Convention Programming Preview

The Tried-and-True and Many Things New at This Year's Convention.

If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Don’t mess with a good thing. Give the people what they want.

The assumptions that animate these hoary maxims help to explain why this year’s convention organizers invited back several speakers who received high marks from AAN members in the past, including presenters like Bob Treadway, Catherine Nelson, Kathryn Thornton and Bruce Shapiro.

Not that there won’t be dozens of new subjects and speakers as well. In fact, with a total of more than 50 different seminars and workshops, plus roundtable discussions in each of the five regular programming streams, there will be something for everyone who attends AAN’s 22nd annual convention, which will be held May 27-29 at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis.

Here are some of the highlights:


One of last year’s most popular presenters, Mark Yahoudy of American Express Financial Services, will talk about profit sharing plans.

Another repeat presenter, Dr. Herbert Greenberg, who previously spoke at the AAN convention in Montreal, will focus on “Non-Traditional Sources of Talent in a Full-Employment Economy.”

In a session that he guarantees “will be worth the cost of your AAN dues,” Art Howe of Philadelphia City Paper and Montgomery Newspapers will address the issue of paper prices and negotiating with printers.

In addition to her Financial Standards overview, Ms. Seija Goldstein will present a primer on the fundamentals of budgeting and reporting.

Timothy J. Franks, one of the attorneys from Brown & Bain handling the San Francisco newsrack litigation, will outline the threat to free distribution arising from that case.

Classified Advertising

AAN favorite Kathryn Thornton will lead two sessions. In the first, she’ll show classified managers how to develop a comprehensive product development and marketing plan for their department. She’ll also address personnel management issues, like recruiting and motivating employees and evaluating their performance.

Former LA Weekly classified manager Roxanne Cooper will demonstrate how to build a quality, customer-driven call center. She’ll also moderate a panel on the best ways to generate revenue from adult advertising both online and in print.

Gerry Crispin of premier recruitment advertising agency Shaker Advertising will outline ten steps alternatives should take to build lucrative recrutiment revenue.

Design And Production

David Berlow, president of the Font Bureau and a designer of more than 300 fonts, will discuss the latest in type-design trends and cutting-edge fonts, and will show where to find them.

Texas Monthly’s highly regarded art director D.J. Stout will lead an inspirational seminar on how to get maximum bang on a small art budget.

In a joint session with the editorial stream, two editor/art director teams will describe the collaborative process they’ve established to minimize friction and maximize quality work.

Bob Newman of Details magazine will moderate a slide presentation of work by AAN papers, focusing on creative new design strategies.

Display Advertising

In a special full-day session that will be held on Wednesday, May 26–the day before the AAN convention officially begins–professional speaker Larry Levine will present the workshop “Getting Extraordinary Results from Ordinary Salespeople.” (Attendance at this special workshop will require a separate admission fee of $125, which includes lunch.)

Publisher and professional speaker Julio Melara will make several presentations, including one on creative sales ideas and another on recruiting and retaining talented sales people.

The ever-popular Bob Treadway is back to present three separate workshops, on questioning skills, overcoming customer objections and closing a sale.

Advertising stream favorite Catherine Nelson will talk about how to use sales meetings to inspire, inform and motivate your staff week-after-week.


The National Institute of Computer Assisted Reporting (NICAR) will provide hands-on training in computer assisted reporting throughout the convention.

Another popular speaker from last year’s convention, reporter-turned-attorney Robert Lystad will present a primer on libel and privacy, and will serve on a panel about how to overcome the obstructionary tactics of investigative subjects.

The highest-rated editorial speaker at the Montreal convention, Bruce Shapiro of The Nation, will discuss how editors and reporters can produce fresh, hard-hitting investigative and feature articles that report at the community level.

Washington City Paper Editor David Carr will lead a town-hall meeting designed to generate “75 Story Ideas in 75 Minutes.”

Electronic Publishing

Aaron Cohen of Concrete Media, who received high marks from a small audience at last year’s convention, will discuss the “The Intersection of Media and Retail on the Net.”

Margaret Heffernan, president of, will address the tools, tricks and strategies that papers should be thinking about to get the most from the Web.

Thomas R. Burke, an associate with the law firm of Davis Wright Tremaine, will reprise his discussion on website legal issues that met with raves at AAN West.

Several new exhibitors will make their debut at this year’s show, including streetbox vendors Fortec and Go Plastics, database products provider Tribune Media Services and software firm Managing Editor. In addition, AAN Marketing Director Adam Ebbin, who is busy pitching sponsorships and trade show booths, says he would welcome suggestions from AAN members for potential prospects. Ebbin can be reached via phone at the AAN office (202/822-1955) or via e-mail (

Registration materials for the Memphis convention will be mailed to AAN members on Monday, March 15.