10 Things to Watch for at the 2015 AAN Convention

july 16, 2015  07:00 am
As AAN gathers in Utah for its 2015 Annual Convention hosted by Salt Lake City Weekly, here are some things you won't want to miss during the organization's largest gathering of the year:

  1. Remembering the 80s: You may remember Mark Goodman from his days as one of MTV's original VJs, but these days Goodman broadcasts 7 days a week on Sirius Radio and heads the editorial team at American Weekend Entertainment. Goodman will give a Friday morning keynote on how the digital revolution has changed music and journalism, and will host an open town hall discussion on the state of music.

  2. Local movers and shakers: Former two-term Salt Lake City mayor and 2012 U.S. Presidential candidate Rocky Anderson will give a Thursday encore talk about the importance of independent, truth-telling media. And on Friday, meet the players behind Utah's anti-discrimination and religious freedom act.

  3. YOU are the ones you've been waiting for: Some of the best lessons come from your peers. That's why we have lots of interactive sessions for you to spend QT with, and learn from, each other. Get ideas for revamping your one-sheets and marketing materials during MediaKitPalooza, share and steal story ideas during the always-popular 50 Story Ideas in 50 Minutes, or sit back and enjoy The Cover Show, where we'll provide beer and popcorn (yes, we're serious) and talk cover design while showing off some of the covers you sent in.

  4. Free Speech Lunch: On Friday, Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Civil Liberties Director David Greene will give his take on the current state of digital surveillance, during the Free Speech Lunch. What protection do you have to ensure your government is not intruding on your personal freedom or your freedom as a member of the press? How big is your digital footprint when you’re on your phone, or online? You won’t be eating alone — somebody will be watching you!

  5. Welcome party: On Thursday night, all roads lead to Sky Lounge, located in the center of Salt Lake's Nightlife scene and a one stop TRAX ride from the hotel. Mingle under Sky's retractable roof with an open air concept while enjoying tunes from City Weekly’s Best of Utah DJ. We'll be serving up local beer and cocktails and munching on homespun Utah favorites including Greek pastrami burgers, Mormon funeral potatoes, green jello shooters (non-virgin) and don’t forget to try Utah's number one food export -- fry sauce. Close out the night at the nationally recognized outdoor concert series, Twilight Concert Series . Opening night features Death Cab for Cutie w/Tune Yards. You MUST have a ticket for the Twilight Concert Series, sign up for a free ticket when you check in at registration, first come first serve.

  6. Night at the museum: On Friday night, buses will transport you to where the mountain meets the sky and where dinosaurs and giant mammals roam the landscape at the Natural History Museum of Utah. You’ll marvel at this architectural gem on the edge of the Wasatch Mountains overlooking the entire Salt Lake Valley where you’re sure to a glorious sunset. Mosh on specialty food purveyors who source from Utah farms including Creminelli sausages, GGreen River watermelons, Beehive Cheese, Bear Lake Raspberries, and Blue Copper Coffee -- plus sample our local distilleries Ogden’s Own (Five Wives Vodka!), Beehive Distilling (Gin), Kyler Grove Wines and Bohemian Brewery Beer. Entertainment provided by nationally recognized Utah artists starting at 8:00 p.m. Friday night's party is sponsored by the fine people at PressReader.

  7. A word for our sponsors: The fabulous parties, the morning bagels and coffee that help you recover from said parties, and everything else in this conference would not be possible without our sponsors and exhibitors. And they offer great services to AAN members! Please check them out, take a moment to visit them in the exhibit hall, and if you see them in the hallways or at a party, thank them for making this conference a success.

  8. Tweet or it didn't happen: We encourage all conference attendees to tweet early and often using the official hashtag #AAN2015. All other hashtags are prohibited by Utah state law, so please adhere to local customs out of respect for our hosts.

  9. AAN Awards Celebration: We'll close things out by celebrating the best in alternative journalism. We can't tell you exactly what co-hosts Enrique Limón (Santa Fe Reporter) and Baynard Woods (Baltimore City Paper) have up their sleeves, but we can assure you that good time will be had by all as we honor the best of the best.

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