Recent efforts to build a sustainable future for local news organizations serving their hometown audiences has resulted in acquisitions and mergers across the country. In 2021, the announcement of common ownership of MediaNews Group and Tribune Publishing created the second-largest news publisher in the United States.
The affiliation of these two companies rooted in award-winning journalism reaches an audience of over 60 million subscribers through 68 daily and 300+ weekly publications, including the Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, Orange County Register, Orlando Sentinel, and The Baltimore Sun.
Beyond in-print news coverage, this subscriber-focused media company offers engaging enterprise reporting as well as breaking news in real-time via publication websites, apps, newsletters, and alerts.
As the Sr. Director of IT Infrastructure at Tribune Publishing, Matthew Dobbertien has been with the news organization–and their various iterations–for over 20 years, during which time he’s seen office productivity technology come and go. “We’ve been utilizing Microsoft technology as long as I’ve been with the company,” says Dobbertien. “We moved from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Office in 2002 and have been using on-premises Exchange followed by Office 365 ever since.”
MediaNews Group has been a Google Workspace and SADA customer since the company was founded 11 years ago. When the two media entities joined forces, digital transformation became an immediate necessity.
“We knew that as part of our combined focus, we needed to be more collaborative,” says Bob Kinney, Vice President of IT Systems and Applications at MediaNews Group. “A common platform with the same email, calendar, and drive infrastructure was the logical first step to becoming more effective together. Everyone was looking forward to no longer receiving ‘You are sharing with someone outside your organization’ notices every time we shared a document or sent a calendar invite.”
An internal financial and operational evaluation was conducted, and the organization decided to go all in with Google Workspace. Providing a seamless user experience while migrating data from over 2,300 individual Tribune Publishing accounts out of Office 365 into Google Workspace required third-party expertise.
MediaNews Group and Tribune Publishing engaged SADA, a multiple-time Google Cloud Partner of the Year, to assist their very capable IT staff with digital transformation efforts and then train employees impacted by the transition.
It’s the same concept as when you move. We packed up everything in the house, but ultimately, SADA was the Google Workspace expert who helped us make the cross-country transport. SADA ensured everything got to the final destination safely and securely without any problems.
Matthew Dobbertien | Sr. Director of IT Infrastructure at Tribune Publishing
Transferring 64 TB of Office 365 data to Google Workspace
SADA provided the methodology to set up and establish a series of best practices to lift and shift to the Google Workspace environment. “It was clear that SADA has done Office-365-to-Google-Workspace migrations many times,” says Dobbertien. “SADA came in with a detailed project plan, and we followed their process and procedures to make sure that we captured all the different items.”
During the Office 365 to Google Workspace migration, SADA successfully migrated ten terabytes of mailbox data, thirty-one terabytes of Exchange Online data, sixteen terabytes of OneDrive data, and five terabytes of SharePoint data from Office 365 to Google Workspace. In all, sixty-four terabytes were moved.
Moving MediaNews Group, Tribune to one Google Workspace tenant
Initially, Tribune Publishing moved into their own tenant space on Google Workspace, with MediaNews Group continuing in a separate tenant space. This presented challenges with Single Sign-Ons and third-party applications.
SADA advised them that a domain transfer was the best choice. Working with MediaNews Group and Tribune Publishing, SADA evaluated which was the best tenant for all their users to move to. SADA determined that moving all MediaNews Group users into Tribune’s Google Workspace tenant was the best option. Next, SADA verified and coordinated the MediaNews Group move–which comprised over 300 domains, 3,400 user accounts, 5,009 groups, and 1 million files–and 40 third-party applications to the same single-tenant where Tribune resided.
The migration to the Tribune tenant was completed in under four hours with the Google Workspace Domain Transfer service, which is designed for a Google Workspace to Google Workspace migration.
MediaNews Group, Tribune mitigate productivity obstacles on the same Google Workspace tenant
As a result of working with SADA, MediaNews Group and Tribune Publishing were able to successfully unify all their users in a single Google Workspace instance within 60 days from project inception to culmination. With all users housed on the same tenant, collaboration has become easier, especially without the “outside organization” yellow message boxes continually appearing when they try to email or schedule a meeting with staffers at a sister news publication.
We set a very aggressive timeline, and SADA helped us make sure we met those dates and that we had all our well-defined prerequisites in place. SADA’s documentation, customized communications, and webinars make it clear to me that they knew the training component was a big factor in the success of the project.
David Smith | Server Manager at Tribune Publishing and Technical Lead for the Project
Improved usage & collaboration with single-tenant Google Workspace
By using a single productivity and collaboration platform and a single identity source for all accounts, MediaNews Group and Tribune Publishing have been able to enhance communication and enable access to the same shared drives for all their news organizations, improving effectiveness across the enterprise.
“Our employees really love Google Workspace tools, and I’ve seen increased usage and improvement in collaboration,” says Kinney. “They see everyone who they need inside of their communications, especially in our Advertising Operations, where there can be a very intense back-and-forth, and our Circulation departments, which need to share a lot of files among various groups.”
Overall, SADA helped MediaNews Group and Tribune Publishing:
- Migrate over 5,700 users and the corporate intranet site to Google Workspace
- Conduct 22 webinars with customized internal training materials
- Move 334 domains into a single Google Workspace tenant space
- Transfer over 1.1 million files in under four hours