By Daniel McLoone, Bulletin Correspondent

Speakers at this year’s New England Newspaper Conference

This year’s New England Newspaper Conference will feature expert speakers and roundtable and panel discussions that will focus on topical issues on the news landscape. The other highlights of the conference, to be held Thursday, Oct. 12, at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Natick, Mass., are two key award events: the New England Newspaper Awards luncheon and the Yankee Quill Awards dinner.

Headlining the conference will be keynote speaker Tom Yunt and featured speakers David Woronoff and Glen Johnson. Each will discuss an area of interest for newspaper executives and other journalists

The conference’s morning session will begin with roundtable discussions.

The roundtable topics are:

  • “Are carriers independent contractors or employees? How recent decisions may impact your newspaper.” The discussion will be led by publishers and lawyers.
  • “How to handle the handlers: PR & public safety – Bridge or barrier to info?” sponsored and led by the New England Society of News Editors.
Shawn Palmer
  • “Digital marketing services,” a panel discussion featuring Shawn Palmer, senior vice president and chief revenue officer of RJ Media Group in Meriden, Conn.; Daryl Hively, founder and chief executive officer of Guarantee Digital and The Digital Media Lab in Hartland, Wis.; Robert Scanlon, digital director of The Berkshire Eagle of Pittsfield, Mass., and its parent company, New England Newspapers Inc.

“You can read about initiatives that other newspapers are implementing, but when you get in a room and you hear firsthand from somebody what they’ve done, what made them successful in doing it, and you learn their strategy, it’s really helpful,” Linda Conway, NENPA’s executive director, said of the roundtables. “Having that back-and-forth discussion with a Q&A period allows people to get key tips and take it back to see how it applies to their market.”

Yunt, chief operating officer for United Communications Corporation, based in Kenosha, Wis., and owner of The Sun Chronicle of Attleboro, Mass., will speak later on how newspapers are changing. His topic is “The Newspaper Sur-THRIVAL Guide: Newspaper 101 in the 21st Century.”

“Tom is going to provide some insight and inspiration for the publishers and the executives who want to truly leverage the opportunities that they face in the contemporary news media landscape,” Conway said. “He’s going to be talking about the future of the industry and changes we must make to thrive.”

Yunt’s keynote speech will follow a talk by Woronoff, publisher of The Pilot of Southern Pines, N.C. His topic, “Break out of the familiar to increase your revenue and audience,” will provide insights into new ideas that newspapers can use to adapt to changing sources of revenue.

“David is going to talk about different ways that his newspaper has transformed (itself) and alternative products that they’ve come up with to try to generate new revenue streams for … newspapers. His group is working on some exciting things,” Conway said.

The New England Newspaper Awards luncheon will follow Yunt’s presentation, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. The awards luncheon will feature the following honors: the 2017 New England Newspapers of the Year; the Publick Occurrences Awards; the Allan B. Rogers Editorial Award; the Morley L. Piper First Amendment Award; the Bob Wallack Community Journalism Award; and the AP New England/Sevellon Brown Journalist of the Year.

The afternoon portion of the conference will kick off with Johnson’s talk on “From breaking the news to making the news.” Johnson is a longtime political reporter and former top aide to U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry.

After Johnson’s talk, a panel will discuss “Using analytics to drive newsroom decisions.”

The New England Society of News Editors’ annual meeting to elect new officers concludes the afternoon session. The evening program will begin with the New England Society of News Editors and Yankee Quill cocktail reception from 5 to 7 p.m.

The conference will conclude with the Yankee Quill Awards dinner.

Those being honored this year are Robert Ambrogi, founding editor of Lawyers USA, editor in chief of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, and executive director of the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association; and Robin Young, a veteran television and radio journalist and co-host of National Public Radio’s “Here & Now” program on WBUR-FM in Boston. A posthumous award will be given to James Franklin, the older brother of Benjamin Franklin and a Colonial printer, publisher and author.

The price for the all-day conference, including the awards luncheon, is $109 a person. Admission for the luncheon only is $79 a person.

Tickets for the Yankee Quill Dinner are sold separately and are $85 a person.

Rooms at the Crowne Plaza are available at a discounted rate of $159 a night.

More details about the conference and registration information are available here.