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Johnston Press offers staff cash prizes for website traffic growth

By William Turvill

Johnston Press has launched a new initiative offering its staff cash prizes for increasing website traffic.

In an email to staff, the publisher set out plans for its 201 sites to reach a combined 110m page views per month. In the first half of 2015, Johnston Press attracted an average 972,454 daily unique users, leaving it behind Trinity Mirror, Newsquest and Local World.

The "competition", running over October, November and December, gives publishing units the chance to win up to £5,000 "for a celebration event for delivering the highest percentage increase in page view growth".

The email said: "The main prize winner will be announced at the start of 2016, providing winners with a chance to put the January blues behind them with a team event of their choice!  

"There are other cash prizes up for grabs, as well as a Chief Executive’s Prize and spot prizes throughout the quarter for outstanding team or individual performances."

The prizes, "awarded for the highest percentage increase in page views across the biggest websites of each of the PUs for the last three months of 2015" – and doubled if the 110m page views target is achieved – are:

  • £2,500 for first prize
  • £1,250 for second
  • £750 for third
  • And £250 for all other publishing units.

There is also a Chief Executive's Prize of £500 and £250 for a runner-up and five spot prizes of £200 for individuals or teams. These "will reward a particularly strong or innovative idea or story and is open to all editorial teams and team members".

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The message said: "Editorial Directors will share the targets for the publications within their areas, and we will publish results monthly to show how our teams are performing. (Picture: Shutterstock)

"To help the drive to our target we will continue to share ideas and stories across titles, and the range of prizes on offer means everyone in our Editorial teams has a chance of winning.  We will bring you a selection of the stories that are making an impact throughout the duration of the campaign."

Editorial Board Chairman Jeremy Clifford, who is also editor of the Yorkshire Post, said: "This is the first time Editorial has been able to come together around one collective target. Putting together a competition will hopefully instil a bit of fun around what is an incredibly important target.

“It has been designed to encourage collective ideas sharing not only within PUs but also across the whole of Editorial.”

Chief executive Ashley Highfield said: “Our Editorial teams are already focused on driving our digital audiences.  We’ve seen a significant digital transformation this year through Newsroom of the Future as we push for an increase in total audience and drive digital revenues.

“This competition is a great way to increase traffic to our sites, while showcasing the quality journalism behind the stories coming from the heart of the communities we serve.”

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