The editorial programming scored high with attendees of both conferences, but the advertising and design streams were rated uneven at best. And while Craig Newmark was a particular favorite among the speakers at AAN West, attendees gave higher marks overall to AAN East. Still, the overwhelming majority of respondents agreed that both of this year's regional conferences were a success.
It was cold outside, but almost 220 individuals braved the weather in Washington, D.C., to attend the AAN East regional conference. They were rewarded with lively seminars, networking opportunities -- and an invitation to write on the walls.
The former President has agreed to be the featured speaker at this year's convention in Little Rock, Ark., which will be held June 15-17. The three-day convention will also feature an opening night reception at the Clinton Presidential Library.
In his prepared remarks at AAN West, the founder of Craigslist said his network of Web sites, which he described as a "public trust," are about "people giving each other a break and just addressing basic everyday needs." Newmark also discussed his inchoate "citizen journalism" venture, which would employ collaborative-filtering technology to identify "the most trustworthy versions of big stories." He thinks the venture will probably drive traffic to alt-weekly Web sites. The question-and-answer session that followed was quite lively, and included an accusation of empire-building as well as a comparison between Newmark and the pilot of a B-52 bomber. Both the speech and the Q&A are available in Quicktime video or an audio-only MP3 through AAN's members-only Resource Library. A transcript of the speech is also available.
The 2006 AltWeekly Awards received 1554 entries from 99 member newspapers. Improvements made to the contest rules and Web site were successful in making the process less problematic. If the AAN staff is not buried alive by the onslaught of paper and FedEx boxes, we will next begin sorting entries and distributing them to the preliminary round judges.
By now, all newspapers planning to enter the 2005 AltWeekly Awards should have logged in to the contest site and reviewed the steps necessary to upload entries. Each entry must be registered online, regardless of whether the material itself is being entered in PDF or tearsheet format. As the midnight EST deadline approaches on Friday, the Web site may become slower, so don't wait until the last minute! Hard copies and payment must be received in the AAN office by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 24.
The online registration system first implemented for the 2005 AltWeekly Awards contest is back -- with some improvements. A new category! An earlier deadline! Different ways to submit! Learn more about the changes here.
Last year, for the first time, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies conducted its editorial contest online. Although there were some frustrating glitches, entrants overwhelmingly favored the online method of entering the AltWeekly Awards. This year, AAN used feedback from member papers and judges to make improvements, including more specific instructions to make uploading PDFs easier. The 2006 AltWeekly Awards Web site will be launched on Dec. 5.