Mega-Conference Program Schedule

February 26-28 in San Diego


Monday, Feb. 26


Grow Your Customer Engagement to Annual Commitments
Best practices for selling unique solutions for engaging readers, connecting them to customers and managing a consultative sales team in the real world
Mike Centorani, co-founder, Sales Transformation Now; Liz Crider Huff, director of affiliate success, Second Street; Julie Foley, director of affiliate success, Second Street

11 am - 7 p.m. - TRADE SHOW OPEN


Afternoon (starting at 1 p.m.) WELCOME / OPENING SESSION

Welcome from the association leaders. Welcome to San Diego
Jeff Light, publisher and editor-in-chief, San Diego Union-Tribune

Opening Keynote Address
Ross Levinsohn, publisher and chief executive, Los Angeles Times

Real Tools for Combatting Fake News
Hear how publishers have reacted to instances of “fake news” in their communities, as well as the accusation that their real news is fake. Go home with tools for coping in the future.
Moderator: David Chavern, president and CEO, News Media Alliance
Panelists: Travis Quast, publisher, Twin Falls Times-News; Tom Rosenstiel, executive director, American Press Institute

R&D BREAK An opportunity to visit our sponsors and exhibitors!


Track One: Building Value in Our Core Brands Now
Best practices in vertical, programmatic, audience and revenue growth, plus user experiences.

Track Two: Transformation – Creating New Opportunities from Disruption
Optimizing your use of data, third-party platforms and tools, CRM and more.

Track Three: Diversification and Entrepreneurship
New revenue streams in print, digital, events, e-commerce ... and more.

Track Four: Case Studies on the Solutions Stage from our Technology Partners
The latest developments in revenue generation, audience development and engagement, and data intelligence from our industry's R&D partners

Track 1 Branded Content
This marketing tactic has grown from practically nothing to a $10B business opportunity in just a few short years. See how local media can and has been leveraging this solution.
Pat Connolly, managing director/digital transformation, Accentur; Robin Gruen, vice president, branded content, Studio 1847 (tronc)

Track 2 Personalization and UX Strategies
Speaker to be announced

Track 3 Creating New Revenue Streams – Data-Driven Events
Stephen Wade, president, The Augusta Chronicle; Scott Pompe, vice president advertising, Austin American-Statesman

Track 4 Solutions Stage: Product Development and Outsourcing
Moderator:Bob LeBoeuf, president and founder, Exsolate

Alexa,OTT and Mobile Apps: Distribute and Monetize on All Digital Platforms
Consumption habits are changing. See how you can distribute and monetize your content on these platforms and more: Amazon, Echo, Alexa, Roku TV, Apple TV, Fire TV and mobile apps.
Nikhil Modi, CEO, Whiz Technologies

Subcontracting Page, Ad and Web Production
Learn how subcontracting this aspect of newspaper production works, the upside and the pitfalls, and how you can evaluate if this is a solution for your newspaper.
Howard Barbanel, vice president and director of marketing, Design2Pro

Growing Revenue for Newspapers through Consumer Sports Magazines
Looking for a unique solution to a circulation dilemma at your newspaper, or wanting to connect better with your readers? How about just make a little extra cash?
Kevin Craig, senior vice president/newspaper relations, AMG|Parade


Journalism of the Future

Gabriel Kahn, from USC’s j-school with several of his top students presenting their work on the future of journalism
Moderator: Gabriel Kahn, professor of journalism, USC Annenberg School of Journalism
Panelists: Three students: Samantha Bergum, Gabriela Fernandez and James Tyner

5:30 - 7 p.m. - WELCOME RECEPTION

Sponsored by Adcellerant, Cribb, Greene & Cope, Southern Lithoplate, Tru measure; Wine tasting sponsored by Relevnt; Craft Beer tasting sponsored by Monster.

Evening Dinner on Your Own

Tuesday, Feb. 27


7 a.m. - 5 p.m. - TRADE SHOW OPEN

Morning (starting at 8 a.m.) - GENERAL SESSION

Investing in Newspapers in 2018
Our panel of top industry leaders, innovators and investors will share the strategy they are taking with their investments, their priorities and their concerns for 2018.
Moderator: Penny Muse Abernathy, Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Panelists: Mark Adams, CEO, Adams Publishing Group; Jeremy Halbreich, chairman and CEO, AIM Media Management; James M. Moroney, III, chairman, president and CEO, A. H. Belo Corporation, and publisher and CEO, The Dallas Morning News

Break to change rooms


Track 1 Driving Reader Relationships and Revenue
Speaker to be announced

Track 2 Big Data – What Drives Performance for Advertisers Across Platforms
Gannett’s USA TODAY NETWORK has been digitally transforming alongside its advertising clients. Gain insights on the use of first-party data, enhancing creative elements, innovations in ad units and other best practices for leveraging big data to drive performance revenue.
Jeff Burkett, vice president of ad innovations, Gannett Co. Inc.; Justin Beam, director/performance revenue solution, Gannett Co. Inc.

