Due to the success of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies’ Classified Advertising Network, the organization generated a surplus of $267,000 in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. At an Oct. 9 meeting in San Diego, AAN’s Board of Directors tapped this unexpected windfall to make the association’s annual convention more accessible to employees of member papers and to improve the quality of programming at all AAN conferences.
The board authorized an increase in the programming budget for the San Diego convention and the AAN East and West regional conferences, from $50,000 to $100,000. This money will go toward hiring professional speakers and presenters, reimbursing them for travel expenses, and increased use of audio/visual equipment.
Also, the board approved a new one-year program that allows every AAN member paper the possibility of two free convention registrations. One of the complimentary registrations will be offered to the classified manager or AAN CAN representative at each paper. This is meant to reward those employees most responsible for the surplus, to promote the continuing health of the classified advertising network and to help member papers improve their classified sections.
The other complimentary registration will be given to any AAN paper that registers at least three people for the convention (not counting the free registration for classified managers). This is meant to encourage member attendance and participation in the convention beyond the upper-management level.
To better accommodate the travel schedules of members along the West Coast, the convention will start and end a half-day earlier than the last several annual confabs, with programming beginning on Thursday afternoon (June 16) and ending Saturday evening. The annual meeting will be held a day earlier, on Saturday morning (June 18), to allow more members to attend.
The board also reviewed proposals submitted by member papers interested in hosting the 2006 convention. The two primary contenders are Louisville Eccentric Observer (LEO) in Louisville, Ky., and Arkansas Times in Little Rock, Ark. The board will make a final decision at its next meeting, which will be held in February in conjunction with the AAN East conference in Washington, D.C.