A growing family of newspaper owners meets on eve of merged association


The Family Owners & Next Generation Leadership Conference October 5 and 6—the first after the formal merger of Inland and the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association—promises to offer more opportunities for networking and solution session than ever before.

The strength of Family Owners conferences has always been in confronting challenges and finding solutions within the participating families themselves. With members from both Inland and SNPA now gathering together for the first time, the number and depths of ideas, strategies and success stories emerging from this conference is sure to increase, the program organizers say.

Next generation, or successor generation, owners have been particularly involved in setting an agenda for the meeting. So there will be a focus on succession planning, with case studies laying out how succession worked among families that sold their newspapers, and those that have chosen to remain in the business.

Sessions will also focus on how to keep the next generation engaged in the business—and strategies for recruiting future leaders from the family.

As in past meetings, members of the incumbent generation and successor generation will meet separately in closed-door sessions that encourage candor and support as the owners and next generation leaders share concerns, successes and expectations.

“In addition to the separate talks, there will be a session to come together to do a de-briefing of sorts on the important points of the separate discussions in an effort to find some common ground and solutions,” said Patty Slusher, Inland’s director of membership and programming.

Revenue diversification will also be a topic of discussion, with a review of case studies of the various strategies newspapers have deployed to find new revenue streams. In this particular discussion, some of those strategies will come from other industries.

This Family Owners conference begins Friday evening October 4 with a welcoming dinner at The Florentine inside the JW Marriott at 1151 West Adams Street in Chicago, the venue for the Annual Meeting that begins on Sunday, Oct. 6.

The conference will meet at the offices of Seyfarth Shaw LLP on the 80th floor of the Willis Tower in the Chicago Loop on Saturday, October 5.

Register for the Family Owners & Next Generation Leadership Conference at