National News

The Tribune Company enters the viral marketing sphere

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-09-23 11:00

Tribune Publishing, newly-created this summer after the Tribune media conglomerate split its print and broadcast operations, this week announced a partnership with Contend, a viral video marketing company. 

The deal brings digital video savvy to Tribune Publishing’s four-year-old marketing operations, which has already been courting advertisers with a one-stop-shop approach. 

While many newspapers and other legacy print publications have been beefing up their digital marketing offerings—mostly through native ads, such as sponsored web articles—this appears to be the first time a newspaper chain has made a direct investment in a viral video company, one that is not only creating ad content for Tribune’s websites, but for other websites and social media portals as well.  

“Our digital marketing services are our fastest growing area. It has the most upside. It opens up a whole new client list,” says Bill Adee, executive vice president of digital for Tribune Publishing. “What we’re really doing is we’re focusing on a problem that a lot of businesses have, which is creating content. And at the beginning, it was focused on maybe more text-based needs.”

The investment in Contend, the financial terms of which were not disclosed, allows Tribune Publishing to broaden its portfolio to video content, such as an online video series for the supermarket chain Jewel-Osco, which was the first time Contend and Tribune Publishing partnered on a campaign. 

Something Fresh - Ep3 - Quincy from Contend on Vimeo.

The Jewel-Osco series did not run on Tribune’s website—signaling a shift in strategy in which the ads the newspaper giant creates internally do not necessarily have to be ads that run on its own properties. 

“We’re well-known story tellers, right…So why wouldn't we be very good on behalf of a brand telling a story? Completely separate departments. Completely. But at its core, that’s what we do,” Adee says. 

While marketing and news may be separate departments, newspapers are banking on audiences realizing that distinction. Adee says he doesn’t see a danger of an audience backlash, at least with the video content, because it is not disguised as news content. 

“It’s not 'Jewel presented by the Chicago Tribune.' It’s Jewel. There’s no mistaking where this video came from,” Adee says. 

Newspapers may be willing to take risks with sponsored online content, because digital advertising represents one of the few areas of revenue growth for the industry, says Ken Doctor, a media analyst who used to be an executive at the former Knight Ridder Newspaper Chain. 

“It’s a big industry trend. It’s one of the biggest that we’ve seen in several years. And we see it everywhere from at the top end—the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Hearst magazines—to… smaller papers across the country,” Doctor says. 

As newspapers are losing the big advertisers they used to rely upon, they’re turning to the tens of thousands of small and medium-sized businesses in their markets. 

“So publishers are saying: 'We know media, we know how to tell stories with writing and now with video, and we can also help them with social media.' So they are completely reorienting their sales approach away from just selling space to helping these merchants bring in new customers and retain the current customers they have. So, it’s really been a revolution in marketing, and we’re in about the third year of it at this point,” Doctor says. 

For Tribune Publishing, that revolution is necessary. Its digital ad sales accounted for 18 percent of all its ad revenue. And digital ads are one of the few areas of growth for newspapers, Doctor says. 

Contend CEO Steven Amato says while his company is part of the new media world, there are advantages to partnering with a newspaper chain that has established highly-recognizable brands in many cities. 

“Tribune is sitting on an amazing bunch of assets… and they have such deep relationships in local markets. That’s an unbelievable asset. They are part of [their communities]… that is not something you get everyday,” Amato says. “It’s a 167-year-old startup right now, Tribune Publishing. It’s very exciting.”

Al-Qaida's Khorasan Group Led By Hard-Core Fighters

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 10:45

The group, which was targeted by U.S. airstrikes in Syria last night, has been on the U.S. radar for a while. Intelligence officials say they have tracked its individual members for years.

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Meet The Global Groups That Alicia Keys Got Naked For

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 10:40

The Grammy-winning singer posed in the nude (in a G-rated way) to draw attention to a dozen charities. Here's a look at the goals of the global players — and what they'd do if money were no object.

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Insurers Cautious As Proton Beam Cancer Therapy Gains Popularity

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 10:09

Supporters of the controversial, high-priced treatment say routine coverage would help propel research that would support its use. Skeptics say that approach is backward.

