Convention Program Taking Shape

“AAN of Steel,” the 26th annual AAN Convention in Pittsburgh, the Steel City, is taking on cosmic proportions with speakers such as advertising sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer and evening events, including a dinner cruise on the Three Rivers and reception at The Andy Warhol Museum.

Among the programming highlights confirmed so far, Kathryn Jeffers, one of the most popular speakers ever to offer an AAN convention seminar, will be back to talk about motivating for success in separate sessions for both sales and editorial streams.

In another treat for AAN advertising streams, Jeffrey Gitomer, author of “The Sales Bible” and “Customer Satisfaction is Worthless – Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” will lead joint display and classified advertising seminars on asking the right questions and getting the right answers.

“This is not the same old sales training,” says Mike McClanahan, ad director at Washington City Paper. “Jeffrey uses imagery, music, and wit to drive home the importance of what sales is all about.”

For the editorial track, Charles Whitaker, director of the Academy for Alternative Journalism, shares what he has learned about the hazards and pleasures of working with rookie writers through his experiences at the Academy, as an Ebony editor, and as an assistant professor at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism.

Also for editorial managers, Janet Reynolds and Alison Highet of the Hartford Advocate lead a session on how to cope with difficult personnel issues with as little pain as possible for the supervisor, the problem employee, and the rest of the staff.

On the business side, a panel of industry insiders, including Tim Quirk of, will look at the future of music retail — both online and off. Are digital distribution and P2P networks killing the traditional music store’s business? Or is something else happening that explains declining sales?

These are just a few of the highlights of the convention’s programming, reflecting changes suggested by the AAN Board of Directors and other members. These changes include scheduling more speakers and fewer panels, as well as compressing the conference into fewer days and offering more programming on the weekend. With the new schedule key staff miss less work, and AAN papers will maintain their usual high standards the week of the convention.

Log on to’s Annual Convention page for continuous updates regarding convention programming, speakers and social events.

The 26th annual AAN convention will be held June 5-8 at the Hilton Pittsburgh and Towers. The convention starts with a cocktail party the evening of June 5 and ends with the Annual Meeting Sunday morning, June 8. AAN has reserved rooms for the convention at the special convention rate of $119 single or double. The cut-off date for reservations is May 4. To reserve rooms for the convention, please contact the Hilton at (800) 445-8667 or (412) 391-4600.

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