Read the memo

LA Times unveils more branding and digital features

latimes-tablet.jpgA cheerleading note went out to Los Angeles Times employees yesterday from the paper's president, Kathy Thomson, announcing a new branding campaign ("How California Thinks") and a web page called Trending Now to lure readers to spend more time on the website. There are also a couple of holiday ebooks coming and assorted other digital items. Here's the memo:

From: Thomson, Kathy K

Sent: Monday, October 22, 2012 4:06 PM

To: AllLosAngelesTimesEmployees

Subject: Update

Colleagues –

Rapid change is a constant in the media business and I am particularly proud of how LATMG is prioritizing innovation and nimbly adapting to embrace technological advances. We’ve been doing a lot to harness the power of the LA Times and have made great strides in our digital evolution. I want to make sure you are aware of a number of key initiatives.

Tomorrow morning we will officially launch Trending Now. This dynamic new online feature is aimed at presenting the most popular news our readers are thinking and talking about at any moment. Trending Now will also incorporate tools to stir reader participation.

I’m also happy to tell you that our new How California Thinks (HCT) brand campaign will be unveiled tomorrow. I imagine you’ve heard some buzz about this initiative and we are very pleased with the results. HCT presents the LA Times in a fresh new way and is designed to:

· Highlight key cultural, political and civic flashpoint topics we’re covering in order to stimulate conversation
· Build audience and invite deeper engagement with, particularly Trending Now
· Emphasize social relevance and community (watch one of several HCT videos to be deployed)
· Tap into the “mobile first” audience
· Utilize the latest in rich media advertising (see iAd image below)
· Be 100% geo-targeted to the Los Angeles DMA

We have vastly improved our mobile offerings to provide readers with an optimized experience that adapts to its viewing environment and is more visually compelling. This ensures easier reading and navigation across a wide range of devices, including smartphones, iPads and Android tablets. In addition, mobile ad sizes are now uniform, which aids our marketing partners by streamlining creative requirements.
As we march towards November 6, our politics and digital teams have created comprehensive Election 2012 and CA Proposition guides to ensure our readers are well armed to make crucial voting decisions. Our coverage includes key issues, interactive maps and databases of battleground states, fundraising and spending, as well as commentary and much more.

Our Membership Program is entering its ninth month! The success to date has been excellent and as Phase II begins, we are improving upon the foundation we’ve built by:

· Debuting a redesigned Membership landing page on October 30
· Unveiling a new membership-focused marketing initiative, timed to coincide with HCT
· Offering a free, 4-week trial
· Further defining the three pillars of membership

  • o Premium content: Early or exclusive access to fearless reporting and investigative journalism

  • o Unique experiences: Distinctive experiences that can’t be bought or accessed elsewhere

  • o Exclusive offers: Member-only contests, sweepstakes and special discounts

Lastly, look for two new LA Times eBooks to hit the marketplace just after Halloween:

· Los Angeles Times Holiday Handbook: More than 100 recipes perfected in our test kitchen
· Los Angeles Times Holiday Cookies: 65 Kitchen Tested Favorites (updated and expanded edition from last year’s edition)

I sincerely thank you for staying focused and consistently delivering on your goals. Together we are defining LATMG’s future. Your efforts and expertise are much appreciated and our readers and advertisers benefit greatly from your dedication.

As always, I hope you’ll send along any questions you may have.


Related: The Times is tweaking its community newspapers a bit, cutting out some days' editions, moving the Glendale News-Press offices to the Times building in downtown LA, and ramping up online. Fishbowl LA

More by Kevin Roderick:
Standing up to Harvey Weinstein
The Media
LA Times gets a top editor with nothing but questions
LA Observed Notes: Harvey Weinstein stripped bare
LA Observed Notes: Photos of the homeless, photos that found homes
Recent Read the memo stories on LA Observed:
Memo: New LA Times publisher drops web widget
LA Times staff warned not to join women's marches
Read the memo: New York Times won't ban 'alt-right'
Read the memo: LA Times finally names an obituary editor
LA Times journos warned - again - about tweet politics
LA Times squeezed out of hosting its own awards shindig
Memo: LA News Group now So Cal News Group
Another Pulitzer winner for the Breeze leaves journalism


LA Observed on Twitter