The 8th annual Innovation Mission is over but you can read all about it on the “On the Road” page.

Headline visits include a full day at Google (meeting with teams from the news lab, machine learning, voice assistants, culture & more), a ½ day at Walmart/Sam’s Club (meeting with e-commerce and data scientist teams) and a ½ day at Gannett (video, community news and innovation lab). Other exciting visits include: Roku, The Video Lab/McClatchy, Tribune Broadcasting, Matter, Spirited Media, SocialCode and an immersive AR/VR experience at the Newseum hosted by the National Association of Broadcasters.

Loading Events
  • This event has passed.

The 2017 Innovation Mission takes place May 21 thru May 26. The cost of the Innovation Mission is $4,995.* The IM is limited to only 25 participants and is almost sold out.

“I’m struck by the leadership at the disruptive companies. I find it hard to have regular meetings with my team …  If the disruptors can do it, we can too.” Edwin Ruis, Integrated Revenue Director, Swift Communications


Sunday, May 21

Fly to D.C. (DCA) and check into the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, Arlington, VA (very short ride from Reagan Airport – free shuttle)

3 PM: Introductions and Goals at Hotel

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM: Kickoff meeting – Michael Page, Vice President, Digital Sales, Tribune Media

Our opening kickoff will feature a digital media rock star. Michael Page is leading Tribune’s digital sales efforts and that means a huge focus on video. He will share their strategies around content creation, social media and strategic investments. He’ll also share case studies from Madison2Sunset Brand Studio, an in-house team of producers, writers, designers and storytellers, that are driving serious digital revenue growth for the company.

6:00 PM: Dinner at Jaleo

Monday, May 22

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM: Breakfast roundtable at hotel – topic to be determined (as voted on by the IM participants)

9:00 AM – 11:00 AM: Spirited Media/Jim Brady

Billy Penn, The Incline and now Denverite… Jim Brady is building a digital local news chain with an interesting business model that is showing great potential in the early days.

In this highly interactive session, he will talk about their overall strategy, events as a business model, plans for future growth and why he thinks traditional media companies aren’t transforming fast enough. He’s one of the brightest minds in our industry. This will be a great visit!

Check out this recent blog from Ken Doctor.

Uber transport to Gannett

12:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Gannett (including a working lunch)

Meetings with:

  • Michael Krinzman, VP Video Strategy & Revenue
  • Randy Lovely, Vice President of Community News (oversees content for all of Gannett’s local properties)
  • Kevin Poortinga, Vice President Innovation Lab (oversees all of Gannett’s innovation projects for the entire company)

4:00 PM – 6:00 PM:– Hottest Opportunities with VR & 360 – Hosted by PILOT/National Association of Broadcasters at the Newseum

Time to geek out! Check out the latest VR/AR devices during this interactive and immersive visit to the Newseum. We’ll also learn how local media companies are using and monetizing VR and 360. Thanks to PILOT/NAB for hosting us.

6:30 PM: Dinner at Matchbox

Tuesday, May 23

Breakfast at hotel

7:45 AM: Breakfast at Starbucks

9 AM – 10:30 AM: SocialCode

SocialCode is a technology and insights company that manages digital advertising for the world’s leading consumer brands (Visa, Heineken, Capital One, Nestle to name a few). SocialCode decodes human needs to deliver actionable insights from consumer data on advertising platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

11:00 AM – 1:30 PM: The Video Lab/McClatchy

The Video Lab consists of a central team, based in the Washington, D.C. bureau, that works with more than 1,500 journalists in McClatchy newsrooms around the country.

In 2016, The Video Lab launched a branded content studio to tell compelling narrative stories associated with trusted brands. Later this year, they are launching Video Lab West in Sacramento in collaboration with Google and YouTube.

The close-knit and hard-working team functions like a roll-up-your-sleeves start-up, embracing design thinking principles and an iterative approach to their work.

4:05 PM: Fly to San Francisco; arrive at 6:58 PM. Check into Kimpton Sir Francis Drake.

Wednesday, May 24

8:00 AM: Breakfast at hotel

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Walmart/Sam’s Club e-commerce team, San Bruno, CA

The Fortune 1 company is on the move! They are rapidly transforming their legacy retail business to compete head on with the disruptors. E-commerce is the driving force behind this plan. We’ll spend a ½ day with executives from Sam’s Club and Walmart to learn about these exciting new strategies including their acquisition of We’ll also learn about consumer insights from their team of data scientists. Several top executives will be flying in from Bentonville to join us. This will be a red carpet visit.

12:00 PM: Lunch

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM: Nextdoor

A lot has changed since our visit to Nextdoor, the private social network for neighborhoods, last year. For starters, they moved and rented space in Twitter’s building and they also hired some new senior-level executives with strong credentials. Most recently, they entered into local news distribution partnerships with the St Louis Post-Dispatch, the Houston Chronicle (and 20 of their community weeklies), the San Diego Union-Tribune and soon some local TV stations. During this visit, we’ll learn more about the opportunity to become a beta test partner and get an update on how the partnerships are working so far. The model drives traffic to the local news media’s website and the monetization happens there. There is no revenue-share with Nextdoor. We’ll also spend some time brainstorming on other ways that local media companies might work with Nextdoor.

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM: Matter

Matter is a community of more than 100 entrepreneurs, 49 portfolio companies, 12 partner organizations, and 150+ mentors. They focus on design thinking as applied to early-stage entrepreneurship as applied to the future of media that matters.

Matter looks for early-stage media ventures that are changing media for good. Ventures that have the potential to make society more informed, connected, and empowered. They believe the future of media that matters is being created right now by entrepreneurs and it will be created through lots and lots of experiments.

6:00 PM: Dinner in San Francisco

Thursday, May 25

7:30 AM: Bus ride to Google; breakfast on bus

9 AM – 3 PM: Google 

Full day at Google:

• Kick off and introductions
• News within Google – David Brooks (How does Google work within the news ecosytems; what are some of the key things Google is doing with the news industry
• Cultivating a Culture of Innovation – Jason Washing (How to create an innovative culture; fostering innovation among your workforce – how to make changes with the employees you have)
• Machine Learning – Christine Robson (High level overview of what machine learning is and potential use cases within the news industry)
• Lunch at KitchenSync
• Google Assistant – Alex Feinberg (How can local media companies adapt for AI? What can publishers do now with Google Assistant, and what’s coming in the future)
• Innovation in the Newsroom – Danielle Bowers, NewsLab (Discussion on the different initiatives Google NewsLab is working on to help foster innovation in the editorial rooms)
• Tour Around Google

3:00 PM: Bus transport to Roku

3:45 PM – 5:00 PM: Roku

Visit to include:

  • Overview of Roku’s tools and products
  • Information on audience data
  • How media companies can use and monetize right now
  • An immersive experience with time for hands-on learning
  • Meeting with top-level executives

 5 PM: Bus transport back to hotel

6:15 PM – 8:30 PM: Wrap Up/Debriefing/Dinner – always voted as the group favorite!

Friday, May 26

Participants fly back home (not included in the cost)

The cost of the Innovation Mission is $4,995.*

The IM includes five hotel nights (staying in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco), all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner each day), all transportation during the trip (cabs, buses, airfare from DCA to SFO), AV & meeting room costs, printing costs, etc. The only exclusion is your airfare to D.C. (Reagan/DCA) and your airfare back from San Francisco (SFO).

This payment is non-refundable since we will book your flight and hotel now. Substitutions will be allowed, but once the flights are booked, there will be an additional charge for a new flight for the replacement participant.

*Refunds not available after March 23, 2017.