, Gloucester, MA

August 10, 2013

Why Did My Newspaper Do That? 'Festival' pages add color, info to event advances

Why Did My Newspaper Do That?
Ray Lamont

---- — As you probably know by now, today marks the start of this year’s two-day sales tax “holiday” for Massachusetts consumers and local businesses.

Today also marks Rockport’s annual Lobsterfest, with the town’s first-ever pubic fireworks display set to light up the skies over the Old Granite Pier tonight as part of Illumination Night.

And today also marks the Second Gloucester Blues Festival, which brings seven regional and national blues acts to State Fort Park today from 11 a.m to 7 p.m.

We featured the Blues Fest, rapidly growing as Gloucester’s predominant music festival, with a story by correspondent Emily daSilva that ran across the top of Thursday’s front page, and co-founders Bob Hastings and Paul Benjamin noting how far the event has already come and where they see it going.

But a note in that story also directed the reader to a listing of the concert lineup and more coverage on Page 6, where folks could not only find an additional story, with photos from last year’s fest, but notes about each of today’s performers and a series of ads touting the festival and promoting specials geared around it.

The page was the latest in what we have come to call “festival” pages, with earlier ones giving similar treatment to the first of the coming of St. Peter’s Fiesta in June, and then to the first of this summer’s Downtown Block Parties.

And there will indeed be more such special pages to come in the weeks and months ahead.

Now, at first glance, it may have seemed odd that, while the lead story on the Blues Festival started in Page 1 and continued to Page 2, a separate page also spotlighted the festival on Page 6 — similar to the papers advancing the Fiesta and Block Party.

After all, shouldn’t the stories be connected? Why, in other words, would your community’s newspaper do that?

For a lot of reasons.

First, one aspect of events such as this we like to present is a full schedule of events, as we included on the festival page for the Block Party and Fiesta, and a side piece like the artist’s lineup and brief bios we noted for today’s Blues Fest.

But while we can often add those features on line, we don’t always have the space to do so in the Times print edition.

In short, these pre-scheduled, special pages give us the chance to provide this kind of added information — and the pages are always planned to be in color, so it gives us a chance to feature color photos from prior events as well.

Plus, it allows advertisers who want to participate in these summer season monthly events to target their ads toward specific niches of customers.

On Thursday’s festival page, for example, each advertiser reached out specifically to fans who visit the Blues Festival, with the Dog Bar Grill and Lat43’s Minglewood Tavern promoting their own blues performers tonight, and the Dog Bar, Espresso’s, Jalapeno’s and Passports all offering deals for festival patrons.

And advertisers on our earlier festival pages focused on those attending these special events as well.

In short, these pages have opened the door to giving these special events the added focus and attention they deserve, while offering specially focused opportunities to advertisers as well.

As always, let me know what you think.

Questions? Comments? Is there a topic you’d like to see addressed in a future column? Contact Times Editor Ray Lamont at 978-283-7000, x3432, or at