On February 26-28, the Key Executives Mega-Conference in San Diego was home to more than 700 newspaper executives looking to discover the latest technology innovations and solutions, as well as learn the present state of newspapers and new prospects for the industry.
Now into its eighth year, the Mega-Conference is a joint effort by the Inland Press Association, Local Media Association, Southern Newspaper Publishers Association and News Media Alliance. Reportedly seeing a record number of attendees in 2018, visitors included owners, publishers, digital officers or revenue officers of media operations with both print and digital assets serving their local communities.
Spectating from the comfort and convenience of the LEAP Luxury Box, the two-day conference was kicked off by a keynote speech from Newsonomics President Ken Doctor, who shared his vision for the future of local media and the building blocks needed by the next generation of journalists.
Day one also discussed tools for combating fake news, and a number of breakout sessions were held to help attendees develop strategies that leverage technology and data to create new opportunities and sources of revenue.
The first day was closed by Alex Hardiman, Facebook’s director of news products, whose session explained how Facebook’s algorithm aims to prioritize high quality news, and how the company plans to work collaboratively with publishers.
Mega-Conference Day Two
Day two saw a panel of industry leaders sharing their strategies and priorities for 2018, followed by a full day of breakout sessions, most notably featuring LEAP’s very own Tom Ratkovich, who demonstrated how media organizations can leverage audiences to drive revenue diversification.
The Mega-Conference also revealed the winner of the 2018 Mega-Innovation Award. This year the Honolulu Star-Advertiser was the recipient for its inventive digital newspaper display. (See the presentation from the conference here). Not only did the screen run a loop of news and advertisements in the high-traffic areas where these displays were placed, the monitor features a camera that identifies and records characteristics of people who look at the feed for more than two seconds. This helps both publishers and retailers develop a demographic profile of those watching the news, as well as traffic flow and time of day. According to a report from Editor and Publisher, the initiative generated $1 million in revenue in its first year.
We’d like to thank everyone who dropped by the LEAP Luxury Box. It’s great to be a part of another successful Mega-Conference. We look forward to seeing you at the 2019 event, at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel, on February 25-27.