Accelerate Local 2021

A virtual conference Feb. 22-26, 2021

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Accelerate Local 2021 offers workshop-style sessions with four distinct themes:

  • Growing Digital Subscriptions
  • Journalism Funded by Philanthropy
  • Branded Content
  • Strategies for TV Broadcasters

Registration is free for employees of LMA member companies in good standing. For non-members, registration is $495 per person with access to all workshops.

Thank you to our gold sponsors, iPublish Media and

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Growing Digital Subscriptions

Social News DeskSponsored by Social News Desk

One session offered on two dates — choose the one that works best for you:
Monday, Feb. 22 and Thursday, Feb. 25 | 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Eastern time both days

Liz White


Kelli Dakake


Curtis Huber


Five of the industry’s most successful publishers will focus on six key themes during this hands-on workshop: content, retention, lead generation/acquisition, pricing/checkout experience, culture/goal setting, and keeping the audience at the center of it all. They will then be available in small breakout sessions to answer questions and provide more information on their strategy and execution.

Moderator: Penny Riordan, former director of product, audience engagement for Gannett. Instructors: Toby Collodora, senior manager, engagement and retention, Star Tribune Media Co.; Brian Connolly, vice president for business development, The Buffalo News; Kelli Dakake, vice president, digital acquisition, Hearst Newspapers; Liz White, executive vice president and publisher, The Record Journal; and Curtis Huber, senior director, circulation and audience revenue, The Seattle Times.

Penny Riordan


Toby Collodora


Brian Connolly


We will distribute a survey in advance of the workshop that is required as part of attending this session. To make this a true, interactive workshop, each session will be limited to 40 logged in participants (multiple people from the same company can use one Zoom link).

Journalism Funded by Philanthropy

One session offered on two dates — choose the one that works best for you:
Wednesday, Feb. 24 and Friday, Feb. 26 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. Eastern time both days

Kristin Dizon


Joaquin Alvarado


Frank Mungeam


Workshop: Best practices and lessons learned to activate philanthropy as one pillar for sustainable journalism funding, including:

  • Sizing the opportunity: How big is the potential for philanthropy?
  • Three best types of reporting to fund through philanthropy
  • Questions a publisher must answer to secure funding
  • Three top paths to fundraising
  • Structuring the funder/publisher relationship ethically
  • Case studies of success from LMA Philanthropy Lab






Wednesday, Feb. 24: Joaquin Alvarez, executive director of Project Accelerate at The Seattle Times; Autumn Phillips, The Post and Courier (Charleston, S.C.); Larry Lee, publisher/owner, The Sacramento Observer; and Frank Mungeam, chief innovation officer, LMA.

Friday, Feb. 26: Kristin Dizon, director of development, community funded journalism, The Seattle Times; Manuel C. Coppola, Nogales International; Jerry DiColo, Advocate; and Frank Mungeam, chief innovation officer, LMA.

To make this a true, interactive workshop, each session will be limited to 40 logged in participants (multiple people from the same company can use one Zoom link).

Branded Content
Sponsored by Creative Circle 

Two distinct sessions — Tuesday, Feb. 23 and Thursday, Feb. 25 | 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Eastern time both days

Tuesday, Feb. 23: Day 1 — Sell Us a Story – Storytelling Creation Strategies Designed to Increase Revenue

Adrian Fulle


Julia Campbell


Jared Merves


Branded content uses the strength of storytelling to provide a valuable benefit to advertisers while increasing audience engagement and revenue for local media publishers. In this workshop, industry experts will share advice for creating branded content initiatives, why your sales teams should have branded content in their toolbox, and explain how to create content video and digital content for brands and advertisers.

Evie Kevish


Robin Gruen


Co-hosts: Jared Merves, chief revenue officer, Distributed Media Lab; and Julia Campbell, general manager, The Branded Content Project. Instructors: Adrian Fulle, senior brand marketing strategist at Infinium Marketing Group / former executive producer at Variety Brand Studio; Robin Gruen, vice president, content, revenue and strategy at Lee Enterprises; Evie Kevish, project manager and native advertising expert at Shaw Media Marketing.

Activity: We will create a pitch for “mystery bag” products that tell a story but isn’t a commercial. We’ll take some unique products and dive into storytelling that sells and creates brand affinity. 

