By: Editorial Staff
ONE HINT OF the interest among newspapers in interactive communications may be the booming attendance at the Interactive Newspapers conference next week.
A month before the conference, sponsored by Editor & Publisher and the Kelsey Group, a telecommunications services research and consulting firm, the number of registrations had more than doubled, from 180 last year to 378 this year.
About 295 people attended the conference last year, setting a record for attendance. Organizer John Kelsey III, president of the Kelsey Group, said, “The way the phones are ringing, it is conceivable that we will reach 550-600” this year.
The conference, the fifth of its kind in as many years, is called “Interactive Newspapers ’94: The Multimedia Mission.” It is scheduled Feb. 14-16 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Tampa.
Since it began in 1990 with 173 people attending, the conference has grown steadily.
This year, registrants, from at least 12 nations, mostly are from newspapers but also represent other kinds of purveyors of information and vendors of telecommunications equipment and services.
The conference deals with all aspects of how newspapers are confronting such information delivery systems as audiotex, facsimile and computer-to-computer information ser- vices. Database marketing also is addressed.
The list of speakers and panelists includes Jerome Rubin, chairman of the News in the Future project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Labs; Don Brazeal, editor and publisher of Washington Post Co.’s Digital Ink electronic publishing subsidiary; Chris Jennewein, general manager of the San Jose Mercury News’ Mercury Center service; Dallas Morning News editor and publisher Burl Osborne; St. Petersburg Times publisher Andrew Barnes; Mike Silver, Tribune Media Services director of marketing and business development; Shaun Higgins, who is president of the International Newspaper Marketing Association and president and CEO of Cowles Publishing Co.’s New Media Ventures; Gordon Borrell, general manager of Landmark Information Services; Jim Willse, director of new media for Newhouse Newspapers; Ciela Irvine, Hearst New Media vice president; and John Scheuler, executive vice president and general manager of Freedom Newspapers Inc.
Sessions deal with the multimedia mission, getting started in multimedia services, the 10-year plan for audiotex, on-line transactions, a “town meeting” on multimedia services, classified alliances, portable communications devices, interactive services throughout the world, voice personal ads, database marketing, an “editorial summit” and news on interactive television.
The conference also features the release of the fifth annual survey, based on results from 400 newspapers, of telecommunications services under way in the industry. Attendees will receive a notebook binder of materials presented at the conference.
Newspapers express greater interest in audiotex, fax and electronic services, Kelsey said, and are moving quickly to get their feet wet in tele-communications services.
“People are moving out of the study phase, through experimentation and research and development into full-fledged implementation,” he said.
Registration costs $845 before Feb. 10, $995 thereafter, and can be ar-ranged by calling (609) 730-1000.
? (Dallas Morning News editor and publisher Burl Osborne will be the editorial keynote speaker at the Interactive Newspapers conference) [Photo & Caption]