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.

Interested in sponsoring the event? Check out all the options.


Growing Digital Subscriptions

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


Four of the industry’s most successful publishers will share the top three things they are doing to grow digital subscriptions. 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 Connelly, 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.

Penny Riordan


Toby Collodora


Brian Connelly


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


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

Instructors: The Seattle Times team including Kristin Dizon, director of development, community funded journalism; publishers in the LMA Lab for Journalism Funding; and Frank Mungeam, LMA chief innovation officer.

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

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.

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.

Evie Kevish


Robin Gruen


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

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

CEOs Discuss Industry Hot Topics — noon – 1 p.m.

Emily Barr


Leading chief 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.

Confirmed: Emily Barr, chief executive officer, Graham Media Group. Other leading CEOs have been invited.

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

Sam Matheny


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.

Life Beyond Retrans: How to grow local revenue in the post-pandemic world — 2 p.m. – 3 p.m.

Cable and satellite operators pay local TV stations and their ownership groups substantial sums for rights to carry the stations’ broadcast signals to subscribers — a relationship better known as retransmission consent, or retrans for short. So what happens when cord-cutters diminish the number of cable and satellite subscribers, networks insist on higher programming fees, and purveyors of streaming bundles pay far less for local signals? What are the local revenue drivers station owners can employ for a future beyond retrans? This panel explores those options.

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

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.