily newspaper?” He answered his own question emphatically: “We are the largest daily newspaper in the state. I didn’t come here to not run a seven-day newspaper. I really believe in it. Our company really believes in it.”

Granfeldt said that the company “is as much a part of Montgomery and as much a part of the community as any other entity because we have been here since the start. We are Montgomery. We are a part of the history of Montgomery and we embrace that. I think that’s really important and it’s different than businesses that have come and gone. The Montgomery Advertiser and of course the Alabama Journal have been the official record of this town for a long, long time. I consider us to be the No. 1 source for local news and information.”

He credits the company’s success to the people who have “embraced us for many, many years. We’ve gone through thick and thin together. There have been some good times and some not-so good times, but the fact of the matter is that the Montgomery Advertiser is a huge part of Montgomery. We get great support from the city government. We get great support from the county; local colleges; local businesses. They have really made a huge commitment to the Montgomery Advertiser over time.

“One of the reasons why I’m here is to help grow that partnership, but at the same time make sure that this community knows that we are going to deliver the highest-quality newspaper, websites, mobile sites, tablet sites that we possibly can.”

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