By: Nu Yang
Starting at the end of February, the E&P staff spent a lot of time on the road. We traveled to Atlanta for the Key Executives Mega-Conference. Then, we were off to Nashville for the Newspaper Association of America’s mediaXchange. Soon after that, we landed in Hershey, Pa. for the America East Media Business and Technology Conference. It’s always great to get out of the office and converse with our readers and advertisers face-to-face. Another bonus is getting to sit in on workshop sessions alongside newspaper professionals looking for their next big idea that will increase revenue, grow circulation, and bridge the gap between print and digital platforms.
As I studied the conference schedules, I noticed many of the program descriptions shared the same words and phrases: millennials, native advertising, Big Data, paywalls, newsroom of the future, disruptor, social, mobile, video, BuzzFeed/Facebook/Twitter…it goes on and on.
I started to think that perhaps attendees could play some sort of Buzzword Bingo each time one of these phrases were uttered at a newspaper conference (and it would probably make a very dangerous drinking game). But if you look up Buzzword Bingo online, you’ll see it defined as a game “generally played in situations where audience members feel that the speaker, in an effort to mask a lack of actual knowledge, is relying too heavily on buzzwords rather than providing relevant details.”
That’s not the case here.
The organizations that put together these conferences work tirelessly to create a program that will benefit every department. They select speakers with the best information, and they make sure the tradeshow floor is filled with exhibitors looking to partner with newspapers and who will focus on finding them success.
Conference attendance and vendor numbers might not be as high as they were 15 to 20 years ago, but publishers and other newspaper leaders continue to attend in order to gain more knowledge, to learn new journalism trends, to connect and reconnect with colleagues, and to build relationships with vendors—all in an effort to save their business.
I heard some inspiring stories at these sessions and even from people who stopped by our booth. Newspapers are finding solutions, but most importantly, they’re sharing their successful stories with others. It shows a different kind of camaraderie that might not have been there 15 to 20 years ago at the larger tradeshows because right now, we’re in this together. Forget newspaper wars. It’s one for all and all for one.
Although it’s a challenging time for everyone, these conferences should spark a flame in each of us. I hope conference attendees return to their newsrooms—excited and reignited—ready to implement bold, creative ideas.
This month’s issue touches on a lot of these buzzwords we heard over the course of three conferences. Our feature stories focus on millennials, currently the most-sought-after newspaper audience; the next generation of membership programs; and the battle over the news landscape between journalists and public relations reps. Of course, you’ll also find our coverage from the latest conferences we attended.
And if you stopped by our booth at any of these shows, we thank you. If we didn’t get a chance to meet, you can always send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We always want to hear from you.