"This is one of the most brilliant examples of being America’s national hometown newspaper I’ve seen in digital action. It’s a campaign that offers next to nothing in terms of prizes or rewards — or, to be fair, journalism — but gets right to the heart of mid-sized town school pride. It showers attention on high school sports — something utterly neglected as local news has withered..." - PandoDaily
Shortly after taking the reins at a division of USA TODY Sports it became clear that the technology challenges that the division had been having had lead to a shortfall in ad banner deliveries for clients and the division (100% digital) needed to invent an engaging mechanism to increase pageview/ad banner views (4M additional needed in a 6 week timeframe). Utilizing innovative content/technology and user interface approaches Pat Scanlon, his HSS Managing Editor (Derek Sampson) created and then led teams of in-house content creators and outsourced technology developers to develop a repeatable contest recipe and infrastructure that went viral in 153 communities appealing to small town high schools (and their supporters). Reaching some 90M pageviews, hours of earned TV (non-Gannett) & radio, a mention in the Iowa State Governors weekly address in just 20 days after launch. Eventually leading to a Missouri State Legislature commendation as well.