by: Adreana Young
The Newspaper Association of America is taking its annual mediaXchange conference to the nation’s country music capital—Nashville, Tenn. on March 15-18 at the Omni Nashville Hotel.
NAA director of communications Sean O’Leary said this year, the conference will focus its theme on “the critical role newspaper media play in storytelling, in facing outward to (the) communities and in improving the quality of our lives,” with the slogan: Informed. Inspired. Invested.
“The reason NAA chose that theme and slogan is to reinforce the core values of newspaper media. What separates newspaper media from other forms of media is our impact in the community and the trust we have earned from our readers. As the industry evolves, those values will guide the way,” said O’Leary.
Sponsored by more than 40 companies, including Athlon Media Group, Gannett, USA Today, and Cox Media Group, mediaXchange will be filled with opportunity for newspapers and advertisers to network and share ideas.
The conference, now in its sixth year, will showcase a variety of topics including information on how the millennial generation consumes news, how to utilize data journalism, the ever expanding role of mobile in newspapers, and much more.
O’Leary said they expect more than 1,100 attendees this year. He also stated that registration for this year’s conference has been the strongest it has been since 2012.
“The goal of this year’s conference is to provide attendees with best practices and key takeaways they can bring back with them to their newspapers,” O’Leary said. “We altered the program this year to compliment our keynote speakers and general sessions with breakout sessions devoted to audience engagement on Monday, March 16, and focused on increasing revenue Tuesday, March 17.”
Event speakers will include journalist Martin Karl Schibbye, who was imprisoned in Ethiopia for a year; Jim Bankoff, chairman and CEO of Vox Media, who will discuss how to combine quality journalism, brand advertising and technology; Kelly McDonald, author of “How to Market to People Not Like You;” Amy Webb, CEO of Webbmedia Group, discussing digital strategies; and Marcus Whitney, president of Jumpstart Foundry, who will discuss how to integrate digital best practices.
Exhibitors are still signing-up for booth space, said O’Leary. “There will be 40 booths for exhibitors, though there will be more sponsors than that at the show. We’re still selling sponsorships.”
mediaXchange will also host its second annual Accelerator Pitch. The program features seven startup companies with an opportunity to pitch their ideas to industry executives. The companies include AdHusky, BuzzBoard, Inc., Hatchback, Laud, Inc. Okanjo, TouchCast and Trion Interactive.
In addition to the key speakers and sessions, attendees can look forward to live musical performances by Mary Chapin Carpenter, Mickey Guyton and Justin Adams.
“We’re in Nashville for the first time, and we’ve taken advantage of that with an excellent lineup of performers,” O’Leary said.
For more information, visit naa.org/mediaXchange.