2007 Top Innovators: Ellen M. Koteff, Editor in chief, Nation's Restaurant News

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Ellen Koteff Division: Large
Title: Editor in chief, Nation's Restaurant News
Company: Lebhar-Friedman
Comment: Since the begining of 2006, Koteff has formalized a Web-first approach to news coverage.

A 15-year veteran of Lebhar-Friedman's largest title, Nation's Restaurant News, Ellen Koteff leads an editorial staff of 27 people, oversees 51 print issues that add up to 2,200 tabloid-size editorial pages a year, is involved in NRN's two major annual events and three awards programs, and has ultimate responsibility for 13 e-newsletters and a Web site with daily breaking news. With a large industry-leading brand and many seasoned staffers, Koteff might be entitled to take her foot off the accelerator, but "the creative part is what I like best," she said.

Koteff, who became editor in chief in 2004 after a 10-year stint as executive editor, works with her staff to tweak the format of the publication every year. Most recently, they added a weekly feature on consumer trends and revamped the last edit page to showcase opinions from key industry figures and NRN editors.

Since the beginning of last year, Koteff has formalized a Web-first approach to news coverage. "We have a couple of people dedicated to the Web, but the entire staff contributes," she said. "We want to rely on the expertise and contacts of our editors to break news on the Web before anyone else, consumer or trade. At the same time, we're going to continue to try to make the magazine a one-of-a-kind, must-read."

Under Koteff's leadership, NRN has been named a Neal Award finalist 10 times. It captured the top honor for best single issue of a newspaper or tabloid in 2002 and 2004.

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