Thursday, July 21

1 to 2:30 pm
Social Media Bootcamp
New York Times social media editor Liz Heron will discuss ways that news organizations and individual journalists can use social media to better engage sources and readers, creatively distribute their journalism to new audiences, and discover new story ideas. She'll also touch on how journalists are using emerging platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Google+.
Presenter: Liz Heron, The New York Times

2:30 to 5 pm
One-on-One Social Media Sessions
Social Media expert Liz Heron will conduct 30-minute sessions with attendees who sign up in advance. Sign-up info to follow.

1 to 5 pm
One-on-One SEO Sessions
SEO expert Will Scott will conduct 45-minute sessions with attendees who sign up in advance. sign-up info to follow.

2 to 3 pm
Innovation Showcase from The Media Consortium
How can collaboration lead to innovation? Over the last five years, members of The Media Consortium have worked together to produce and distribute dynamic reporting to local and national audiences. This panel will explore breakout successes and lessons learned during a variety of collaborative efforts TMC and its members have launched, from education labs on mobile development to large scale editorial collaborations around key political issues. We'll talk about what makes a collaboration successful--and explore how we can build a lasting infrastructure to support long-term collaborative efforts.
Moderator: Erin Polgreen, The Media Consortium
Panel: Jason Barnett, The UpTake; Steve Katz, Mother Jones; and Hanaa Rifaey, The American Independent News Network

2:30 to 4 pm
Covering the Census
What are the stories journalists should keep in mind as the Census numbers come in? How is this Census different from those in previous decades? Where are the best places to look for meaty stories that other media isn’t doing? Come hear from Census experts on how you can better farm the  data for top-notch stories.
Presenters: Jenna Arnold, U.S. Census Bureau - Dallas Region and Allison Plyer, Greater New Orleans Community Data Center

2:30 to 5:30 pm
Advertising Workshop: Sales Training for the 21st Century Sales Force
We'll talk about new models for audience and advertiser engagement. Adapting best practices from Disney to small independent rags, we'll discuss models, tools and staffing that will fundamentally change the way publishers grow readers and revenue over the next decade. And, we’ll answer tough questions: How do I remake my sales force? Who are the sales managers of the future? How does your new sales staff and management spend their time and resources? What sorts of bundles make sense? Does your content match what is being searched for? Is content really king? You will walk away with tactical and practical information that you can implement immediately.
Facilitator: Ryan Dohrn, Brain Swell Media

Design Workshop presented by Society of News Design
This workshop will feature three interactive sessions:
Session 1: 50 ideas you can steal (and improve on) from mainstream publications.
Session 2: General critiques: Attendees will review samples submitted prior to the convention.
Session 3: Design in the alternative universe:
The Eskimos use more than 30 words that mean "snow." Why do we have so few that mean "story"? The possibilities with storytelling approaches are endless, can register with readers in a bigger way than straight narratives, and add a lot of life to your work. All it takes is a little planning. SND Executive Director Stephen Komives shows you how to identify opportunities for alts and make them happen in your newsroom.
Facilitators: Stephen Komives, Society for News Design; Denise Reagan, Florida Times Union; and Steve Dorsey, Detroit Media Partnership

3:15 to 4:15 pm
Industry Roundtables

How to Avoid Being a Cultural Paratrooper
We all know that alternative newsweeklies struggle with increasing diversity on their staff and attracting a more diverse readership. Acknowledging that reality, how can we write about diversity issues and topics in a smart way without coming off like cultural anthropologists? In this panel, we’ll go over tips, dos and don'ts, horror stories and success stories.
Leader: Kathleen Richards, East Bay Express

Editorial/Publishing and Management
Shared Projects Brainstorm

Can we pool our resources to publish some really great national stories, customized with a local angle? Could AAN facilitate communication about and logistics of joint projects? Can we get outside funding for these projects? These are more than just editorial projects: Can we reach out to new audiences, get funding for projects, have impact on a national level with our stories, get more PR for our papers? We think the answer is yes – come throw out ideas.
Leader: Mark Zusman, Deborah Redmond

Come with ideas on trends you are seeing, or ones you wish would die and questions for colleagues on the best way to attack the constantly evolving online space.

