Kurt Franck & John Crisp - NewsSlide/Toledo Blade

Kurt and John will be presenting an overview of the NewsSlide initiative at BCI – they will cover the genesis of the product, the reasoning behind the investment, the challenge of engaging users in the digital age with news and advertising. They will also discuss what the product is and is not, and the reasoning behind the product. Finally, they will cover some of the key take-aways on what they have learned so far as they enter the 4th month since launch and future development.


Kurt Franck was appointed executive editor of The Blade in January 2010. In April of 2017, he took on additional responsibilities of General Manager and Executive Vice-President. In January of 2018, he was appointed President/General Manager and Executive Editor. Before being promoted to Executive Editor, Franck was the newspaper’s managing editor since September 2000.

During his time at The Blade, he helped direct the papers “Coingate” coverage and the 2004 Pulitzer Prize winning series on the atrocities by Tiger Force, an elite U.S. Army platoon, during the Vietnam War.

Before joining The Blade, Franck worked for 16 years at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. His most recent job at the Sun-Sentinel was Deputy Managing Editor. He also served as a news editor and assistant city editor.

Prior to joining the Sun-Sentinel, Franck spent 6 years in a variety of assignments with United Press International, including bureaus in Columbus, Atlanta, Birmingham, and Orlando, where he covered the Kennedy Space Center. He also was UPI’s Florida editor and Miami Bureau manager.

Franck served as a juror for the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 and 2008, judging the investigative reporting category and the local news category in respective years. He is a member of the board of directors of the Associated Press Managing Editors and a member of the American Society of News Editor. Franck also is a past president of the Associated Press Society of Ohio and a board member of the Press Club of Toledo.

He is a native of Newark, Ohio, and he graduated with distinction with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bethany College in West Virginia. Franck also is a 1974 graduate for the Kiski School in Saltsburg, PA. He and his wife, Lynn, have two children, Kurt III and Sophia, both students at The University of Toledo.


John Crisp has worked in a succession of management roles for Block Communications Media Company since joining the team in 2007. John’s current role is VP of Digital, which he was appointed to in August of 2015 where he adds his experience in business development and sales revenue growth for the company’s various digital media assets.

John serves as the Executive Lead for two active Block Communications Inc. (BCI) programs that serve the cornerstone for the Newspaper Divisions. His primary role is project lead for NewsSlide where he led the implementation for both Toledo and Pittsburgh. His secondary role as CEO of Libercus (LEE BURR CUSS)- Manage and expanded the scope of Libercus, a cloud-based Content Management System that is responsible for multiple daily newspaper production and related websites.

Before joining the Blade, John worked for Gannett Newspapers as Online Director for 7 years in Lafayette, Louisiana. Prior to his work at Gannett, John worked as a project manager for an internet startup, owned at Multi-Media company and worked in computer graphics.

John is a native of Oklahoma, and lived in South Louisiana for many years where earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Behavioral Science at the University of Louisiana. Crisp is a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Cloudy Nights Astrophotography Group, and has served on the boards for several advertising associations and Family Services of NW Ohio, and has held a current Pilots Certificate for 30 years. He enjoys building and flying experimental aircraft.

He and his wife, Laurie, have two children, Ross and Meredith, who are both graduates of The Ohio State University.