Non-Member Papers Find Value at AAN

Papers Attend the Annual Confab for a "Sense of Community."

march 29, 1999  11:51 am
With its famously rigorous membership standards, AAN has often been accused of being too "clubby".

Nevertheless, for the past several years, the number of non-member papers attending the AAN convention has increased substantially.

Take, for instance Charlottesville, Virginia's non-AAN paper, C-Ville Weekly. The up-and-coming alternative sent eight staffers to last year's event in Washington. C-Ville Weekly Publisher Bill Chapman says sending employees to the AAN convention is always money well-spent.

"It's good for our employees to meet other people in the industry," he says. "There are times, down here in Virginia, when we sort of feel like an island. By going to the convention, we don't feel so isolated. It's good for us to know there are other people out there doing the same thing. It gives us a little sense of community."

Buffalo Beat, another non-member paper, will send nine people to the 22nd Annual convention in Memphis in May, including three sales people, the marketing director and three editorial personnel.

During the convention, the 50,000-circulation paper will learn whether its third bid to join the association has been approved. However, the membership issue has nothing to do with the Beat's substantial contingent in Memphis, according to Editor Natalie Green.

"Whether or not we're applying for membership, we go to learn new information. That's the biggest reason," says Green. "I went to [the] Montreal [convention] and the one in Washington. You absorb so much just by hanging out, going to the workshops and the discussion groups. In Buffalo, there are times when you can start to feel isolated. But when you go to the convention, you see where the whole alternative movement is. It's good for us because we realize the bigger picture and don't feel so much like some little local rag."

The fee for non-member papers that register before April 16 is $445 for the first registrant, and $395 for each additional registrant. The fees increase by $50 after April 16. To register for the AAN convention, please call the AAN office at 202/822-1955 or send an e-mail to Debra Silvestrin.