4:30 to 5:30 pm
Publishing & Management
No Stone Unturned

This session will look at ways to find additional revenue from events and lifestyle publications to micropayments, donations and foundations.
Panel: Alan Leveritt, Arkansas Times; Jeff vonKaenel, News and Review; and Paula Routly, Seven Days

Scenes from the Social Revolution Conversation: Advancing your Social Media Plan
Learn advanced tips and tactics to build community around your existing media outlets and engage audiences in your publications. Using vivid case studies -- from the Egyptian revolution to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan -- speaker Dave Olson from Vancouver-based social media dashboard HootSuite will share practical reasons to make social media part of your communication strategy. Along the way, he'll discuss the evolution of grassroots communication culture including fanzines, telegrams and CB radios and explore the motivations behind community participation.
Speaker: Dave Olson, HootSuite

Friday, July 22
9:15 to 9:30 am
Welcome from AAN Board President Mark Zusman and Convention Chair Margo DuBos

9:30 to 10:30 am
General Session     
State of the News Media

Author and journalist Tom Rosenstiel designed the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism, which publishes the annual State of the News Media report on American journalism. This compelling presentation will address both editorial and advertising issues, with a particular focus on alt-weeklies and competitors.
Speaker: Tom Rosenstiel, Pew Research Center

10:45 to 11:45 am
Coupon Deal Trends: Friend or Foe?

Has this trend already been played in your market? Should you try to make a deal with one of the big providers like Groupon, a smaller company or develop a coupon program in-house?
Moderator: Blair Barna, Charleston City Paper
Panel: Jodi Brooks, Shoutback Concepts, LLC; Chris Rohland,; and Vin Vacanti, Yipit

Do Your Covers Pop in the Box?

IT'S NUMBERED "PAGE 1" FOR A REASON. Let's talk about sex, and return rates, and those damn (beautiful) cover-stickers everybody's been selling, and let's look at some kick-ass covers from all over our alt-weekly hemisphere that will make people reach for your paper and not that crappy fake-weekly from the competition.
Presenter: Joe MacLeod, Baltimore City Paper

Long Form Journalism is Back…

And you’ll never guess who’s reading it. Learn about new platforms for reading and showcasing long form journalism such as Atavist, Kickstarter and Instapaper.
Moderator: Anne Schindler, Folio Weekly
Panel: Aaron Lammer,; Will Mitchell, Washington City Paper; and Evan Ratliff, Atavist

Publishing & Management
Use Your Community

Practicing journalism these days means finding a different kind of two-way relevance. Who most wants and needs your content, and how can you develop systems to take it straight to those people? And how can you invite your community to share their expertise? You have the ability to know more about your audience than ever before, and to accomplish great things with their help. Taking advantage of that can lead to a stronger relationship with your community and a more solid business.
Introduction: Andy Pergam, J-Lab
Presenter: Joy Mayer, University of Missouri

12:15 to 1:15 pm
Selling for a Multi-Faceted Media Company and Monetization Strategies for Social Media

Enough with giving it away for free! What are the best strategies for selling social media, bundling and other assets like slideshows, video and audio?
Presenters: Brad Flora, NowSpots; Laura Brunow Miner, Pictory; and McKenzie Coco, FSC Interactive

WikiLeaks and What it Means for FOI

Has the leaking of secrets through WikiLeaks stunted promised transparency? What can or should we do about it? We’ll have experts talking about the latest policy developments, and show you where to get the best data.
Moderator: Tim Redmond, San Francisco Bay Guardian
Presenters: Angela Canterbury, POGO, and Presenter: Kevin Goldberg, Fletcher, Heald and Hildreth

Online/Editorial/Publishing & Management
Facebook for Journalists

Learn how to utilize Facebook for your reporting and storytelling. We'll discuss best practices and look at examples of journalists using the platform to find sources, drive traffic and for innovative storytelling.
Presenter: Vadim Lavrusik, Facebook

Tablet and Mobile Design Trends

The web has finally developed to the point where stories can move beyond simple text and images. The advent of new technologies, like CSS3, HTML5, and web fonts, as well as the ability to use more sophisticated interactions, can help not only relate stories, but actually engage readers in a narrative.
Introduction: Molly Wilmott, The Memphis Flyer
Presenter: Joey Marburger, The Washington Post

