The LMA Innovation Mission kicks off 2018 with a bang! On Feb. 5-7, we’ll travel to Atlanta and Raleigh-Durham for the first time to meet with several of the most dynamic companies in and around local media. Prepare to be wowed by the leading work being done by Cox Media Group, WRAL, and others. You’ll head home with brains buzzing, a notebook full of new ideas, and a peer network that will live on long beyond the trip.

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Click here to register for this Innovation Mission.

Monday, February 5 (all times Eastern)

2:00 p.m.: Innovation Mission kickoff
Attendees share their strategic priorities and goals for the trip

3:00-6:00 p.m.: McClatchy – Jeremy Gockel, Head of Innovation; Andrea Rowan, General Manager, excelerate Digital; Scott Manuel, Vice President, Digital Product & Technology

It’s far from just a newspaper company these days. McClatchy is introducing innovation across its properties, with new digital products and services, including its successful excelerate Digital agency. The company has also built a dedicated innovation team skilled in design thinking to reach human-centered development and drive change initiatives. Attendees will meet with the excelerate, innovation and product teams for a holistic look into the company’s transformation.

6:15 p.m.: Happy Hour with LEAP Media Solutions

LEAP partners with media companies to help them build, understand, and leverage their customer database to monetize audiences and create targeted advertiser programs. Generating direct consumer revenue through audience engagement and loyalty is one of the most critical areas that local media companies are focused on. LEAP has a unique expertise in this domain, and will share case study successes and best practices during this happy hour visit.

7:30 p.m.: Dinner in downtown Raleigh

Tuesday, February 6 (all times eastern)

8:00-10:00 a.m.: UNC Reese News Lab and Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media (CISLM) – Ryan Thornburg, Executive Director, Reese News Lab; Penny Abernathy, Knight Chair in Digital Media Economics

UNC-Chapel Hill is leading groundbreaking research on how
community news can cultivate a sustainable and profitable future. Through the Reese News Lab, it is experimenting with and testing new forms of journalism, with a focus on design thinking as an innovation practice.

Also, UNC’s Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media (CISLM) supports established and
emerging local news organizations through applied research on economic sustainability and entrepreneurship, as well as innovative news and digital product solutions. 

Attendees will learn about CISLM’s groundbreaking “news deserts” research and immerse in its Reese News Lab, with an opportunity to discuss future partnerships. 

10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.: American Underground – Adam Klein, Executive Director

Billed as the “Startup Capital of the South,” American Underground supports nearly 300 startups and entrepreneurial projects. Capitol Broadcasting Company (WRAL’s parent company) has invested in American Underground’s launch and expansion. Their leadership team will discuss the cultures of innovation that exist in their startups, and what lures talent to these tech hubs.

12:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.: WRAL – John Conway, General Manager,; Chris Weatherly, Director of Digital Sales & Operations

“Progressive” has been WRAL’s mantra for its entire 61-year existence. It was the first high-definition TV station, an early pioneer in live streaming, and continues to innovate at a rapid pace across digital platforms. These include OTT, mobile alerts, wearable technology (WRAL news on Apple Watch), and smart audio (integrations with Amazon Alexa and Google Home). The company has also diversified its business with investments in real estate, startup technology, and other sectors. The local media industry sees WRAL as a beacon of innovation – find out why in this exclusive visit!

6:00 p.m.: Dinner in downtown Raleigh

Wednesday, February 7 (all times eastern)

[Fly to Atlanta]

10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.: Cox Media Group –Eric Myers, Multi-Market VP of Sales; Mark Medici, VP of Audience

In this signature visit, attendees will visit the Atlanta headquarters for a half day of strategy sessions and provocative discussions with the multimedia leader. Cox Media senior executives will go in-depth on their successful content verticals strategy, their industry-leading approach to digital audience development and subscriptions, their ongoing sales transformation, YouTube TV and OTT video initiatives, and much more. The visit will span Cox’s diversified portfolio: newspaper, TV and radio, as well as new digital franchises.

3:00-4:30 p.m.: Atlanta Tech Village – Meetings with Tech Village Founder David Cummings, GroundTruth (formerly xAd), and additional startups

Step inside America’s fourth largest technology incubator. The Atlanta Tech Village is building a thriving tech ecosystem, with a mission to support and inspire entrepreneurs to achieve success through a community that promotes faster connections between talent, ideas, and capital. Attendees will meet with several of the “Villager” startups, and also have a private meeting with Tech Village Founder David Cummings, who previously founded Pardot.

4:30-6:00 p.m.: Innovation Mission wrap-up

Attendees share their key takeaways and action items


The Atlanta/Raleigh-Durham Innovation Mission is $2,595 and is limited to only 15 participants, so reserve your spot today! Your registration fee includes three hotel nights, flight between Raleigh and Atlanta and all meals.

If you’re serious about business transformation, new revenue models, and creating cultures of innovation, then this trip is for you!

Click here to make your reservations

Photo is of the group that attended the Boston Innovation Mission in June 2017.


“Attending Innovation Missions has provided amazing unique networking opportunities I wouldn’t have had anywhere else in my career. On two different Innovation Missions I was able to make lifelong professional and personal connections with a network of influential people that I have contacted over the years.”

— Liz White, EVP & Assistant Publisher Record-Journal