Customer Story

McClatchy: Real-time collaboration to drive real-time news

McClatchy hero image

McClatchy has transformed into a digital-first media enterprise and utilizes G Suite to enable real-time collaboration among deadline-driven reporters and editors around the country.

Google Cloud Results

Reduces costs with pay-as-you-go pricing

• Cuts time writing articles for some reporters by over 65%

• 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. G Suite 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 .

“G Suite 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. “G Suite 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%. 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.

Adopting organically

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 G Suite 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, Google 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 Hangouts and Hangouts Meet.

To help McClatchy make the move to G Suite, 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 Hangouts Meet. They’re sharing their screens and documents with each other, working on the same Doc at the same time. Hangouts and Hangouts Meet has radically changed the way we do business, and how effective we are.” - Terry Geiger, Vice President, Technology Operations, McClatchy

The G Suite 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 G Suite, 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 G Suite 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%. 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, “G Suite really helps our news team work in real time. My team of 20 is constantly using Hangouts, 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 G Suite.”

Enhancing employee satisfaction

G Suite also helps new employees get up to speed much faster than the previous legacy productivity suite. “More students today use G Suite, 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.”

Enabling eDiscovery

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 G Suite, such as spam and phishing protections, have helped protect the organization from threats such as ransomware and spoofing.

Radically changing how work happens

Hangouts Meet has had perhaps the biggest impact on how McClatchy team members work, and thus helped bring about the organization’s biggest cultural change.

“G Suite 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. G Suite and Chromebooks just works, so we can focus on what we need to do next.” - Terry Geiger, Vice President, Technology Operations, McClatchy

“All day, our teams have video chats in Hangouts 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. Hangouts and Hangouts 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 Hangouts Meet hardware as well, to help facilitate video conferencing.

“Hangouts 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 Hangout.” McClatchy has offshore partners in Europe and Asia who provide technology development and business processing services. Terry adds that Hangouts 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% of the McClatchy workforce to use Chromebooks, with the remaining 20% 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 G Suite and Chromebooks. “What can we do better and how can we be more productive? G Suite 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. G Suite and Chromebooks just work, so we can focus on what we need to do next.”

Deployment Partner (G Suite authorized reseller)

SADA Systems

SADA Systems is a Google Cloud Premier Partner with proven expertise in G Suite assessment and consultation, migration and deployment, user adoption, and change management.