CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: IBJ has big plans for coming year

December 25, 2006

This has been a strong year for your local business weekly.

We take seriously our mission of providing readers with the best, most in-depth coverage of local business, so it is with a sense of both pride and gratitude that I report on our most successful year ever.

Editor Tom Harton has called 2006 the Year of the Award.

This year, IBJ won 18 news awards-eight of them gold-from three different organizations. Our coverage was recognized nine times by our industry trade group, the Alliance for Area Business Publications; six times by the Society of Professional Journalists; and three times by the Hoosier State Press Association.

It's nice to be honored, but we hope the recognition reinforces our readers' confidence in us and our newspaper.

We know that businesspeople today can find news from numerous sources. The Internet has transformed the media business into a real-time, 24/7 proposition.

At IBJ, we are in the midst of a transition that embraces that revolution, strives to meet readers' information needs, and keeps IBJ in the leading spot as this market's premier provider of local business news.

We'll talk about our newspaper in a minute.

Our online efforts were enhanced in 2006 by a wholesale redesign of our Web page (www.ibj.com), the introduction of a powerful new archive system, and the launch of another e-mail news alert (IBJ Health Care Weekly).

More important, we hired an online editor, whose sole responsibility is to turn IBJ's Web page into an ongoing provider of news updated throughout the day.

That transformation is well under way. Readers will see many more changes throughout 2007, including more ongoing daily coverage and the launch of at least two more industry-specific, weekly e-mail news alerts. The e-mail alerts have proven popular with both readers and advertisers. In addition to the aforementioned health care weekly e-mail launched earlier this year, we also offer IBJ Daily and IBJ Real Estate Weekly.

At the same time we are strengthening our digital efforts, our newspaper remains the heart of our enterprise, and we can't neglect it at the expense of the Web. Through IBJ, we continue to give you more than just facts you can pick up other places-we give you the story and we analyze the facts and how they pertain to your world. We push ourselves to both inform and enlighten. Our new marketing campaign highlights that point.

With that in mind, we're still improving IBJ.

To more deeply penetrate the so-called doughnut counties, we will expand and enhance our monthly Perimeter section, which we launched this year.

To attract younger readers and appeal to the lighter side of all our readers, we will add another page to our two-page weekly "Not Strictly Business." Added to our sports column by Bill Benner, "Notions" by Bruce Hetrick, and "Funny Business" by Mike Redmond will be a variety of features about restaurants, entertainment and other pastimes.

Our goal is to continue to earn your respect and loyalty.

Finally, I'd like to thank all our readers and advertisers who have made 2005 and 2006 two record-revenue years in a row for our company. We appreciate your readership and your financial support. As always, if you can think of a way we might better serve you, please send me an e-mail at ckatterjohn@ibj.com. Have a Happy Holiday and a prosperous New Year.

Katterjohn is publisher of IBJ.To comment on this column, go to IBJ Forum at www.ibj.comor send e-mail to ckatterjohn@ibj.com.
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