Newspaper Industry Leaders Find Solutions at America East

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  • This year’s keynote speech featured (from left): Terry Egger, CEO and publisher, Philadelphia Media Network; Mark Baldwin, executive editor, Rockford Register Star; Matt DeRienzo, vice president of news and digital content, Hearst Connecticut; moderator David Chavern, president and CEO, News Media Alliance; David Little, former editor, Chico Enterprise-Record; Anne Adams, publisher, The Recorder; and Rachel Piper, senior director of digital news, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

More than 400 people attended the America East News Media and Technology Summit in Hershey, Pa. April 1 to 3. Administered by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association (PNA), this year’s show focused on networking and collaboration.

This year’s keynote panel featured six top industry executives from various size markets sharing successful ideas and projects that worked for them—from community engagement projects and digital growth on Facebook to increasing subscription prices and promoting local journalism.

“Many of our attendees appreciated how diverse the panel was, that the ideas ranged from a small, rural newspaper in Virginia to a paper like the Philadelphia Inquirer,” said Mary Firestone, PNA manager, meetings and member services.

The show also introduced single day tracks for business, advertising, digital, print production and editorial.

“This was in response to our publishers who asked us to create these tracks to make it easier for employees to be away from the office,” said Jane Hungarter, PNA director of marketing.

Over the course of three days, sessions covered a wide range of topics and issues that newspaper executives could bring back to their newsrooms. Among them: a Homeland Security official led a discussion about safety and security in the newsroom, and what to do in the case of an active shooter; forward-thinking digital sessions centered around analytics, blockchain, smart speakers and design; and a print operations roundtable featured representatives from McClatchy, GateHouse Media, Advance Local and Gannett Publishing Services discussing the latest print issues and equipment technology.

“Our industry doesn’t want to remain static, and I think our sessions reflect that,” said Matthew Caylor, PNA director, strategic services.

The show also featured more than 30 exhibitors and sponsors in the Vendor Solutions Center, where attendees and vendors could easily network and develop relationships.

“The goal of America East is to promote and support our industry. With fewer resources available, attendees can come to America East to learn and grow, but it doesn’t just end here,” Caylor said. “It’s about connecting people and developing brand new connections.”

Next year’s America East will be held March 30 to April 1, 2020. For more information, visit america-east.com.

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