Track 3 Diversifying Revenue with Digital Outdoor
Revolutionizing the newspaper industry! The Digital Billboard Network is a new media video platform that plugs directly into your existing infrastructure and will increase revenue quickly for your newspaper. You will become an out-of-home/in-store broadcaster positioning you to acquire new revenue and grow your audience.
Dave Kennedy, chief revenue officer, Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Track 4 Solutions Stage: Sales Solutions - Retail
Moderator: Bob LeBoeuf, president and founder, Exsolate

  • What’s the Opportunity for Audience?
    Local media companies are using their audience, content and brand to open a huge new market through local ticketing. Find out how ticketing can generate new money, drive email growth and diversity your brand and company.
    Deborah Fellows, president and founder, GeoTix
  • Yes, You Can (and must) Make Money From Social Media Accounts
    Your newspaper needs to take back some of the 60 percent of digital ad market share that Facebook and Google now dominate. Hear about a new way to sell that decreases time spent by your staff and provides customers with the ease of Facebook and Google ads.
    Reinig Morris, co-founder, Friends2Follow
  • Digital Transformation
    Navigating the digital revolution can feel like sailing through uncharted – and sometimes stormy – waters. Learn how you can support a much broader spectrum of marketing channels for your customers.
    Laura Cole, vice president/marketing, Vivial

R&D BREAK An opportunity to visit our sponsors and exhibitors!


Track 1 Defining Your Subscription Strategy
With subscription revenues becoming a greater piece of the revenue portfolio, and with many companies transitioning to a consumer revenue-driven business model, this is a can’t miss session. Panelists will offer proven subscription revenue growth strategies and case studies from their respective organizations.
Moderator: Aaron Kotarek, vice president/circulation, Oahu Publications
Panelists: Brian Howell, director of consumer revenue optimization, tronc; Curtis Huber, director of circulation sales and marketing, The Seattle Times; Gayle Pryor, vice president of audience growth, BH Media Group

Track 2 Bringing Audio to Life
Jeremy Mims, strategy and partnerships, SpokenLayer; An additional speaker also will be announced soon

Track 3 Finding Your Niche
In a world where a “Jack of all trades, master of nothing” is disrupted and meaningless, learn how companies like Cox and Advance are finding tremendous success building large niche followings with focused content and perspective, with non-traditional business models.
Amy Glennon, publisher, Cox Media Group’s Vertical Businesses; Caywood Yamnik, director of sales, video, Alabama Media Group

Track 4 Solutions Stage: Ad Technology
Moderator:Bob LeBoeuf, president and founder, Exsolate

  • How Much Revenue are You Losing Due to Ad Fraud?
    In addition to some case studies, hear about highlights from a recent study on the top 2,000 ranked Alexa news sites, the percent of sites that had vulnerabilities to ad fraud, types of fraud and tips for preventing fraud
    Casey Hester, vice president, customer success, Dev/Con Detect
  • Leverage Audiences to Drive Revenue Diversification
    The ability to leverage data enables marketers to deliver relevant communications that build the value of customer relationships. In the case of the Star Tribune Vacation & Travel Experience in Minneapolis, this ability drove success in the development and execution of events, a crucial source of revenue diversification.
    Tom Ratkovich, managing partner, LEAP Media Solutions
  • Leveraging Cross-Device Opportunities
    The Specifix database offered by Data-Dynamix was leveraged after Hurricane Irma to reach homeowners in three Florida counties who needed assistance with insurance claims. Learn how this database can help your newspaper bring together local businesses and highly-sourced, accurate information on individuals – graphed against their individual device ID, IP address, physical address and opted in email information.
    Presented by Data-Dynamix (speaker to be announced)

Break to change rooms


Audience Engagement, Ad Quality and Subscription Offers
The Local Media Consortium is leveraging data across its member sites to benchmark best practices for audience engagement, ad quality and subscription offers. It’s also leading a strategic plan to collect more than 150 million email addresses – and data for targeting – to enrich CPMs across 15 billion ad impressions. Hear about LMC’s progress and gain ideas you can implement now.
Rusty Coats, CEO, Local Media Consortium

Kroger’s Millions in Local Ad Spend are on the Line
The vice president of data strategy for the analytics arm of Kroger, called 84.51°, will outline how newspapers and consumer packaged goods companies should use personalization to create new, productive business relationships that go beyond current advertising and inserts.
Michael Wilhite, vice president of data strategy, 84.51°

12:15 pm - LUNCH
Sponsored by Alliance for Audited Media

Afternoon (starting at 1:30 p.m.)


