The Berlin Wall Wasn't the Only One | Bleader

The Berlin Wall Wasn't the Only One


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The organization of your archetypal American newspaper used to be elegant in its simplicity: circulation and marketing over there and editorial over here. Different languages spoken and communication rarely attempted. There might be some mixing on the paper's softball team, though probably not.

Here is today's reality, a recent memo from Rob Karwath, innovation editor of the Chicago Tribune, congratulating all hands on a job well done during the Blackhawks' run to the Stanley Cup. "All for one, one for all." "Either we hang together or we all hang separately." That's the spirit these days.


I want to share with you some great news and a wonderful example of how working together can pay off in a big way.

For the last several weeks, a team from editorial, advertising, and marketing, as well as manufacturing and distribution at the Chicago Tribune, RedEye,, WGN-TV and WGN-AM met daily to coordinate and help push each other’s efforts during the Chicago Blackhawks’ historic Stanley Cup run. We called our 20- to 30-minute meeting the “Power Play.”

The Power Play team didn’t know the Blackhawks would win it all. But we did know it was a possibility, and we wanted to take full advantage of a local team in the playoffs to drive audience and revenue. Early numbers show the effort helped generate substantial incremental audience and revenue at all properties—over $1 million in incremental revenue from advertisers, books, posters and plates, and we’re not finished!

During a recent series of town hall meetings across the Chicago Tribune Media Group, Tony Hunter emphasized the importance of increasing our cross channel synergy, making decisions quickly, moving with urgency and experimenting. What a fine example of all these traits coming together. We excelled because we worked together to achieve shared goals.

These efforts included:

• Promotion of Blackhawks’ coverage across all platforms, in editorial and marketing space
• Coordination of cross-media appearances, such as Tribune reporters appearing on WGN-AM after games
• Identical branding of content as “Commit to the Cup,” with identical logos
• Creation and promotion of 20 in-paper player posters, many of which carried advertisements
• Creation of cheer cards and glossy player photos inserted into or sold with papers
• Coordination of advertising and editorial paging, ratios and color positions
• Creation and promotion of a special daily Stanley Cup Finals special section and a Championship section
• Idea to publish “Hawkeytown” instant book celebrating the championship
• Trib Nation discussion and promotion of efforts across media
• Promotion of special Tribune Tower celebrations, including lighting of the building red and WGN-AM window painting
• Promotion of merchandise sales at Tribune Store, including press plates, posters and apparel

The Power Play team worked hard and had some rigorous debates, but always came up with a solution to rally around. We used the full muscle of the Chicago Tribune Media Group to serve our customers and build our businesses.

As a way of letting you share in the Blackhawks’ historic season, we’re making printing press plates available for FREE starting today at Freedom Center, Westchester and Northlake, and starting tomorrow at the Tribune Store. Just show your ID badge to get your free plate. (Limit one per employee). Additional plates available for purchase are priced at $19.99 — show your ID to receive a 15% employee discount.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to this effort along the way.

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