2:45 to 3:45 pm
Advertising/Publishing & Management
Crossover and Markets You Aren’t Targeting but Should, and How to Do it.
We will hear success stories and ideas on contests and events; Innovating with scale; content personalization and how it draws big numbers; content consumption—going where that happens vs. luring them to you and selling niche content unique to us.
Introduction: Jeff Lawrence, Boston's Weekly Dig
Presenters: Rob King,

Publishing & Management
Legal Panel

We'll discuss eight current legal controversies, what they mean for Alt-weeklies coverage and communities and actions you should be considering in response.
Introduction: Lori Waran, Style Weekly
Presenter: Presenter: Kevin Goldberg, Fletcher, Heald and Hildreth

Editorial/Publishing & Management/Online
How Smaller Gets Bigger

There's much to be learned from recent experimentation in Philadelphia. By collaborating on enterprise reporting projects through a J-Lab award, more than a dozen news organizations, indie startups and alternative press had greater impact working on stories together than they might have had on their own. Traditional competitive barriers are starting to crumble and residents are better off because of the reporting, which was all achieved for a relatively small amount of money. One of the participants, Technically Philly, is also leading the way as a new type of news organization. The three founders have mastered the art of covering a niche community, throwing large-scale events (like the first-ever Philly Tech Week) and providing consulting services to clients. This powerhouse panel will explore mutually beneficial partnerships and how you can begin to diversify your organization's distribution platforms.
Panel: Andy Pergam, J-Lab; Sean Blanda, Technically Philly; and Theresa Everline, Philadelphia City Paper


What innovators learned from their mistakes and their suggestions for inexpensive things you can be trying online. In this session, we will be "learning from the spaghetti that didn't stick." We'll extract practical lessons from the misadventures of creative innovators to understand how they've turned online failures into successes.
Presenter: Ellyn Angelotti, The Poynter Institute


Typography is the voice of your publication. How are you speaking to your readers? Find out how you can reinforce your publication's brand and find new ways to break out of the norm without always resorting to novelty typefaces.
Presenter: Denise Reagan, The Florida Times-Union

4 to 5 pm

Hail Mary

More and more, we are asked to cover religious issues. How can we do so in a fair, non-derogatory way, without losing our voice?
Presenters: Dana Felty Bynum, Savannah Morning News; and Bruce Nolan, The Times-Picayune

SEO and SMO on a Shoestring Budget

Boo! Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Optimization continue to haunt you. These are basic audience building blocks that every paper must have. But it doesn't have to be a huge time or budget suck. Experts will walk you through the latest easy ways to get results - on the cheap and without any blackhat voodoo.
Presenters: Jessica Rohloff, Yelp and Will Scott, Search Influence

Publishing & Management/Online
Staffing Trends

How do you make it work with a small staff while keeping morale high? What sort of trends are we seeing in our own papers and how does that compare with the rest of the media industry?
Presenters: Ellyn Angelotti, The Poynter Institute and Ernest Sotomayer, Columbia University

Advertising/Design Roundtables

Come discuss what we didn’t cover at the convention, and what you’d like to see AAN tackle in the future, whether as a member service, a webinar or a separate bootcamp for sales and advertising.
Leader: Blair Barna

It takes more than just print ads to promote businesses and events. Today’s advertisers are also using web ads, social media, and a mix of print pieces to get their messages to customers. Is your design/production department providing design and printing services to your paper’s advertising clients? Are you creating business cards, tri-fold brochures, even designing promotional guides to be inserted in your weekly paper? Leader: Matt Walsh and Max Seifert.

Saturday, July 23

9:30 to 10:30 am
Advertising/Publishing & Management
Top 2011 Advertising Trends
We’ll look at the Gawker model, Self Service, Geo targeting, beyond standard sizes, neighborhood pages, display ad trends and others.
Presenter: Angela Harris, Howard University

Publishing & Management
Financial Standards
(end time 10:45 am)
Fran Zankowski will moderate discussion of this year's annual benchmarking survey. (Closed session, open only to AAN members who participated in the annual survey.)
Moderator: Fran Zankowski, Colorado Springs Independent

Editorial Standards
(end time 10:45 am)
Newsroom staffing levels, freelance pay rates, page counts—this session is about the nitty gritty. In advance of this second-annual editors-only session, AAN editors will have had the opportunity to fill out a survey that addresses various benchmarks, as well as queries about how they deploy their resources. The survey will ultimately be collated and available in the AAN resource library as an editorial standards document. The session will consist of a lively free-wheeling discussion about how editors are using their budgets and staffs with the goal of generating new ideas and inspiration.
Moderator: Jimmy Boegle, Tucson Weekly

YOU are the Art Director You've Been Waiting For!

