Google Cloud Results
Reduces costs with pay-as-you-go pricing
• Cuts time writing articles for some reporters by over 65 percent
• Helps new employees get up to speed quickly
• Decreases travel expenses and phone bills
The newspaper business has changed dramatically in the past 20 years, thanks to the internet. The revenue model is evolving, with paid subscriptions becoming more important to the bottom line while also continuing to attract advertisers. Meanwhile, with 24/7 news cycles and social media, the competition for readers’ attention has never been greater.
To survive and thrive, McClatchy, which started publishing in 1857, has evolved into a leaner, more agile, digital-first media enterprise. Google Workspace is playing a significant role in McClatchy’s business transformation in two ways: By giving reporters, editors, and others the tools to collaborate in real time, which in turn has engendered a cultural change throughout the organization that aligns with its digital-first mission .
“Google Workspace gives us the tools we need to make sure our reporters can be productive and mobile, and to enable reporters and editors to collaborate in real time so we can respond to news instantly,” says Terry Geiger, Vice President of Technology Operations for McClatchy. “Google Workspace is helping us transform into an organization with a digital DNA.”
A seismic shift
“With Google Docs, some of our reporters have cut the time spent writing by over 65 percent. Because Google Docs is so reliable, they don’t worry about losing their work.” - Julie Moos, Shared News Director, McClatchy
Prior to the mid 2000s, the local news brands owned by McClatchy were a collection of 30 media companies operating independently. Then came the Great Recession of 2007-2009. With the need for belt-tightening measures, McClatchy’s decentralized approach was no longer viable. “We had to radically change our cost structure to operate more efficiently,” says Terry. “But our fragmented technology wouldn’t allow for it.”
The company had 25 servers dispersed around the country supporting its on-premises email, calendaring, and contacts system. Without standardization across the various markets, and with a newsroom’s constant need to be up and running, the McClatchy team knew they had to shift dramatically.
A few years later, McClatchy had centralized most of its technology operations. Along with that, the company wanted to standardize on a set of productivity tools across the organization and chose Google Workspace for its availability, flexible pricing, simple and highly secure manageability, and real-time collaboration.
To significantly transform McClatchy into a cohesive enterprise, the company’s head of IT, supported by the CFO, started the Google journey by moving users to Gmail, Contacts, and Calendar to replace its legacy email, contacts, and calendaring solution. “As soon as people began using Gmail, Contacts, and Calendar, they started using Google Docs extensively, too,” says Terry. “It just happened organically and really took off.” Along with those apps, McClatchy users also work in Sheets for tracking articles in production and other things; Slides for training and other presentations; Sites for teams and departments to create their own internal information-sharing sites; Forms for conducting internal surveys; and especially Google Chat and Google Meet.
To help McClatchy make the move to Google Workspace, Google recommended the company work with SADA Systems, a Google Cloud Premier Partner. “SADA did the implementation planning and a lot of the integration,” says Terry. “We still use SADA services and solutions to help manage our environment. They’ve been a wonderful partner for us.”
Saving money and time
“All day, our teams have video chats in Google Meet and share their screens and documents. Google Chat and Google Meet have radically changed the way we do business, and how effective we are.” - Terry Geiger, Vice President, Technology Operations, McClatchy
The Google Workspace pricing flexibility was another attraction for McClatchy. “After the recession, we needed flexibility, we didn’t want to have to commit to a set number of user licenses,” Terry says. “With Google Workspace, we avoided spending mid-six figures on hardware and software refreshes, and we only pay for what we truly consume.” Plus, working with SADA and Google has been much easier than it was with the company’s previous productivity suite provider, especially in regards to receiving helpful and timely support, Terry adds.
The reliability of Google Workspace has made an enormous difference for McClatchy reporters and editors. “The real-time news team moves really fast, so we need reliable tools,” says Julie Moos, Shared News Director for McClatchy. “With Google Docs, some of our reporters have cut the time spent writing by over 65 percent. Because Google Docs is so reliable, they don’t worry about losing their work. Reporters get feedback and edits faster, too, because of the collaborative nature of Google Docs. And they can have real-time chats in the document with editors.”
Real-time collaboration helps the news team post breaking stories as quickly as possible, sometimes before competitors. In turn, this helps the company stay competitive in the endless race to attract site visitors, which helps McClatchy’s bottom line, given the importance of site traffic to advertisers.
Julie adds, “Google Workspace really helps our news team work in real time. My team of 20 is constantly using Chat, Gmail, and Sheets. With team members around the country, in different time zones, and facing around-the-clock deadlines, we simply couldn’t have a successful news team without Google Workspace.”
Enhancing employee satisfaction
Google Workspace also helps new employees get up to speed much faster than the previous legacy productivity suite. “More students today use Google Workspace, so when they come to work for us after graduation, they don’t need training on the tools,” says Terry. “They just start working and collaborating. You can’t put a dollar figure on how valuable that is.”
Like any news organization, McClatchy is no stranger to legal action, and the company relies on Vault for reliable documentation archiving and eDiscovery. Other security features of Google Workspace, such as spam and phishing protections, have helped protect the organization from threats such as ransomware and spoofing.
Radically changing how work happens
Google Meet has had perhaps the biggest impact on how McClatchy team members work, and thus helped bring about the organization’s biggest cultural change.
“Google Workspace and Chromebooks will be invaluable to us as we go down this path. They will help us save money because we’re not slowed down by tools that are hard to use.” - Terry Geiger, Vice President, Technology Operations, McClatchy
“All day, our teams have video chats in Google Meet. They’re sharing their screens and documents with each other, working on the same Doc at the same time. They can see each other in real time, wherever they are. Google Chat and Google Meet have radically changed the way we do business, and how effective we are,” Terry says. He adds that nearly all meeting spaces are equipped with Google Meet hardware as well, to help facilitate video conferencing.
“Meet has significantly reduced our travel expenses and phone bills,” Terry adds. “People don’t have to get on planes just to go to a meeting, and they don’t have to pick up the phone as much. Instead, they do a Meet session.” McClatchy has offshore partners in Europe and Asia who provide technology development and business processing services. Terry adds that Meet makes meetings with those partners in other countries more meaningful, because participants can see reactions and understand each other better.
Making the move to Chromebooks
Looking ahead, many end-of-life PCs and Macs at McClatchy may one day be replaced with Chromebooks wherever possible.
“Compared to PCs and Macs, Chromebooks are less expensive, are more secure out-of-the-box, and require much less administration,” Terry says. “If someone breaks a Chromebook, they could just log into another one and keep moving. They wouldn’t lose productivity time. And I wouldn’t have to spend time imaging a new PC for them, which is one of my biggest support issues these days.” Eventually, Terry would like for 80 percent of the McClatchy workforce to use Chromebooks, with the remaining 20 percent using PCs or Macs to access specific desktop applications.
McClatchy is also in the process of moving its on-site file storage to Cloud Storage, which should give the company a big savings in infrastructure costs while making files more widely and easily accessible.
The vision is to continue creating an even more radical workforce transformation, enabled by the combination of Google Workspace and Chromebooks. “What can we do better and how can we be more productive? Google Workspace and Chromebooks will be invaluable to us as we go down this path. They will help us save money because we’re not slowed down by tools that are hard to use. Google Workspace and Chromebooks just work, so we can focus on what we need to do next.”
*Google Workspace was formerly known as G Suite prior to Oct. 6, 2020.