Cash Cow Contest

Do you have a great idea that could help The Buffalo News make some money or attract more subscribers? Then we want to hear from you! And we're offering prizes and cash — up to $1,000 or more — for ideas that really pay off.

Deadline: September 29

Find Out More


The Project Innovate team is currently gathering information on the progress of winning submissions. Those updates will be shared at upcoming [BN]Together meetings.


Matt Glynn (publishing)
Morry Materise (print circulation revenue)
Katie Meyer (digital advertising revenue)
Peter Titterington (print circulation revenue)

Laura Broady, Peter Clancy, Tracey Duffy, Mark Kahabka, Mark Key, Jan Lisinski, Julie Massari, TJ Pignataro, Leah Samol, Angela Sutter, Scott Webb and Christina Wilemski.

Oct. 12: The committee received 86 ideas from employees, a great response for the new program. The Project Innovate team carefully reviewed every submission. A total of 19 proposals were passed on to the publisher for further consideration. While many proposals were thoughtful and detailed, some ideas did not make the initial committee cut because they were either duplicative of ideas already in The News pipeline, or posed legal, manpower or major cost hurdles.


The Cash Cow Contest is a collaboration between The Buffalo Newspaper Guild and The Buffalo News, in recognition of the fact that The News needs help to stay financially healthy. This contest gives all non-management employees at The News a path to share their brilliant, money-making ideas, win recognition and prizes and maybe even save journalism!

Here's how the contest works: Submit your idea on the Cash Cow Contest form, online or on paper. Try to include as much detail as you can about how your idea would work. It doesn't have to be something related to your own department. We're looking for fresh ideas from everyone. We'll keep you posted on what's happening to your application as the best ideas go through the vetting process. The further along your application moves, the bigger and better the rewards.


Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I do this?

This contest is designed to be more than just a virtual suggestion box. We have a committee of folks determined to seriously consider all good ideas. And let's face it. With the pressures the newspaper industry is facing, we all have a vested interest in supporting The News' bottom line.

Who can participate?

All union members and all other employees at The News who are not members of management. Nothing against management. We're trying to give a voice to people who don't normally get the attention of upper-level decision makers.

What kind of prizes are we talking about?

Prizes will range from gift cards and tickets to $1,000 or more for ideas that generate new revenue for The News. Members of The Buffalo Newspaper Guild will also be eligible for separate cash awards of up to $50 per proposal. Not all the prizes will be big ones. The farther along your idea gets, the greater the prize you're in line to receive.

When will decisions be made?

Contest entries are due Sept. 29. All ideas will be carefully reviewed. Final decisions will be made by December.

What makes a good proposal?

It doesn't have to be long, but should be as complete as you can make it. The idea can be big or small, but it should be creative and feasible. Attachments are welcome. Let us know what you think it will take to make your idea work. Not sure? It's OK. If you have the germ of a great idea that could boost revenue or subscriptions, the Project Innovate Team may help you develop it.

What should I avoid in my application?

Your idea shouldn't be self-serving. So no, your own personal mini-fridge stocked with La Croix seltzers won't make the cut. In addition, while cost-cutting ideas are valuable, the primary purpose of this contest it to seek out new sources of revenue and subscriptions.

What's the review process?

The Project Innovate Team will go through the submissions and whittle them down to a smaller number of semifinalists, all of whom will receive recognition. Anyone who turns in an entry may be asked to submit more information, answer questions or even be paired with someone else who has a similar idea. Semifinalist proposals will be reviewed by people who have much better office views than ours, including Publisher Warren Colville.

How will I know what becomes of my idea?

We'll acknowledge all applications after the deadline and share information with everyone on which proposals move forward. More information will be added to the Cash Cow website, so check in periodically.

Who owns my idea?

The Buffalo News, but you'll get recognized — and rewarded. Stay tuned for more on this.

What happens when the contest is over?

The committee will keep tabs on all winning ideas that move forward and ensure communication with idea makers about their status even after the contest is over.


The deadline has passed for this round. You'll hear from us again soon!

More questions?

Contact Brennan Carey!


Project Innovate

Project Innovate is composed of enthusiastic, non-management, volunteer employees at The Buffalo News, including the newsroom, advertising and accounting departments who are working in conjunction with Human Resources to help rank-and-file employees bring good ideas to the attention of upper management. The Cash Cow Contest is the first of what we hope will be annual efforts by the Project Innovate Team to build that bridge. The Buffalo Newspaper Guild and The Buffalo News are collaborating on this first joint effort. The people on the team are likely to change over time.

Sandra Tan
Mike McAndrew
Maki Becker
Michael Coty

Dan Kirchberger
Christine Grotke
Abigail Dry
Brennan Carey