One thing remains constant with the changing newspaper industry – creativity is key.

With the Indiana News­paper in Education Founda­tion’s free state bicentennial series – So you think you know Indiana? – newspapers can inform and interest readers in several appealing ways.

Free bicentennial series
NIE Foundation offers a free 15-part series marking Indiana’s bicentennial. To download the series, visit, www.HSPAfoundation.org.

Indiana newspapers took the 15 free stories written by Hoosier author Nelson Price and ran with them.

Justin Rumbach, managing editor of The Herald (Jasper) and newly elected president of the Indiana NIE Foundation, scheduled the series to run as a color ad on the back page every Tuesday for 15 consecutive weeks.

“We hope to build readership with the series by scheduling a consistent position on the same day each week,” Rumbach said.

The newspaper supplemented the project with house ads to remind readers of the series and when and where it would run, he said.

While the series includes interesting information for all readers, teachers will find the stories useful in the classroom. Rumbach took advantage of that market and emailed teachers in The

Herald’s readership area about the project’s educational potential.

Another newspaper in a different region of the state also targeted teachers with great success.

The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne) began running part of the series March 3 and will publish seven of the 15 stories on Thursdays through April 21.

Before the series began, schools in Allen County received more than 900 free copies of The Journal Gazette.

Karisa Campbell, NIE coordinator for Fort Wayne Newspapers, emailed teachers currently using the paper to tell them The JG would run a seven-part series celebrating the Indiana Bicentennial.

She also contacted other teachers who do not receive a classroom newspaper on a regular basis but who normally participate in the newspaper group’s NIE tab program.

These two teacher groups received an additional 633 weekly copies delivered strictly for the Indiana Bicentennial series on Thursdays, totaling 4,431 copies.

Campbell said a sponsor covered the cost of the additional copies. In return it receiving a 6×4 anchored strip ad to run at the bottom of each bicentennial story.

“I would not have been able to complete this project without the support of our Journal Gazette newsroom or the help of our advertising department who sold the sponsorship on behalf of NIE,” Campbell said.

KPC Media Group’s Sue Carpenter said the series began running once a week in the group’s daily newspapers Feb. 29. The weeklies in the chain may use the stories depending on space.

Newspapers may run the stories in one of four provided formats – half-page and quarter-page in color or black-and-white.

Rumbach schedules the half-page color version. The Journal Gazette uses the text and logos in its own format and sometimes changes the art – a fifth option.

Member papers may solicit sponsors to help pay for space and/or classroom copies. A publication agreement that editors electronically sign before downloading the series explains that the logos of the sponsoring organizations must be used, but an advertiser’s information can be added as well.

Beginning Sept. 1 newspapers may post the series on their websites.

Until then, they may publish only print versions. This allows time for papers to run the series in print first.

To download the stories, visit www.HSPAfoundation.org.

For additional questions, call (317) 803-4772.