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Obama Emphasizes Coalition In Comments On Syrian Strikes

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 09:16

President Obama spoke about airstrikes in Syria on Tuesday morning, moments before he left for New York for the United Nations General Assembly meeting.

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Obama Calls For More Ambitious Approach To Climate Change In U.N. Speech

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 09:03

"There is such a thing as being too late," President Obama says in his address to the U.N. Climate Summit. The White House is touting tools to boost "global resilience" in the face of climate change.

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Rosh Hashana's Sacred Bread Offers Meaning In Many Shapes And Sizes

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 08:54

Making challah for the Jewish New Year lets the baker take a moment to reflect on life's blessings. The bread can be shaped into the traditional round, or a lion or bird to echo Bible verses.

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To Make Interval Training Less Painful, Add Tunes

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 08:39

Alternating rest periods with bouts of really intense exercise may make you fitter, but it's not a breeze. Researchers say music can make intervals less wretched and also make you work harder.

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Stoutaccino? Starbucks Tests Coffee With Beer Flavors

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 08:28

Reports that Starbucks is testing a new coffee drink for autumn that incorporates "toasty stout flavors" has set off a debate over how such a concoction might taste, and whether it's a good idea.

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More Americans Favor Mixing Religion And Politics, Survey Says

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 07:36

The poll by Pew's Religion & Public Life Project also shows that three-quarters of survey participants believe religion's influence on American life is waning.

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At some Wal-Marts, health care in your shopping cart

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-09-23 07:34

Maybe you’ve picked up a prescription medication or been fitted for a pair of eyeglasses at Wal-Mart. But would you trust Wal-Mart with your larger medical care?

The retailer is trying to figure that out, opening up clinics in a handful of stores in South Carolina, Georgia and Texas. 

At a recently opened clinic in North Augusta, South Carolina, a steady stream of patients came through on a recent morning. The clinic is located near the front of the store, with opaque windows for privacy. It’s small, with just three exam rooms.

For $40 you can get a medical checkup with a nurse practitioner. For Wal-Mart employees on the company health plan, it’s only $4.

Roger Beahm, the executive director of Wake Forest University’s Center for Retail Innovation, says the move is a natural step for Wal-Mart. He says growing companies are always looking for the next big thing.

“So how do you that? How do you get more customers into the store? How do you increase the size of the shopping basket when they are in store?” Beahm says. “The answer to that lies in getting more products, more services that customers are willing to buy when they come into the store.”

Wal-Mart has done that before by offering in-store banking and food service.  Some locations already host walk-in clinics in space leased to local healthcare providers.  But now, Wal-Mart is opening its own on-site primary care clinics.

By owning the clinics, Wal-Mart can control costs and the services offered, says the company’s senior health and wellness director, Jennifer LaPerre. She says the company has a track record of pushing other retailers to provide health services at a lower cost.  She cites the $4 generic prescription drug program the company rolled out in 2006.

“That became branded in the community. It caused numerous other pharmacies to follow suit,” LaPerre says.  

The company is piloting the concept in areas with high rates of chronic disease and a shortage of healthcare providers.  So far, that means smaller cities in the South, in states that aren’t expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

It’s an obvious place to start, says Dr. Harris Berman, the dean of Tufts University School of Medicine. Berman says he would have been skeptical of the idea a decade ago. But he says technology is making it easier for nurse practitioners to stay in touch with doctors who will supervise them remotely and help ensure better care.  He says rural areas have an especially critical need for primary care providers.

“I don’t think patients in Boston would go for this concept, or in metropolitan areas,” he says. “But Wal-Mart is very much into rural areas. And I think there, there really is an acute shortage and this would be seen as better than no care.”

Your Guide To Dining From The Dump

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 06:49

Maximus Thaler really puts his money (or at least, his morals) where his mouth is when it comes to food waste. He's a dumpster diver. And he's happy to share tips for foraging from trash bins safely.

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Obama: Coalition Against ISIS Shows 'This Is Not America's Fight Alone'

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 06:43

The president praised the five Arab nations that joined in airstrikes against extremists in Syria and said it should be clear that there are "no safe havens" for those who threaten America.

