“Come Hell or High Water,” Texas Press Association members will meet Jan. 18-20 at the Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Convention Center in Galveston for the 2018 Midwinter Conference and Trade Show.
The conference, named to honor Texas’ newspapers response to natural disasters ranging from wildfires to Hurricane Harvey, features topical programs by guest speakers, member-led discussions, the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony and banquet and a 60-booth trade show, as well as the annual silent auction benefiting the Texas Newspaper Foundation.
Registration forms are available online at http://texaspress.com/midwinter-conference. Deadline for registration is Jan. 3. Newspapers that have subscribed to and run two of the three TPS advertising networks – TexSCAN, Texas Display Network and Texas Online Newtwork – for the past calendar year will receive one complimentary registration, including meals and hotel accommodations covering the nights of Jan. 18-19. Ad Network participants should use the Ad Network registration form, and hotel reservations are made for them by TPA.
For non-Ad Network participating members, the TPA sleeping room rate is $124 per night and reservations must be made by calling Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa & Convention Center, Galveston, at 888-388-8484 or 409-741-8484 by Jan. 3.
Trade show booths are still available. Contact Ed Sterling at 512-477-6755 for more information.
The conference theme, “Come Hell or High Water,” acknowledges that Texas newspapers do their job even amid the manifold difficulties and sufferings from hurricanes and wildfires in 2017.
Mike Blinder, president and founder of The Blinder Group, is special guest speaker for the Friday, Jan. 19, luncheon. He is an author and recognized expert on media advertising and sales, having generated more than $100 million for the global industry in multimedia ad sales. Theme for his presentation is “It’s Time For Us to Get Our Swagger Back!”
“There is no question that digital disruption is affecting our audience and profits,” he said. “However, are we living a self-fulfilling prophecy’ by moving our focus away from leveraging our editorial assets as a core revenue source?
“There is profit for newspapers when we focus on what we do best,” he explained, “and polish up our products and packages so they become more exciting to our audience and advertisers.” He will dissect the latest research and data that proves the newspaper industry is still viable with a great future based on products that are proven to work.
Other conference speakers include Eric Buskirk of Verican, who will speak on how to monetize a newspaper’s print, web and social media products; Bailey Dabney, publisher of the Fauquier (Virginia) Times, presenting a circulation-building program; a panel discussion featuring publishers Laurie Brown, The Canadian Record, and Mary Judson, Port Aransas South Jetty, sharing their experiences in recent wildfire- and hurricane-stricken regions; an advertising idea exchange; and Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, University of Kentucky, keynote speaker for the Hall of Fame Awards banquet.
In addition to the scheduled programs, Legislative Committee Chairman Bill Patterson and TPA Executive Vice President Donnis Baggett will give members a review of the 2017 legislative session and discuss what’s coming up in 2019.
On Thursday, Jan. 18, the registration desk opens at 10 a.m. Board and officer meetings, past presidents’ dinner and other events will fill the afternoon and evening. The trade show opening reception, sponsored by eType Services, begins at 6:30 p.m. A hospitality event sponsored by Shweiki Media begins at 9 p.m.
On Friday, Jan. 19, the trade show and silent auction will be open in the Moody Gardens Convention Center until noon. Following the luncheon sponsored by Explore Branson, the general session opens at 1:45 p.m. A hospitality event sponsored by Jackson Walker LLP follows the general session and the Hall of Fame dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. The president’s reception at 9 p.m. closes the day’s activities. Southern Newspapers is sponsor of the event.
On Saturday, Jan. 20, the general session reopens at 8 a.m. with member-led discussions. The closing brunch sponsored by Century Link is set for 10 a.m. Saturday.