We’ve got more info to share from a few key people on conferences.
"We are having a meeting at The Broadmoor (Colorado Springs) Oct. 17–19. So far, registrations are coming in ahead of expectations and our sponsorships are 100% sold out. I think this will be a great meeting! Our members are ready to get back to live events and I know they’re looking forward to seeing each other and sharing best practices," wrote America’s Newspapers CEO Dean Ridings in an email to News & Tech.
"We aren’t planning any other major live events for 2021, but we are planning a Mega-Conference for Spring 2022 and we expect to have an announcement in the next few weeks," Ridings wrote in early July. "I think there is a lot of demand for an industry-wide conference and we want to be responsive to our members’ needs. I think that our future conferences will look a little different, but the demand is definitely there."
Alan Fisco, president of the Seattle Times Co. and America’s Newspapers, seconds the Ridings info and adds: "As to other ‘events,’ we will continue our strong focus on training opportunities via a variety of webinars. At least for this year, those will be primarily remote. We are in the very early stages of scheduling our next Mega-Conference for next spring. The location has yet to be selected. Our membership has been very supportive for a large spring conference," Fisco writes.
“As to the future of industry conferences, I had assumed until the past few months, that future conferences would be a combination of in-person and remote….mostly the latter. However, I now think the in-person conferences will be more of a factor than I had thought, especially with things opening up and travel in a strong rebound mode. Folks that I have spoken to have a big desire for in-person sharing, comradery and relationship building. Clearly the latter two are more difficult remotely. Frankly, I think the biggest challenge in the future to in-person meetings will be cost, not anything directly pandemic related. Our industry had financial challenges pre-pandemic. Those have been exacerbated the past 16 months or so,” Fisco wrote.
Meanwhile, Lynne Lance, executive director, National Newspaper Association and the National Newspaper Association Foundation, checked in.
“The NNA and NNAF both had their summer board meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, last week,” she wrote on July 6. “It was the first live meeting since COVID. It’s amazing what gets done in a live meeting that is lost on virtual. Both were successful and just the social aspect of it was food for the soul.”
Matt Adelman, NNAF president, said the NNAF is looking forward to hosting their 135th Annual Convention and Trade Show in Jacksonville, Florida, Sept. 30–Oct. 2. “Our virtual convention in 2020 was very successful, but our members think of our meetings as family reunions and can’t wait to reconnect with their peers,” said Adelman.
“The Hyatt in Jacksonville has been great in providing promotional material for our convention site with videos on how they are handling social distancing, sanitizing the hotel, and basic safety procedures. I think it helps to ease our attendees possible anxiety about joining a large group again,” says Lance.
Brett Wesner, NNA president, added, "As always, we will have a treasure chest of new ideas to share in our popular formats of the Trade Show, our issue-specific Flash Sessions and the hugely popular Great Idea Exchange."