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.
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.
Jan Caldwell, a classified sales rep for Creative Loafing (Charlotte), is the winner of the AAN CAN trip to Peru. Caldwell won by selling the most new advertising in the AAN CAN network between Nov. 10 and Jan. 31. When notified yesterday, she reacted with disbelief, then quickly called her daughter and the friend she is planning to take with her on her trip. Caldwell may rake in other goodies as well, since some classified managers decided to make the contest more interesting by wagering items such as wine and tour books via the AAN Classified Management mailing list.
San Francisco was invaded by 261 enthusiastic newspaper professionals last weekend when the AAN West conference hit town. The highly-anticipated Saturday keynote speech by Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, passed without physical skirmish, despite a lively question-and-answer session. Many of the seminars were equally lively, and the parties -- well, you had to be there.
Newmark, founder of free online classified site craigslist.org, will share his thoughts on the topic of journalism. He will also leave plenty of time for questions from the audience. Newmark will address conference attendees during the traditional AAN West lunch, which will be held this year on Saturday, Jan. 28.
Marc Desilets, the senior classified sales representative at Tucson Weekly, collected his AAN CAN prize and traveled to New York City over the Thanksgiving holiday. Desilets won the three-night trip for two by selling $43,095 in national ads during the summer 2005 AAN CAN contest.