‘Go West, America’

By: Mark Fitzgerald

‘Go West, America’
CNPA hopes young conference has the right stuff

It’s tempting to call this a critical year for the America West Regional Newspaper Operations and Technology Conference. But when a show is this young, they are all critical years.
“We figured when we started this that it would take five or six years for it to get going. And we’re on track for that,” says Jack Bates, executive director for the California Newspaper Publishers Association (cnpa). “It’s gotta grow ? and it is growing.”
cnpa started America West in 1996, two years after the final collapse of the Western Newspaper Production Conference. By 1993, the Western show had declined to the point that vendors far outnumbered newspaper production attendees. The next year, a planned conference in San Diego was canceled due to lack of interest.
America West got something of a running start in its first three years because the industrywide Nexpo shows those years were held in the South instead of Las Vegas. America West hit a high-water mark last year because it was held in conjunction with the National Newspaper Association (nna) convention.
Vendors, who have made America East in Hershey, Pa., a successful show year after year, were looking for a Western equivalent.
“As long as there is a show in the West, you go,” says Carl Ban, director of marketing services for gma/Muller Martini. “It allows us to focus on the Western geographical area and see key people in the area.” But this summer’s Nexpo was in Vegas, and next year the Newspaper Association of America show will be in San Francisco. This fourth America West will take place, as always, in Reno, Nev., at John Ascuaga’s Nugget, Oct. 6-8. Is it all too much of a Western focus?
“Nexpo is so different,” Bates says. “They’re throwing in everything but the kitchen sink, in terms of programming. At America West or America East, you can have an 8-foot-by-10-foot booth. In Nexpo, you get lost. Vendors tell me it’s just easier to see their [customers] in our show.”
Indeed, where press and postpress vendors bring their big iron and introduce new products at Nexpo, they generally limit their presence at America West to videos, handouts, and small booths. America West’s modest size is its most important virtue, cnpa’s Bates suggests. “We think Reno is the right place. It’s $85 a room with a $5 steak. And on the West Coast you just can’t find that.”
That low cost keeps Pongrass Newspaper Systems coming back, says Cassandra Meyer, president and ceo of Cipher Consulting Co. of Sacramento, Calif., which works with the Sydney, Australia-based front-end systems vendor. “I think the show is still a little sparsely attended,” Meyer says.
With the nna convention-goers gone from this year’s show, she says, “I’m not sure how it will go. But I still feel we have to go there because it is so close.”
She’ll have company: Over 90 of 109 booth slots were filled by Sept. 1, and registration of newspaper production executives is also going well, Bates says.
Conference sessions kick off with concurrent prepress, press, and postpress round tables on the afternoon of Oct. 6. The Reno Gazette-Journal hosts a reception and tour at its plant that evening.
In addition, former football coach Bob Davies speaks on “How to Overcome Procrastination,” and Jeffrey Tobe speaks on managing through creativity. Los Angeles Times production executive Brad Patterson will speak on cutting down to a 50-inch web width. Peder Nelson of Chromacity Inc. speaks on color management, and ReinTech Inc. principal RayReinerston addresses print quality.
(Editor & Publisher WebSite:http:www.mediainfo.com) [Caption]
(copyright: Editor & Publisher September 4, 1999) [Caption]

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