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The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute is showcasing innovative ideas that were shared at the 2014 Walter B. Potter Sr. Conference for community newspapers. If you like ideas such as these, we encourage you to attend the 2016 Potter Conference, which will be held April 14 and 15 at RJI in Columbia, Missouri. 

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How do you get young readers involved in some friendly competition while driving print newspaper sales and increasing advertising revenue? The Republic-Monitor in Perryville, Missouri, does it every March with its annual medallion hunt.

The newspaper is celebrating its 25th year hosting the treasure hunt this year, says Publisher Beth Chism. Local businesses sponsor ads that include clues to the medallion’s location, prompting people to buy a copy of the paper if they don’t already have one, according to former managing editor Amanda Layton. This has boosted rack sales in the past by about 75 to 100 papers, says Chism.

In 2015, the contest also brought in about $3,000 in additional advertising dollars, says Chism.

It’s become a popular activity for community’s younger demographic because the Republic-Monitor’s hunt takes place throughout the month of March, which is often the time when students are home for spring break, Layton says.

“What’s cool about it is it really attracts young readership,” says Layton. “It’s usually kids who are home from break like spring break for college or whatever. They come home. They hunt the medallion.”

Young people often form teams to hunt for the medallion and then post photos to Facebook sharing the fun they’re having with their friends, adds Chism.

Learn how to do a treasure hunt in your community

Jennifer Nelson  
   
Senior Information Specialist



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