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Forsyth County News wins national award for innovation
Vince Johnson, right, publisher of the Forsyth County News, receives the 2016 Mega-Innovation Award from Harvard Business School Innovator-in-Residence Michael Maness. - photo by For the FCN

CUMMING — The Forsyth County News has been named the winner of a national award that recognizes innovation in the newspaper and media market.

The recipient of the inaugural Mega-Innovation Award was announced at the 2016 Key Executives Mega-Conference in Austin on Wednesday in front of hundreds of companies after having been narrowed down to four finalists.

“Winning this award is almost unreal for a media company our size,” said Vince Johnson, publisher. “We were up against finalists with thousand-person staffs and world-class buildings. It’s a tremendous testament to our staff and our community.”

The FCN was the only individual media property among the finalists. The other three were media groups: Proven Performance Media LLC (AH Bello Corp.), which owns The Dallas Morning News; Oklahoma Media Company, the parent company of The Oklahoman; and Calkins Digital.

“The David and Goliath reference was made a few times Wednesday. But our size gives us mobility. We can be nimble and quick to evolve to whatever is in the best interest of our readers and advertisers,” Johnson said.

Harvard Business School Innovator-in-Residence Michael Maness judged the award on behalf of the Local Media Association, the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association and the Inland Press Association.

Some reasons given for why FCN was designated the winner included “metrics to prove their innovation, brave leadership to radically transform operations” and “moving fully to embrace a distributed model.”

Products such as the Best of Forsyth contest, Studio Forsyth, The Grind and premium advertisement deals were noted as main innovations for the paper, but the model of getting there was also emphasized.

Those reasons included not focusing on the size of the company but how to maximize available resources and pinpointing new markets and non-consumers.

“One of the most exciting things about this to me is knowing that our best ideas have yet to happen,” Johnson said. “Forsyth County will lead local media across the nation forward.”