Please note: Programming and schedule subject to change.
Thursday, June 25
3 pm to 4 pm
Ad Directors' Roundtables
What are your biggest challenges? What do you hope to get out of the convention? Ad directors and sales managers will discuss these issues and others in small groups organized by market size.
What are you hoping to get out of this AAN Convention? Specific solutions to sticky problems? Affirmation from fellow editors? One big desert drunk? At this kick-off session, Jimmy Boegle and Max Cannon will make introductions, lead a discussion of common concerns -- and maybe even pour a few shots of tequila.
Publishers will meet in small, informal groups to discuss what is happening at their papers and to share ideas about how to cut costs and seize opportunities in these recessionary times.
4:15 pm to 6 pm
How Do You Build a Practical Website and Still Be Cool?
Rob Curley thinks newspapers should quit building crappy websites. In this keynote presentation he'll talk about things you can do to move the needle in terms of traffic, buzz and revenue. He'll also offer practical solutions to building high-end databases as well as producing online videos that people will actually watch.
Speaker: Rob Curley, Greenspun Interactive
Friday, June 26
9:30 am to 10:30 am
Developing and Promoting Leadership from Within
When AAN issued a page-count report in April, some members were surprised to learn that Seven Days in tiny Burlington, Vt. (pop: 40,000) was one of the ten largest papers in the association. But it wasn't a surprise to those who have been watching Seven Days outperform its competitors for years now. There are many reasons for the paper's success, but chief among them is a happy, productive and creative workforce. Publisher/co-editor Paula Routly and her colleagues will tell us how they do it, and what it has meant for the paper.
Speaker: Paula Routly, Seven Days
Little Time, Little Money, Big Investigations
In this session, Rick Rodriguez aims to help time- and cash-strapped editors supervise local investigative stories written by staff members as well as freelancers.
Speaker: Rick Rodriguez, Arizona State University
Optimizing Google AdManager and AdSense
Many AAN papers are already using AdManager and AdSense, and others are considering making the switch. In this session, representatives from Google will demonstrate how to maximize the utility of both products to increase revenue, reduce costs and minimize administrative headaches.
Speaker: Mark Wolly, Google
10:45 am to 11:45 am
Big Impact, Few Resources: Local News on the Web
Leading non-profit news website Chi-Town Daily News is producing compelling, locally focused multimedia journalism on a small budget. Geoff Dougherty says they've been able to do it with a little innovation and tech savvy and by collaborating with other news organizations. In this session, Dougherty will share insights about news coverage online and how AAN papers can ramp up their own web-publishing efforts.
Speaker: Geoff Dougherty, Daily News
Do Alt-Weeklies Need to Rethink Their Advertising Strategy?
The old way of doing business was fine when the market was flush, but in today's leaner times, newspapers need to be smarter about how, when and to whom they sell advertising space. Jerry Kackley says that newspapers can do this by understanding the role that "momentum" plays in advertising sales, and by reorganizing their sales effort to promote positive momentum and overcome negative momentum.
Speaker: Jerry Kackley, K Group
12 pm to 1 pm
Financial consultant Seija Goldstein will present the results of the annual benchmarking survey. (Closed session, open only to AAN members who participated in the annual survey.)
Speaker: Seija Goldstein, Seija Goldstein Associates
Us & Them: Social Media and User-Generated Content
What are the most effective ways to use social networking and emerging technologies to communicate with and generate content from readers for both online and print content? This panel will discuss effective and innovative uses for sites such as Facebook, Digg, Flickr and Twitter. At the same time, it will examine best practices for reader comments, live blogging through software such as coveritlive, and tackle the pros and cons of using sites such as ning to custom-create social networks for readers. Attendees are encouraged to bring questions and their own examples of successes -- and failures -- at using technology to connect with readers.
Moderator: Julia Goldberg, The Santa Fe Reporter
What's Up With Web Advertising?
What is a realistic CPM? Which advertisers are interested in the alt-weekly audience and how do we reach them? What types of online video are advertisers interested in? If you've had questions about how to market your site to national advertisers, Centro's Katie Risch is ready with the answers. Following her popular session last year in Philadelphia, Katie returns to share her insights on a variety of issues submitted prior to the convention by AAN publishers and ad directors.
Speaker: Katie Risch, Centro
3 pm to 5:15 pm
Working for Change: Joining Forces with the Local Indie Business Community
A large and growing national movement argues that small, locally owned, independent businesses are the best hope for a sustainable economy -- and that a sustainable economy is the best hope for a fair, just and environmentally sound future. Working with that organized movement -- and your own local small businesses -- is good for your community, good for your editorial agenda and good for the bottom line. In this session we'll hear from representatives of the movement as well as AAN members who will share ideas about how you can make such a collaboration work in your market.
Moderator: Tim Redmond, San Francisco Bay Guardian
3 pm to 4 pm
How I Got That Story
John Dickerson of the Phoenix New Times has won several national and local journalism awards for "Prescription for Disaster," a three-part series on medical standards and regulation in Arizona that disclosed the failure of the state and medical institutions to keep unqualified, drug addicted or criminally negligent physicians from practicing medicine. In this session Dickerson and the series' editor, Amy Silverman, will walk us through the reporting process.
