Executive VOICES, the Inland meeting designed around an open, free flowing-discussion of the pressing issues, challenges and opportunities for newspaper executives will be held December 10th and 11th in Chicago at the Willis Tower Offices of Seyfarth Shaw, LLP.
“Our goal is to continue to bring together the best minds in the newspaper business in a confidential environment where they can hold an honest, no holds barred conversation about the state of the industry,” said Tom Slaughter, Inland’s Executive Director. “Last year’s lively conversations not only uncovered new approaches to solving some of the most vexing issues facing newspapers today, but also identified opportunities and pathways to future success.”
VOICES is not the typical industry conference. There are no typical presenters at VOICES and almost no PowerPoint presentations. Instead well-known industry leaders facilitate open discussions about the topics at hand. Everyone participates and every voice is heard.
This year past and future VOICES participants will be asked to identify the topics they most want to talk about to set their own discussion agenda. Also new is yourvoice, an email newsletter available only to VOICES participants launched in April.
“Last year’s participants didn’t want VOICES to end and asked for a way to keep up to date on the topics and continue talking about the future,” explained Patty Slusher, Inland’s Director of Membership and Programming. “The yourvoice newsletter is intended to help keep the conversation going and give members of the VOICES community a chance to respond to the changing newspaper business environment.
The email newsletter will focus on a different topic each issue with updates on new developments and ideas collected not only from newspapers, but also from other media and other industries. The first newsletter looked at alternative ways to fund local journalism. Successive newsletters will feature ideas about new sources of revenue, how to attract and retain young talent, frequency and new ideas for print, what’s working in digital and the other VOICES discussion topics.
“VOICES is just an excellent opportunity to connect with real operators who have the same issues as we do and sharing real ideas or solutions that can be immediately applied,” said Doug Phares, CEO and President of Sandusky News Group after last year’s meeting. “It’s so much better than one-way presentations. Best conference investment I’ve made all year.”
As with past VOICES, this year’s event will open with a reception and dinner on the evening of the 10th followed by a full day of discussion on the 11th. To keep the setting intimate and to facilitate a discussion where every participant is heard, Executive VOICES is limited to just 60 participants.
A post-event survey last year found more than 95% of participants said they like the format of VOICES’ facilitated discussions, with 90% of those participating saying they plan to come back this year.
“This is a good opportunity to discuss some of the biggest and most important issues and opportunities our industry has,” said Bob Woodward, Vice President, Strategic Planning Business Development at Woodward Communications, Inc. “Participants spoke candidly and there were a number of “to-do’s” (or, at least, “to-try’s) coming out of the sessions. Good format and great presenter/facilitators.”
For more information on Executive VOICES or to reserve your seat at the table, contact Patty Slusher, firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (847) 795-0380.