Track 1 Programmatic Best Practices
This session will feature a panel discussion that touches on yield management best practices and considerations that publishers need to take into account as the programmatic ecosystem continues to evolve. Our presenters represent some of the earliest adopting and most programmatically savvy local media organizations.
Panelists: Tobias Bennett, programmatic and exchange champion, The Local Media Consortium; Raymond Faust, vice president sales, emerging media, Star Tribune Media Company; Nick Ames, director of client success, McClatchy Company

Track 2 Third-Party Platforms: AMP, Instant Articles and Apple News
Speaker to be announced

Track 3 Topic to be Announced
Speaker to be announced

Track 4 Solutions Stage: Sales Solutions – Verticals
Moderator: Bob LeBoeuf, president and founder, Exsolate

  • Auto Promotions and Events – A Case Study
    Looking for a fresh new revenue stream in autos? Get valuable data from a Seattle Times case study and start hosting virtual events.
    Kevin Collins, director of sales and marketing, WeHaa; Cesar Montes, president, WeHaa
  • Empowering Media Companies to Take Their Brands and Markets Back
    Hear how top media companies are reclaiming ownership of their local recruitment advertising markets and – in the process – growing digital revenue and delivering results for the employer. A case study will be presented.
    Roberto Angulo, CEO, Recruitology; Sandy Glover, digital revenue manager, McClatchy
  • Taking Back Local Advertising with Targeted Local Niche Guides
    Local Niche Guides can help your newspaper combat an ever-shifting digital landscape and get you back on solid ground. Configurable solutions that deliver compelling solutions!
    Phil Pracht, product manager,

Break to change rooms


Track 1 Magazines, Preprints and Other Non-ROP Print Opportunities
Speaker to be announced

Track 2 NexGen Business Models: Finding Success
Hear how the entrepreneurs of media today are answering the challenge of making money in today’s media landscape, and dive into the evolving trends reshaping digital media.
Jim Brady, founder and CEO, Spirited Media; Sara Fischer, media reporter, Axios; Evan Smith, CEO, The Texas Tribune

Track 3 Agency Best Practices
Conan Gallaty, president/digital, WEHCO Digital Media

Track 4 Solutions Stage: Audience Engagement
Moderator: Bob LeBoeuf, president and founder, Exsolate

  • Why Website Design and Flexibility Matter
    Design matters and good user interfaces are critical to a newspaper’s success. Learn what will bring you consistently dramatic increases in traffic.
    Bill Ostendorf, president and founder, Creative Circle Media Solutions
  • Additional Solutions Stage sessions to be announced

R&D BREAK An opportunity to visit our sponsors and exhibitors!


Facebook Meets the Press
Learn more about ways Facebook is investing its resources into improving its platform and partnerships with news media.
Alex Hardiman, head of news products, Facebook

Excellence in Innovation
Learn from the ‘Best of the Best’ as our Innovation Award finalists present their entries, followed by the announcement of the winner of the 2018 Mega Innovation Award.

Evening Dinner on Your Own

Wednesday, Feb. 28


7 - 11:30 a.m. - TRADE SHOW OPEN

Morning (starting at 8 a.m.) BREAK-OUT SESSIONS (3 options)

Track 1 Vertical Best Practices
Speakers to be announced

Track 2 Refocus on Retention for Real Revenue Upside
Speaker to be announced

Track 3 Planning for Life Without Preprints
Speaker to be announced

Break to change rooms


How Nextdoor is Connecting Newspapers with Specific Neighborhoods
News organizations of all sizes are committed to growing their trusted relationship with readers. Hear how Nextdoor, the world’s leading social network for neighbors, connects newspapers to specific neighborhoods and communities in an unprecedented fashion.
Steve Wymer, vice president of communications and policy, Nextdoor; Matthew Hall, editorial and opinion director, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Trusted Brands Primer
Speaker to be announced

Branding Workshop
Marketing guru Andy Cunningham will show you a new framework for positioning that will help answer the two most difficult questions our industry faces in the digital age. Who are you? And why do you matter? Repositioning an old industry for a new relevance is possible. Come and learn how.
Andy Cunningham, CEO, Cunningham Collective

Noon - Adjourn