february 26-28, 2018

Exploring news at Mega-Conference, from the “fake” to the hyperlocal and beyond


Hundreds of industry leaders are flocking to the Key Executives Mega-Conference in San Diego February 26 through 28 for three reasons: To learn how to better generate revenue, generate revenue and generate revenue.

Yet, they will undoubtedly also stay for sessions that revolve around an equally vital component of media business—the news.

David Chavern, the president and CEO of first-time Mega-Conference partner News Media Alliance, leads a session on a topic that has galvanized national attention: “fake news.” This session will look at what happens when fake news intersects with the truth—and how publishers have reacted when their newspapers’ real reporting is tarred as fake.

“There have been a number of unfortunate instances where communities have been torn apart by bad facts, and the local newspaper was called upon to react and pick up the pieces. In many other cases, publishers are barraged by accusations that their journalism is fake,” Chavern told megaconference.com.

One example was lived by Chavern’s co-presenter at the session on fake news, Travis Quast, publisher of the Twin Falls (Idaho) Times-News. In this case, the newspaper had to deal with reports from national news outlets such as the Drudge Report and Breitbart News that turned a report of a sex crime by a couple of juveniles into a narrative about Islamist terrorism in the heartland of America.

News—hyperlocal neighborhood news—will be the focus of a session on Nextdoor, a social network that newspapers can leverage to deepen their ties to their communities.

Presenting the session will be Nextdoor’s vice president of communications and policy, Steve Wymer, and Matthew Hall, editorial and opinion director for The San Diego Union-Tribune, which is partnering with Nextdoor.

For the U-T, Nextdoor offers an opportunity to get hyperlocal news generated by residents of neighborhoods, to amass data from the neighborhood and grow engagement between residents and the paper.

Nextdoor is a way to reach out to U-T’s audience, Wymer told megaconference.com: “Long gone are the days when journalists can simply rely on readers, listeners and viewers to come to us. We need to meet consumers on the platforms they use, find them in the places they frequent. The U-T’s partnership with Nextdoor is a way to do that, well.”

Local, local, local will also be the theme of a presentation from the Solutions Stage by TownNews.com, which will present success stories from publishers who are generating revenue with digital local guidebooks.