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The fall rush of industry meetings (ONA, LMA, NNA, SNPA and ASNE/APME) got underway in late September and ended Oct. 18, giving you only a one-week respite before heading into Inland. Whew! Missed one or more of these meetings? I’ll offer a brief recap of themes, noteworthy statements and observations, plus links to additional coverage.

Online News Association (ONA)

This will be the shortest highlight since the ONA faithful produced voluminous notes, video and archives.

Looking at the schedule, you’d be right in thinking podcasts are hot this year. They’ve been around for a long time, but the buzz is loud, and we’re finding they can be monetized. Expect to see more of these on more news sites.

Hallway chatter was perhaps predictable, but still notable:

  • Wearables (including RJI Fellow Victor Hernandez).
  • VR (Again! Gannett’s farm epic and 2014-2015 RJI Fellow Dan Archer’s Ferguson VR were hot at ONA14).
  • Intra-preneurship: 2010-2011 RJI Fellow David Cohn had just landed at Advance Publications heading up a new startups division. Melissa Angle heard us chatting in the lobby and chirped, “Hey, that’s my job” (over at Cox Media Group). Hopefully more on that at a later date.
  • Social media (still).
  • Commenting/engagement/online harassment: Yes, related to social media, but the online harassment discussion moved beyond a keynote to several hallway discussions and is deserving of its own highlight.
  • Mobile (of course).

Watch and listen to ONA sessions.

Local Media Association (LMA)

Mobile is the dominant platform; video is the dominant mode. Email newsletters

  • 60 percent preferred e-newsletters as a news source over mobile apps and websites.
  • 83 percent preferred e-newsletters over Twitter, Facebook.
  • Quartz maxed out at 100,000 email subscriptions.
  • Time has 650,000 email subscribers.
  • The Time and Quartz e-newsletters have an open rate of 40 percent.

How to move forward

  • Separate (print and digital teams, for both news and advertising).
  • Invest (continued cutting does not result in growth).
  • No-friction (attack your bounce rate by improving the user experience).
  • Video.

Events: Once again, Jason Taylor energizes the room

“Help advertisers get what they want — to be in front of their customers (face to face).” Check out Jason’s slide deck.

Live virtual events (don’t leave discounts and special offers online indefinitely, use the pending deadline to drive conversion; scarcity works).

Hot seats. Listen to Texas Tribune’s Evan Smith description of TT’s “The Hot Seat” event.

National Newspaper Association (NNA)

Revenue and social media were hot topics. Noteworthy were “flash sessions” – tables with specific topics where publishers, editors and managers could hash out their concerns, successes and challenges on those topics. No lecture with an expert addressing a room, but like-minded leaders sharing and helping each other. After 30 minutes or so, you could move to another table and topic so you could cover a handful of topics during the convention. It seemed to work well.

The social media table was two deep all the way around a very large circular table. Kevin Jones, COO of the St. Louis American, moderated a highly interested and motivated group.

The Diversifying Digital Revenue with Google Consumer Surveys session shared the survey-use success of the Columbia Missourian (where many of the University of Missouri School of Journalism students get immersed in learning community coverage).

Walt Potter, who has graciously supported RJI’s Walter B. Potter Sr. Forums (named in honor of Walt’s father, a former owner of community newspapers), kicked off a roundtable discussion, Spurring Innovation at Community Newspapers. I should note that LMA had a slightly smaller but active version of this session during its convention.

Shameless plug: 2014-2015 RJI Institutional Fellowship Lion Digital Media launched its new digital ad-planning platform, LIONshare, at tradeshow booths at both LMA and NNA. National and regional media planners (ad agencies and large advertiser media reps) now have access to more than 7,200 local news websites in more than 400 local markets (whereas Nielsen has 210 TV markets). Check it out here, here and here.

Brian Steffens  
 
Director of Communications



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