Registrations are continuing to pour in for the AAN Convention in New Orleans, with attendance to the 34th annual convention set to reach a level not seen since 2007.
A high-profile list of speakers, beefed-up programming, and the alluring locale of the Big Easy are all contributing factors. AAN has partnered with the Knight Foundation, SND, J-Lab, among others, to bring a broad mix of sessions ranging from “Web Design on Hobo’s Budget” to a “Social Media Bootcamp” to editorial sessions on new long-form platforms and reaching out to minority readers.
“We have a program that will appeal those in the alt-weekly business as well as community sites, online niche sites and more,” said AAN Executive Director Tiffany Shackelford.
In addition, as the alternative media rebounds from the recent advertising recession, publishers are making strong bets on the future by investing in the development of their staff. AAN members are eagerly embracing the challenge of using online and mobile platforms to enhance the incisive content they’ve built their names on, and see this year’s conference as a perfect opportunity to pick up new editorial tools.
“I think what we’re witnessing here is the beginnings of a perceptible vigor in parts of our industry,” said Mark Zusman, editor of Willamette Week and president of AAN’s Board of Directors.
Shackelford echoed those sentiments, saying, “2011 is a year of rebuilding for AAN as well as the entire media industry.”
This year’s convention, which takes place at the Ritz Carlton New Orleans from July 21 through 23, will bring together over 400 participants from across North America. At a time when many news organizations are seeing stagnant or declining numbers of attendees at their conventions, AAN members are proving once again to be a step ahead of their peers.