AAN HQ Update and 2019 Conference Dates/Locations Announced

This week marks my 10th anniversary with AAN. During these past ten years, I’ve gotten to know many of you in a way I had never expected when I first accepted a job as an assistant to coordinate the AAN Awards and our classified ad network.

Since then, we’ve shared many moments in gaudy hotel ballrooms and sketchy dive bars in cities wide and far. Many late nights/early mornings having “just one more” drink together. I’ve received countless emails offering ideas for conference topics and speakers, volunteering to lead and organize panels, or simply writing to ask how you can be more involved or help out. And I’ve received your panicked late-night phone calls at the very. last. minute. before the AAN Awards deadline asking for your password to the contest site.

I don’t think there is an organization in existence which embodies all of the values I hold dear and which has the sense of camaraderie that exists within AAN.

From the outside we may come across as trouble-makers and misfits, but from my 10 years of working with you from the inside, I know that most of us are driven by a common desire to make this world and our communities a better place, despite the odds against us.

Thank you for your commitment to AAN, your support, and for always doing that thing you do best — speaking out.

I’m so grateful for each and every one of you and grateful for the trust you put into me each and every day to represent and serve you.

My goal is continue that spirit and make sure this special entity that we call AAN continues to benefit everyone who is a part of it even as it inevitably changes.

Thank you for these past ten years. I hope to serve you for many more.

With that out of the way, I’ve been dying to announce our 2019 conference dates and locations!

  • The 2019 AAN Winter Conference will take place at the Sirata Beach Resort in St. Petersburg, Florida, February 7 – 9, hosted by Creative Loafing Tampa.
  • The 2019 AAN Annual Convention will take place at the Hotel Boulderado in Boulder, Colorado, July 11 – 13, hosted by Boulder Weekly.

The AAN Winter Conference (formerly known as AAN Digital) will continue with the same theme as our former San Francisco and Portland conferences, with one business track and one editorial track. But we won’t limit ourselves to digital topics, and quite frankly, it doesn’t make sense anymore to to have a separate “digital” conference when digital is such an integral part of our everyday lives.

Plus, we’ll be on the beach in February! The vibe will be much different than our past winter conferences. Pack your flip-flops and leave your jackets at home.

As always, your input is crucial to what the final program looks like, so please reach out to me by whatever means to tell me what topics are most relevant to you right now. Since taking over as executive director two years ago, I’ve tried to structure our conferences around what you say is most beneficial. Based on your feedback, I think we’re moving in the right direction but I know we can always improve, so please don’t be shy. Talk to me.

We’re lowering our early registration rate to $219 per person, with discounts available for groups sending more than three people. As I’ve said before, what makes AAN conferences special is the chance for everyone to get together and share, commiserate, and inspire one another. So my goal for 2019 is to get as many of you in the same room as possible.

We’ll be starting/ending earlier this year, with sessions starting at 10am on Thursday and running through noonish on Saturday. We’ve noticed that many of you have been arriving Wednesday night and leaving earlier on Saturday afternoons, so we want to make the best use of your time.

We’ll have more details about Boulder available as that date gets closer.

Thanks again for your support and for doing what you do every week. The odds always seem to be against us, but as long as you continue fighting this good fight, I’ll continue to fight alongside you.

Jason Zaragoza
Executive Director