Moderator: Anne Schindler, Folio Weekly
Strategies for Surviving in a Digital Age
It's a digital age, and the rules of the game for alt-weeklies are changing almost daily. Blogs, content aggregation, social networking, Twitter, online calendars, new forms of advertising -- all of these are critical to survival. New-media consultant and entrepreneur Mark Potts, the Recovering Journalist, talks about how you can take advantage of these innovations to enhance your print and online products for changing audience and advertiser needs.
Speaker: Mark Potts, Recovering Journalist
4:15 pm to 5:15 pm
Mobile as Recession-Buster
This will NOT be another session about the huge potential of mobile advertising. Instead, Jeff Ostiguy will share ideas about practical ways that any AAN paper can add incremental revenue by creating practical, cost-effective mobile solutions that are easy to implement and that generate positive results for advertisers.
Speaker: Jeff Ostiguy, g8wave
The Authentic Journalism Renaissance: South and North of the Border
Al Giordano will share his observations on how independent journalism is thriving on the Internet and in other parts of the hemisphere even as the daily newspaper industry fades to black. He believes that alternative newsweeklies can continue to play an important role in society and survive while many dailies do not, and he will offer some counsel on how they can make that happen.
Speaker: Al Giordano, Narco News
Saturday, June 27
9:30 am to 10:30 am
All the News That's Fit to Link: The Value and Practice of Link Journalism
Newsrooms are expanding their core editorial mission of original reporting to include helping readers find the most important, relevant, and interesting news and information on the Web -- even if they didn't report it themselves. In contrast to news aggregation done by algorithms, journalists are using their editorial judgment to curate the Web and help readers find great content. This new practice of "link journalism" is becoming an integral part of online journalism. Scott Karp of Publish2 will demonstrate how link journalism increases traffic and engagement, and may lead to new commercial opportunities.
Speaker: Scott Karp, Publish2
B2B Tools & Strategies: Current Trends to Deepen Relationships, Market to New Prospects and Secure Business
Challenging times require a new approach to communicating with, and selling to, clients that goes beyond an on-the-streets-and-phone sales effort. Carol Flagg will present an overview of current cost-effective B2B sales and marketing tools that papers can adopt today to deepen relationships, reach new prospects and sell more efficiently. If you're looking for new ideas that go beyond your current selling and marketing efforts, this session offers a variety of strategies and solutions.
Speaker: Carol Flagg
Generating Non-Advertising Revenue
As the traditional alt-weekly business model withers away, AAN publishers are becoming increasingly aggressive about finding new revenue streams. This panel will feature several publishers who have had success in leveraging their assets and business processes to create events or offer services that generate additional revenue.
Moderator: Louis Fortis, Shepherd Express
10:45 am to 11:45 am
After the Fall: Dealing With the New Realities
First edit budgets were cut. Then last fall, pages started disappearing. How has your paper coped with the changes, and what have you learned about what works in print, what works on the web -- and what doesn't work at all?
Moderator: Patricia Calhoun, Westword
Making Green with Green: Leveraging Leadership on the Environment
Most AAN papers championed energy conservation and sustainable living before it was cool. Now that these ideas have reached critical mass, some papers are connecting with the green movement to increase ad sales, create new publications and events, and reinforce their role as environmental leaders in their community. This panel will showcase several papers that have turned their leadership on the environment into revenue-producing programs.
Moderator: Andy Sutcliffe, Sutcliffe Associates
Where is the Money for Alt-Weeklies on the Internet?
OK, so it's pretty clear that your paper is never going to generate the traffic of a DailyKos or HuffPost -- which means the $0.63 you're getting per thousand ad impressions is never going to be a foundation on which to build your paper's future profits. In this session, Todd Stauffer reports on some of the online products, services and technologies that alt-weeklies must focus on to build a profitable business around the communities they serve ...while, hopefully, generating much higher CPMs!
Speaker: Todd Stauffer, Jackson Free Press
12 pm to 1 pm
60 Sales Ideas in 60 Minutes
A town-hall meeting for sharing successful sales ideas. Everyone should come with a single idea that can be parsed in a minute or less. Fabulous prizes will be awarded for the best ideas.
Moderator: Blair Barna, Charleston City Paper
A Thousand Flowers Blooming: New Online Products and Services
By now we all know that dumping content online and selling banner ads isn't going to sustain a business. To survive on the Web, papers will need to look for new ways to build on their core print product to engage readers and create community. In this session, Neil Budde will share recent examples of online products and services that have driven traffic and created new sources of income for publishers.
Speaker: Neil Budde, DailyMe.com
3 pm to 4 pm
The Power of Positive Selling
Don't be glum. Sales success depends on your staff's motivation and the amount of energy they put into each client relationship. Laura Dell will discuss how to develop strong business partnerships in this economy, and she'll have specific ideas to lift your employees' energy levels in spite of the tough times we face.
Speaker: Laura Dell
4:15 pm to 5:15 pm
50 Miles From Here: Lessons on the Border to Take Home With You
Southern Arizona is ground zero in the battle/debate over immigration and border issues. As politicians haggle and grandstand, hundreds of thousands of people are caught trying to illegally cross the border each year -- and hundreds die trying, becoming victims of the harsh desert heat. While these arrests and deaths are big news in Tucson, they often go unreported in other parts of the United States -- even though the country's failed immigration policies affect us all. In this panel, we'll discuss the ways that border and immigration issues directly touch your communities.
Moderator: Jimmy Boegle, Tucson Weekly