Thursday, Feb. 25: Day 2 — What’s Your Story? Pitching, Positioning and Perfecting Your Branded Content Sales Presentation

In this workshop, we’ll showcase how to build monetization through branded content. We’ll show you the growing opportunity with branded content initiatives that cross platforms, market size and media type. And we’ll learn how to pitch, position and perfect your branded content presentation.

Lauren Batcheller


Amber Aldrich


Penda Howell


You will leave with tools, strategies and proven methods for selling and creating a local storytelling solution.

Peter Lamb


Julia Campbell


Co-hosts: Peter Lamb, president at Lamb Consulting; Julia Campbell, general manager at The Branded Content Project. Instructors: Penda Howell, co-founder / chief operating officer, AM Newspaper Media Marketing Services; Amber Aldrich, senior director of advertising at Seattle Times Media Solutions; Lauren Batcheller, national digital sales manager, programmatic revenue at Graham Media Group.

Activity: Together, we’ll create a :60 elevator pitch for selling branded content. At the conclusion of this activity, you will have a pitch ready talking points for your next proposal.

Strategies for TV broadcasters

Social News DeskSponsored by Social News Desk

A half-day of discussions with leaders and subject-matter specialists in local TV — Friday, Feb. 26 | noon – 4 p.m. Eastern time

Local TV Executives Discuss Industry Hot Topics — noon – 1 p.m.

Gordon Borrell


Pat LaPlatney


Emily Barr


Leading executives in TV broadcasting describe their strategic approaches to today’s hot topics in the industry: the rollout and applications of ATSC 3.0, Over-The-Top and Connected TV, and the future of local broadcasting as the retransmission consent economy evolves.

Panelists: Emily Barr, chief executive officer, Graham Media Group; Pat LaPlatney, co-CEO and president, Gray Television. Moderator: Gordon Borrell, chief executive officer, Borrell Associates.

NextGenTV: what ATSC 3.0 means for you, your content, and your revenue — 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.

Jake Volcsko


Sam Matheny


Kerry Oslund


Catherine Badalamente


Anne Schelle


ATSC 3.0, marketed as NextGenTV, has been heralded as the next great thing in TV broadcasting, with markedly better picture and sound quality, and, eventually, the merging of broadcast and internet content into a seamless experience. This discussion will delve into ways the industry and leading media groups are considering and moving ahead with ATSC 3.0.

Panelists: Anne Schelle, Pearl TV; Catherine Badalamente, chief innovation officer, Graham Media Group; Sam Matheny, CTO and executive vice president, National Association of Broadcasters; Kerry Oslund, vice president of strategy and business development, The E.W. Scripps Co. Moderator: Jake Volcsko, Chief Digital Officer, Connecticut Public.

Growing new local opportunities: revenue and product — 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Jay Small


Maria Doherty


Tony Courtwright


Lisa Bishop


Andrew Ramsammy


Broadcasters know the foundational revenue streams of this business: newscasts with advertising stalwarts such as automotive clients; political and issue campaigns; and retransmission consent deals. The industry has positioned itself to defend those revenue streams even as market conditions pose new threats to them. But where do we see the best new revenue and product opportunities in the years ahead — a chance to go on offense?

Panelists: Maria Doherty, senior director, digital sales strategy, Nexstar Digital; Lisa Bishop, chief digital officer, Allen Media Broadcasting/Heartland Media; Andrew Ramsammy, director, digital content, Global Sport Institute, Arizona State University; Tony Courtwright, director of digital media, News Press and Gazette Co. Moderator: Jay Small, LMA chief operating officer.

How OTT and CTV are changing local broadcast digital content and revenue strategies — 3 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Tom Sly


Jesse McCambridge


Jennifer Mitchell


Lora Dennis


Over-The-Top and Connected TV services — from Apple TV to Fire TV to Roku to sets from leading manufacturers with internet connectivity and streaming apps built-in — present both opportunities and challenges for local TV broadcasters and their digital strategy leaders. Hear from local broadcast and digital leaders on the wins and the risks of OTT and CTV.

Panelists: Jennifer Mitchell, senior vice president, content development, ABC Owned Television Stations; Lora Dennis, senior vice president, digital media, NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations; Jesse McCambridge, senior director, digital revenue and sales strategy, Cox Media Group. Moderator: Tom Sly, vice president/digital revenue, The E.W. Scripps Co., and chair, LMA Board of Directors.



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