Key Executive Mega-Conference February 26-28

Breaking out the breakouts

Get the most out from your Mega-Conference agenda


This year’s Mega-Conference offers an unprecedented number of options for executives who make their way to San Diego—48 separate sessions including the Solutions Stage presentations.

Attendees will also be confronted with some difficult choices because many of these four dozen sessions will be breakouts, following the four-track format that sets out these general themes for those sessions:

  • Track One: Building Value in Our Core Brands Now
  • Track Two: Transformation–-Creating New Opportunities from Disruption
  • Track Three: Diversification and Entrepreneurship
  • Track Four: Case Studies on the Solutions Stage from Industry Technology Partners

The tracks are a useful guide for planning your Mega-Conference but there are breakout sessions across different tracks that could be valuable to attend depending on your executive position and your newspaper organizations needs.

What follows, then, is a guide to getting the best out of the Mega-Conference breakout sessions.

If you’re a CEO looking to expand revenue streams:

• Monday afternoon, Feb. 26, Track Three:
Top events that make dollars and sense
Presented by Stephen Wade, president The Augusta Chronicle; Scott Pompe, vice president/advertising, Austin American-Statesman; and Chris Edwards, president, Gazette Communications Inc.
• Tuesday morning, Feb. 27, Track Three
Accelerating Investments and New Ventures
Presented by Corey Ford, co-founder and managing director, Matter Ventures
• Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 27, Track Two
NexGen Business Models: Finding Success
Moderated by Sara Fischer, media reporter, Axios, with panelists Jim Brady, founder and CEO, Spirited Media, and Evan Smith, CEO, The Texas Tribune
• Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 27, Track Three
Investing in Print Products
Presented by Leonard Woolsey, publisher, The Galveston (Texas) County Daily News
• Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 27, Track Two
Bringing Audio to Life
Moderated by Jeremy Mims, head of strategy and partnerships, SpokenLayer, with panelists Ginger Neal, vice president, digital sales and operations, San Francisco Chronicle, and Chrissy Towle, head of news and local media, Google

If you’re a Chief Marketing Officer or Advertising Director looking for new or optimized approaches:

• Monday afternoon, Feb. 26, Track One
Branded Content
Moderated by Pat Connolly, managing director/digital transformation, Accenture, with panelists Bob Gilbreath, CEO, Ahalogy; Robin Gruen, vice president/branded content, Studio 1847, a tronc unit; and Ryan Stephens, general manager, BrandForge
• Or…Same time, Track Two
Personalization and UX Strategies
Moderated by Bill Densmore, executive director, Information Trust Exchange Governing Association with panelists Brandon Erlacher, vice president of strategic data, Sandusky Newspaper Group and publisher, Standard-Examiner, Ogden, Utah, and Daniel Schaub, corporate director of audience development, The McClatchy Co.
• Tuesday morning, Feb. 27, Track Four (Solutions Stage)
How Much Revenue Are You Losing Due to Ad Fraud?
Presented by Casey Hester, vice president/customer success, Dev/Con Detect
• Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 27 Track Fur (Solutions Stage)
Taking Back Local Advertising with Targeted Local Niche Guides
Presented by Phil Pracht, product manager,
• Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 27, Track One
Programmatic Best Practices
Moderated by Tobias Bennett, programmatic and exchange champion, Local Media Consortium with panelists Nick Ames, director of programmatic advertising, The McClatchy Co., and Raymond Faust, vice president sales/emerging media, Star Tribune Media Group
• Wednesday morning, Feb. 28, Track One
Be Relevant in Real Estate
Presented by Lucy Talley, regional vice president, GateHouse Media, and Amy Sutton, major/national advertising manager, The Post and Courier

If you’re an Audience Development or Circulation executive looking to expand audience or deepen engagement:

• Monday morning, Feb. 26 (Bonus Session at 8:30 a.m.)
Grow Your Customer Engagement to Annual Commitments
Presented by Mike Centorani, co-founder, Sales Transformation Now; Liz Crider Huff, director of affiliate success, Second Street; and Julie Foley, director of affiliate success, Second Street
• Tuesday morning, Feb. 27, Track Three
Leading with Location-Based Multi-Media Solutions
Presented by Dan Hight, senior vice president/ channel partnerships, GroundTruth, and Dave Kennedy, chief revenue officer, Oahu Publications

• Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 27, Track One
Defining Your Subscription Strategy
Moderated by Aaron Kotarek, vice president/circulation, Oahu Publications and panelists Brian Howell, director of consumer revenue optimization, tronc; Curtis Huber, director of circulation/ sales and marketing, The Seattle Times; and Troy Niday, chief operations officer, Sonoma Media Investments

If you’re an executive with digital responsibilities:

• Monday afternoon, Feb. 26, Track Four (Solutions Stage)
Alexa, OTT and Mobile Apps: Distribute and Monetize on All Digital Platforms
Presented by Nikhil Modi, CEO, Whiz Technologies
• Tuesday morning, Feb. 27, Track Two
Big Data–-What Drives Performance for Advertisers Across Platforms
Presented by Jeff Burkett, vice president/ad innovations, USA TODAY NETWORK, and Richard Jones, president, Proven Performance Media
• Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 27, Track Three
Digital Agency Best Practices
Moderated by Conan Gallaty, president of digital media, WEHCO Media with panelists Rob Bunch, managing director, The High Road Agency, and Arlea Hoffman, digital strategy director, Reimagine Main Street / Observer Publishing Company