AAN Board Elections to Take Place in Nashville

Elections for eight positions on the Association of Alternative Newsmedia Board of Directors will be held today during the association’s annual meeting in Nashville.

In addition, members will vote on the membership applications of five publications: Good Times Magazine (Long Island, NY), Little Village (Iowa City, IA), Motif Magazine (Providence, RI), Up and Coming Weekly (Fayetteville, NC), Wisconsin Gazette (Shorewood, WI).

The following candidates have announced their intention to run for seats on the Board of Directors. Additional candidates can be nominated from the floor during the annual meeting.

Ellen Meany
Creative Director, Isthmus
Running for: Treasurer

Why do you want to be on the AAN board?

I have been an active member of the AAN board for more than eight years, incumbent Treasurer since the Tucson convention in 2009.

I handled all the AAN Financials for nearly two years as we searched for a replacement for the former Executive Director, and I have since formed a solid professional relationship with Tiffany Shackelford in her tenure. Being inside the books gave me perspective on all the numbers, and ideas on improvements and efficiencies that could save AAN money. Many of those ideas have been implemented by HQ. We are now in the midst of changing the way several more aspects of association management are handled, including Financials & Bookkeeping, and I really do want to see that through. Thank you for your support.

In your view, what are the highest priorities for AAN as an organization?

To model and inspire excellent business practices in member media companies with a goal of helping to ensure financial viability well into the future; and to advance the value of high quality, alternative journalism in the world of ideas.

Blair Barna
Advertising Director, Charleston City Paper
Running for: Secretary

Why do you want to be on the AAN board?

I’m interested in continuing the projects the current Executive Committee and AAN staff have been working on during the past year to help our organization during this exciting and challenging transitional phase.

In your view, what are the highest priorities for AAN as an organization?

a) Continued Financial Security through the implementation of cost-saving measures and the addition of new revenue-generating projects.
b) Decisions regarding the make-up of the membership of our organization
c) Assisting our members with the implementation of digital initiatives to protect and expand our media properties.

Kyle Shaw
Co-Founder and Editor, The Coast (Halifax)
Running for: Membership Chair

Why do you want to be on the AAN board?

I want to be Membership Chair because I remember how exciting it was for us at the paper when The Coast was recommended for admission, and even though I have been on the membership committee since 2007, I still get excited by the process that involves some screening and some nurturing to find the next members of our association. Joining the board itself is a secondary, albeit significant, benefit.

In your view, what are the highest priorities for AAN as an organization?
Just like at our papers, it seems to me the organization needs to find a solid-enough financial footing—in the fast-shifting media landscape—to be able to stand up and make the case for alternative journalism. It’s hard to focus on other things when you’re constantly feeling your survival threatened.

Carrie Simison
General Manager/Associate Publisher, Colorado Springs Independent
Running for: Marketing Chair

Why do you want to be on the AAN board?

I’ve been at the Colorado Springs Independent since 1998, beginning as a graphic designer then moving up to production manager, assistant publisher, associate publisher and general manager. I’ve seen what dedicating time, passion, resources — and my life — to our product, our paper and our community can do for our business, our reputation and what it shows to new and younger staff who wonder why we do what we do. I — no *we* — make a difference here in Colorado Springs because we bust our asses day in and day out to make it so. I want to bring that same dedication, passion and energy to our industry at a national level and help other papers, other staff, other communities see that giving back to the mentors, the trainers and the industry that has helped shape my career is the only way to make sure that we continue to be successful, relevant and profitable well past my time in the industry. I’m here to change the world… I’ve started in my back yard, my city and I’m ready to take it national… and global. I have clout, I’m influential, I’m smart and I’m hungry. And when I say I’ll do something, it gets done.

In your view, what are the highest priorities for AAN as an organization?
To provide the most outstanding leadership and guidance to both established and new member organizations to ensure their longevity, success and bad-assery in their individual communities. By pooling knowledge and resources, our sum is greater than our parts. The network that is AAN — particularly the impassioned people involved — are invaluable resources to employees, managers and organizations when facing a problem, challenge or just needing advice. This means not keeping up on trends, but being ahead of them… and being able to discern which ones are just fads and which ones member papers should invest time and money in. Also seeking out the most talented, the most knowledgeable and the most creative thinkers across all our various departments to continue to give our organizations a leg up on not only competition — but on any other local media who are looking for that extra market share.