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Israel Kills Palestinians Suspected In June Kidnappings

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 06:00

Acting on recently received information, soldiers from Israel's special forces raided a building in the West Bank where the two men had been hiding early this morning.

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Why Does The U.S. Like Iraq's Kurds But Not Syria's?

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 05:34

The U.S. urgently needs allies on the ground in Syria. Yet it has given no sign that it's willing to work with Kurdish militias who are already fighting the Islamic State group in Syria.

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ISIS Purportedly Releases New Video Of British Hostage

NPR News - Tue, 2014-09-23 04:41

In the second of a promised "lecture series," freelance photographer John Cantlie warns that Western governments "are hastily marching toward all-out war in Iraq and Syria."

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PODCAST: The climate change odd couple

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-09-23 03:00

Stock markets around the world are having a downbeat day so far, in part because that's what tends to happen in September, but also because of a new signs of trouble for Europe's economy. A survey of business activity in the 18 countries that use the Euro suggests recovery there is stalling. Plus, there's news today the Obama Administration is cracking down on what are called "inversions," the controversial maneuver of acquiring foreign companies to save U.S. tax. Targeted are the special loans that make these acquisitions possible. President Obama and republicans and democrats in congress agree that what's need in the longer run is tax reform. Yet that's a process that doesn't seem to be moving forward any time soon. That got federal budget watcher Stan Collender doing the math on an unconventional solution. And among the many announcements coming out of Climate Week in New York comes this news of strange bedfellows: A partnership between some leading environmental non-profits, including the Environmental Defense Fund, and five oil companies.

An unconventional solution to tax reform

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-09-23 02:00

The Obama Administration has announced a crack down on what are called "inversions": the controversial maneuver of acquiring foreign companies to save U.S. tax. Targeted are the special loans that make these acquisitions possible; seen as a stopgap approach.  

President Obama and republicans and democrats in congress agree that what's need in the longer run is tax reform. But that's a process that doesn't seem to be moving forward any time soon.  

That got federal budget watcher Stan Collender doing the math. Collender—who use to work for both the House and Senate budget committees and tweets at theBudgetGuy—has written a column entitled "How to Abolish the Federal Corporate Income Tax without Increasing the Deficit," and stopped by to talk about an unconventional solution. 

Click the media player above to hear Stan Collender in conversation with Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio.

At in-store clinics, $4 checkups for Wal-Mart workers

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-09-23 02:00

You can’t buy a lot for $4—maybe a cup of coffee or muffin. But at about a dozen Walmart stores across the South, $4 will get employees a visit to a nurse practitioner at an in-store clinic. It’s part of a new primary care program that Walmart is testing in three states.

Eric Klein leads the healthcare team at the national law firm Sheppard Mullin Richter and Hampton. He says Walmart could actually come out ahead in the big picture.

“You have to look at the entire cost,” he says. “It’s not just the $4 copay, it’s the entire cost.”

Klein says if employees go to an on-site clinic owned by Walmart, the company could save money on doctor visits and insurance premiums. Cutting out the middle men could bring down the cost of Walmart’s insurance plans.

Dr. Harris Berman, the dean of the medical school at Tufts University, agrees.

“If the employees are getting it done here for $4, it won’t show up in their insurance bill,” he says.

With more than a million employees and their dependents on the Walmart health plan, the program could help shape the primary care market if it goes nationwide.

Jennifer LaPerre, Walmart’s senior director of health and wellness, says the company has a “unique opportunity” to help provide lower-cost care. LaPerre says the $4 figure is also part of Walmart’s branding strategy, in keeping with the $4 generic drug program that it launched in 2006.

Klein says Walmart also wins by having clinics just steps away from the checkout lines.

“By taking better care of their employees they actually get better results economically,” Klein says. “Less absenteeism, and that’s a real cost savings over time.”

Walmart is piloting the idea for now; planning to open about a dozen clinics by the end of the year in Georgia, Texas, and South Carolina. LaPerre says Walmart is choosing stores in areas with high rates of chronic disease and a shortage of primary care doctors.

If the concept works, Walmart may take it nationwide.