In the mega-hit Broadway play “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda channeled Aaron Burr’s envy of Alexander Hamilton’s presence at a private dinner that decided two huge issues in the new nation, its financial structure and the location of its capitol.
Burr wanted fervently to be in “The Room Where It Happens.”
That’s where 70 newspaper executives will get to be on Tuesday, December 4 and Wednesday, December 5 when Executive Voices 2.0: The Conversation Continues convenes in Chicago.
The room where it happens on Wednesday will be the conference room of the law firm Seyfarth Shaw LLP on the 60th floor of the Willis Tower high above the Chicago Loop.
It’s not too much to say what happens in this room will affect the future of the newspaper industry in specific ways and on specific business challenges.
For Executive Voices 2.0 is a different kind of newspaper industry conference. In fact, it’s probably misleading to call it a conference, because there will be none of the usual conference trappings: No prepared speeches, no PowerPoint presentations, no speakers addressing a silent audience.
Instead, Inland is gathering owners, CEOs, COOs and other top executives to meet for a spirited conversation about the most important issues facing newspapers big and small. Everyone participates. Everyone is not just in the room where it happens—they will be making it happen.
Executive Voices 2.0 follows up on the highly successful first Executive Voices, with a few changes designed to make the successes shared, the what-if’s explored and the energies fueled even more valuable to you and your media organization.
If you heard from those prescient enough to take a chance as a participant in the first Executive Voices, this meeting will have a unique structure:
Attendance strictly limited to 70 top industry executives and decision-making so everyone is heard from throughout the day, and an agenda designed to accommodate in-depth exploration, and for probing solutions to the industry’s most vexing issues—with discussion facilitators drawn from the best in the business.
Agenda and facilitators:
New Revenue/Business Models: Once it was fashionable for news media executives to say they were “platform-agnostic.” Is it time to be business model-agnostic, and open to the most unlikely revenue streams into those models? Could your own business model stand a little transformative touch-up—or more?
* Facilitated by Jason Taylor, the president of GateHouse Media’s New Media Investment Group Ventures and a tireless searcher for unique revenue opportunities.
Audience Engagement: Newspapers have figured out a dizzying variety of ways to engage their digital—and print—audience in the past couple of years. Now’s the time to take an accounting: What works, what doesn’t, what’s so-so—and what are we missing?
* Facilitated by Alan Fisco, president of The Seattle Times, a which created a series of innovative Journalism Labs sustained by outside funders to report on—and help improve—the issues affecting its community.
Our Digital Expertise: Becoming the trusted go-to digital marketing and services experts for local advertisers and prospects—that’s everyone’s goal. But what moves the chains to that goal? Join a reality check on the industry’s progress, and the still relatively unexploited opportunities like voice on home assistance and other smart devices.
* Facilitated by Mark Adams, the CEO of family-owned Adams Publishing Group with hundreds of publishing and digital properties, and events and digital services businesses.
Don’t fence me in: Geo-targeting and beyond: With Google and Facebook now pilloried for intrusive targeted marketing that raises issues from privacy to racial and gender discrimination, newspapers look smart being a little late to data marketing such as geo-targeting. But let’s talk about how newspapers can employ these plainly valuable tools—while retaining the trust our brands have built.
* Facilitated by James Moroney, publisher emeritus of The Dallas Morning News who hasn’t retired from providing clear-headed, insightful industry analysis.
Innovation: Saying we’re going to institute a “culture of innovation.” Easy. Taking the correct steps that get us there, measuring risk and reward in departmental disruption, and managing change with the right change agents—just how hard is it, or does it have to be? A conversation about best practices.
* Facilitated by Tran Ha, founder and principal of Tiny Collaborative, which is helping newspapers create new revenue streams through design thinking.
Timing Your Platform Mix: Newspapers now have a rich vein of experience on reaching and keeping audience through any number of platforms, delivery frequencies in print and digital emails and newsletters. Some of those, of course, deliver dollars while other dimes. So what works--and how can you tell what will work and how to cost out these alternatives for your markets?
* Facilitated by Lisa Hurm, vice president and general manager of the hometown paper of a reinvented city, the Pittsburg Post-Gazette.
To date, top executives representing more than 700 newspapers have said, Yes, I want to be in the room where it happens—yes I want to lead the change we need, and to take home valuable lessons from my peers.
There’s still time—a little—to join fellow top media executives December 4th and 5th at the Willis Tower in Chicago. Last year’s Executive Voices sold out—leaving many outside the room where it happens.
The cost is only $395, including a dinner at the acclaimed Brazilian-style steakhouse Zed 451, lunch high above Chicago in the Willis Tower—and your seat at the table in the room where it happens.