Are you nervous you're not good enough? Wake up at night pondering that next cover? Sweating about the one that just went to press? Calm down and get better. We'll mine the masters of alternative design for inspiration. Using case studies from alternative publications attending the convention, we'll explore design and art direction with an eye on tips that you can apply now -- or at least next week.
Introduction: Ellen Meany, Isthmus
Presenter: Matt Mansfield, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University

Publishing & Management/Editorial/Online
Niche or Not.

In 2011, newspapers are actively competing with local blogs and niche publications, often focused on narrow topics. At the same time, branding for newspapers has become trickier as distribution has moved onto Twitter and Facebook. Building branded "verticals" to address niche markets can help newspapers compete with local blogs, but it compounds the branding problem. We'll look at different ways of dealing with the challenge of branding blogs, writers, web applications, events, and other niches under your umbrella.
Moderator: Will Mitchell, Washington City Paper
Panel: David Beard, National Journal and Atlantic Media Group; Michelle Nicolosi, Seattle PI

11 am to noon        
General Session 
Independent and Fearless Journalism Needed: What Alt-weeklies Deliver

ABC News Senior White House Correspondent and former Washington City Paper writer Jake Tapper returns to his roots to keynote this year’s convention. Tapper was a senior writer at Washington City Paper from 1998 to 1999, where he served under then-editor David Carr and won an award from the Society of Professional Journalists -- his first journalism award. Since then he has worked as a Washington correspondent for and authored two books -- "Down and Dirty: The Plot to Steal the Presidency" and "Body Slam: The Jesse Ventura Story." The White House Correspondents Association has twice awarded Tapper with the Merriman Smith Award for excellence in presidential coverage under deadline pressure.
Introduction: Amy Austin, Washington City Paper
Speaker: Jake Tapper, ABC News

1:30 to 2:30 pm
The Skinny on Mobile

Mobile is here to stay and growing. What are the best sales strategies for a mobile audience? What is the real ROI? What pricing structures make the most sense?
Moderator: Bill Jensen, Village Voice Media Holdings
Panel: Mario Garcia Jr., Garcia Media and Paul Wagner, Forkfly

Publishing & Management
Lessons from a CFO

We’ll have a panel of CFOs from news organizations large and small discuss how to trim your budget and spend wiser.
Moderator: TBA
Panel: Sally Freeman, Boise Weekly; Tammy Bailey, CL, Inc.; and Steve Katz, Mother Jones

Why Are Your Readers So White?

Are you writing stories that appeal to a broad, multi-cultural audience? Are you really? We’ll have a panel of minority readers and journalists talking about what they read and why.
Moderator: Jimmy Boegle, Tucson Weekly
Panel: Robert Hernandez, USC: Richard Prince, Maynard Institute; Doris Truong, AAJA President

Redesign Success Stories

Staff from Chicago Reader, Gambit mobile, Willamette Week and others will talk about choices made and challenges faced in their latest redesign efforts.
Moderator: Joshua Errett, NOW Magazine
Panel: Alison Draper, Chicago Reader; Kendra Clune, Willamette Week; Jeanne Exnicios Foster, Gambit

2:45 to 3:45 pm

Advertising/Editorial/Publishing & Management
Kinght Innovations
Join Knight Foundation's Jose Zamora and Knight News Challenge winners as they demonstrate the editorial innovations designed to bring news and information to communities in new ways. These tools are free, open and available for your use.
Moderator: Jose Zamora, Knight Foundation
Panel: Aron Pilhofer, Document Cloud; Dave Cohn, Jeff Reifman, NewsCloud; and David Kovia, Ushahidi

Web Design's Great Stagnation

The Internet's news and information corner is suffering from a sickness of sameness. This session takes a look at the symptoms and antidotes, of product and process, to get out of this rut.
Panel: Tyson Evans, The New York Times and Dave Wright, National Public Radio

3 to 5 pm
Annual Meeting




Hosted by Gambit


Register for AAN Convention 2011 starting April 8

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