AAN should continue to make sure each individual organization doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel, but has access to well researched ideas and are educated on taking the worthy risks, all while acting as a clearinghouse for feedback and expertise that the member organizations send back to the mothership.

It should be AAN’s priority to make sure that the people working for it, both paid and volunteer, are the top 10% in the industry. Those that do what they say and say what they do and have a positive attitude doing it. Those people that live, eat and breathe what we, as a network stand for, and who will continue to advance our mission and demand excellence from our colleagues. AAN should be the head do-er that sets the bar for the members.

Leigh Anne Rehkopf
Marketing and Promotions Director, Creative Loafing Atlanta
Running for: Marketing Chair (or At-Large*)

Why do you want to be on the AAN board?

I’d like to serve on the AAN Board because I believe alt papers are an important part of society; they give life to small nooks and crannies in every city that has an alt, and they give voices to those who may not otherwise have a place to share their stories. I truly believe in the power of our words, and I’d love any opportunity to help elevate each of the papers belonging to AAN.

In your view, what are the highest priorities for AAN as an organization?

The highest priorities for AAN as an organization are – well, I didn’t know there was a Marketing Chair, and I’ve been a member for nearly 5 years. I believe there’s more that I/we/AAN can do on a marketing level other than hosting a few panels at the convention each year. Also, I think more can/needs to be done to help connect papers with newer/better/inexpensive technology to create apps, streamline websites, promote the data of data.

*I know I’ve got some stuff competition for the Marketing Chair position, and in the case I don’t win the election, I would also like to be considered for an At-Large position. I’d love to lead regular calls/webinars on sponsorship sales, or how to use Instagram to reach millennials, or just generally be an awesome team member that can help set up kick-ass conventions. I am here for you guys, AAN. I’m here for the long haul, because I can’t think of another industry I’d rather be in.

Jeanne Exnicios Foster
Associate Publisher, Gambit
Running for: At-Large

Why do you want to be on the AAN board?

I think this is an exciting time for the Association of Alternative Newsmedia network; new technology is providing us with the opportunity to mobilize, share and collaborate more effectively than ever and I would like to participate in shaping the future of our industry.

In your view, what are the highest priorities for AAN as an organization?

To work together as an organization with a goal of staying competitive on a national level and keeping our edge as leaders in our local communities. The shop local and eat local movement has been spreading nationwide— what about “read local”?

Lynne Foland
Publisher, Missoula Independent
Running for: At-Large

I worked as the General Manager at LA Weekly for several years before moving into the position of VP of Human Resources for VVM. I then went back to LA Weekly and OC Weekly as the VP and General Manager for a couple of years before our son was born and we decided to move out of LA. I started here in Missoula as the General Manager in 2006 and have been the Publisher of the paper for the past four years. Among other volunteer positions, I serve as President of the Missoula County United Way board, am an officer on the Missoula Chamber board and recently was elected to the Montana Newspaper Association board.

Andy Sutcliffe
General Manager, Salt Lake City Weekly
Running for: Convention Chair

Why do you want to be on the AAN board?

We look forward to our second AAN convention and fully expect it to be as beneficial and memorable as our first one in 1996. Salt Lake City is a beautiful American city with deep heritage. Ours is also a modern city that is always at ground zero to causes fond to most AAN sensibilities–most recently carrying the banner on the national stage on issues ranging from state’s land-use rights to marriage equality. And, yes, we have plenty of great clubs and taverns–Salt Lake City is not the Donny and Marie show. I want the attendees of the 2015 convention in Salt Lake City to arrive back home with two main thoughts – “I learned and shared so much and I did so while having the best damn time of my life.”

In your view, what are the highest priorities for AAN as an organization?

Our highest priority is to ensure that our member publications have a continually growing revenue base to pay for quality, independent journalism in their communities. In my view, we need to provide our members with actionable best practices examples of how to leverage our core brands in three key revenue-generating areas: local community events, e-mail/social media marketing and buy-local e-commerce.

The AAN annual meeting takes place at 2 p.m. today and is open for all members to attend. Each member publication receives one vote, however attendance is not limited to one person per paper. Any staff member from an AAN publication may attend. The meeting will be held in the Davidson room of the Sheraton Downtown Nashville.