America East expands into refurbished quarters

By: Jim Rosenberg How sweet it will be for newspaper staffers in Hershey

Spring arrives a week late this year, as newspaper staffers converge on Hershey, Pa., March 29 through April 1 for the annual America East operations conference and trade show.
The gathering not only will be later but also will be larger. An expanded and refurbished convention center this year will house exhibitors on the same show floor. The larger facilities also will host a conference program that has grown beyond the handful of production and technology sessions of just a few years ago.
During that same time, the event has grown to include the New Media World two-morning symposium and the yearly print quality contest.
New this year are all-morning display (Tuesday) and classified advertising sales seminars (Wednesday).
Drawing a broad range of mostly mid-sized dailies, the event's regional appeal often even attracts a sprinkling of Canadians. Attendees and conference panel members typically also include representatives of weeklies and major metros.
Formerly occupying two levels of the convention center, the exposition will now bring together more than 135 exhibitors on 40,000 square feet of a single show floor. Though the trade show runs from noon Tuesday to noon Thursday, vendors can arrange private demonstrations before the show opens each morning.
User groups representing specific new media, prepress, press, and post-press systems take advantage of the occasion to meet, as does the Flexo Vendors Alliance and the Inter-State Circulation Managers' Association. And for the 16th year, newsprint suppliers will host a Tuesday evening reception.
New Media World will examine the impact of online publishing on every aspect of traditional newspapering and on one entirely new capability ? electronic commerce. The symposium leads off with a keynote address on just that subject and returns for a closer look the next day, along with a luncheon presentation on retailers' experience with online marketing.
Following Tuesday morning's keynote, sessions progress through all areas:
? Advertising ? holding on to advertisers who have their own Web sites
? Classified advertising ? using consumer research to support strategic decision-making, and organizing and managing an online classified venture
? Traditional journalism ? the impact of new digital technologies
? Newspaper delivery ? electronic delivery in a digital format
? Community publishing ? supporting and encouraging online publishing by the community
? Design ? aspects of Web site design
Other sessions consider issues related to local online guides and directories, database publishing, a role for newspapers in the Internet's civic potential, and broadening internal access to a newspaper database.
America East's general sessions commence Tuesday morning with speakers addressing at least five matters of ongoing interest in production, circulation, and companywide operations: printing possibilities on shaftless presses; converting to a 50-inch web width; boosting circulation through brand building and better value; a news rack legislation update; a look at newspapers' Y2K readiness; and planning for systems failure.
Wednesday morning features teachers. In concurrent sessions, retired Rochester Institute of Technology print science professor Robert G. Hacker offers print quality trends and tips (and announces print quality contest winners), and Dow Jones teacher of the year Kathy Zweibel joins a panel of newspaper executives who will look at the Newspaper in Education program from the standpoints of readership, revenue, and responsibility.
A third concurrent session, a human resources round table, will include discussion of the Americans with Disabilities and Family and Medical Leave acts.
Wednesday serves up sessions with managers from five big dailies, beginning with three from Knight Ridder speaking about a broader view of production executives' responsibilities and ending with a fourth ? the commercial printing manager of KR's Philadelphia Newspapers ? relating his operation's on-site, educational "printers day."
In between, a sales manager will outline procedures used by The Morning Call, Allentown, to satisfy customers; a Dow Jones & Co. environmental manager will discuss health, safety, and environmental compliance, and a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette assistant to the editor will review how companies that serve the newspaper industry find and keep good employees.
The conference concludes Thursday with post-press and information systems round tables, a how-to session on computer-assisted reporting, and
a discussion of the importance of press maintenance. An hour later, the exhibitors move out for another year.
?(Editor & Publisher Web Site: http:www.mediainfo. com) [Caption]
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher February 27, 1999) [Caption]


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