Elevate! – A partnership of Local Media Association and Local Media Consortium

Sept. 17-19 | Embassy Suites by Hilton, Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile

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Conference presentations available for download here

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. – One-on-One Meetings with R&D Partners: This is a terrific opportunity to pick six companies that can help you grow digital revenue or assist with your media transformation plans. Simply choose six or more companies with which you want to meet for 15 minutes each. You will then receive a $150 discount to attend. (Note: One representative per company is eligible for the discount. Available to the first 50 media executives that register.) Click here to read about the R&D partners participating.

12:30 p.m.-3 p.m. – Inclusion and Equity Conference Kickoff Workshop and Lunch funded by the Google News Initiative: Join us as we tackle diversity and gender issues in the media industry in an honest, transparent and proactive way. Sessions include:

Mekka Okereke


  • 12:30 p.m.-1:30 p.m. – Lunch with keynote address by Mekka Okereke, engineering director for growth on Google Play, one of the largest digital marketplaces on earth. Mekka is passionate about building diverse and inclusive teams. His organization is one of the most inclusive engineering teams at Google and comprised of 10% black, 10% Latinx, half of the managers are women, and 30% of the software engineers are women. He is involved in several diversity initiatives at Google and is an executive sponsor of Project Lifesaver and Howard West. Prior to Google, he was at Amazon, where he led the Appstore Developer Services organization. He is a frequent speaker, consultant, and mentor sharing his expertise with leaders on inclusivity in the workplace, diversity in tech, and successful team building.
    Tracie Powell


  • 1:30 p.m.-2:15 p.m. – The Business Case for Inclusion and Equity: In this session, Tracie Powell will lay out the business case for inclusion and equity. Powell is the founder of AllDigitocracy.org, which focuses on how media impacts communities of color. She is also a Senior Fellow with the Democracy Fund and a 2016 JSK (Knight) Fellow at Stanford University where she researched how techniques used in online advertising to reach specific customers could be used by newsrooms to reach specific news consumers and to grow audience. She’s written regularly for the Columbia Journalism Review and Poynter. She earned a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and clerked for the U.S. Department of Justice. She’s reported for several daily newspapers including The Austin American-Statesman and The Augusta Chronicle.
    Presenter: Tracie Powell, Senior Fellow, Democracy Fund.
  • Christy Harris


    Beth Malecki


    2:15 p.m.-3 p.m. – Deputizing everyone to be a champion of diversity: During this fireside chat, we’ll learn about the great work going on at Allstate when comes to building an inclusive team.
    Presenters: Christy Harris, Vice President Talent Acquisition & Inclusion Diversity, Allstate; Beth Kirk Malecki, Partner, Officer Business Leader, Mercer.

3 p.m.-6:30 p.m. – Exhibit Foyer Open: Spend time getting to know the product and service offerings from our R&D Partners.

Facebook Journalism Project5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. – Welcome Reception sponsored by Facebook Journalism Project: Join us in the exhibit foyer for drinks and appetizers. Meet some of the industry’s most progressive R&D partners and network with industry peers.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

8 a.m.-5:45 p.m. – Exhibit Foyer Open: Spend time getting to know the product and service offerings from our R&D Partners.

Jason Washing


8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. – Keynote: Q&A with Google’s Jason Washing: In this candid discussion and Q&A session, hear how Google views partnerships and business collaborations with local media, and what opportunities may be ahead. Washing leads a team in charge of defining and implementing Google solutions for the news and magazine industries. His team facilitates and strategizes with those partners to ensure optimal use of Google products and partner solutions to drive maximum revenue and profitability.

Presenter: Jason Washing, managing director, global partnerships, partner business solutions at Google. Moderators: Nancy Lane, president, Local Media Association; Fran Wills, CEO, Local Media Consortium.

Facebook Journalism Project9:30 a.m.- 10:45 a.m. – Branded Content Workshop: At Elevate!, we will present outcomes and progress from the media companies that participated as alpha partners of The Branded Content Project, a joint initiative of LMA, LMC and the Facebook Journalism Project. You’ll learn what local advertisers have to say about their experiences with branded content in many forms, as well as how the alpha partners used learnings to shape or reshape their branded content product lines. The first half will be a general session with strategic overviews. Then, after the break, the workshop will break into smaller groups where we present and discuss specific outcomes from the alpha partner locations.

10:45 a.m.- 11:15 a.m. – Break with R&D Partners

11:15 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. – Branded Content Workshop: Attendees will select two of three subsets of alpha group participants to discuss project results, branded content strategy and specific details from their initiatives. This workshop will include a working lunch at noon sponsored by the Facebook Journalism Project.

Wednesday afternoon features two concurrent workshop tracks:

12:30 p.m.-5 p.m. – Focus on Consumer Revenue: The 10 newspapers participating in the GNI Digital Subscriptions Lab, a partnership of Google News Initiative/News Consumer Insights, LMA and FTI Consulting, will report on their roadmap strategies that include testing everything from new approaches to newsletters, retention efforts, membership models, pricing strategies, content distribution playbooks and more. We also will present an overview of industry benchmarking. Participating companies include: The Houston Chronicle/Hearst, The Baltimore Sun/Tribune, The Toronto Star, The Southeast Missourian, The Post and Courier, Portland Press Herald, The Buffalo News, El Nuevo Dia, The Columbus Dispatch/GateHouse Media, Idaho Press/Adams Publishing Group, FTI Consulting and GNI/News Consumer Insights. After the break with R&D partners, the second part of this workshop includes:

  • 3:15 p.m.-4:15 p.m. – Research on cultivating reader habit: Tom Collinger, the executive director of the Medill IMC Spiegel Digital and Database Research Center, will share the latest research from Medill’s Local News Initiative which indicates, among other findings, that cultivating a habit with readers is key to a digital subscription program. Collinger will then be joined on stage by Chrissy Taylor, managing editor at the Chicago Tribune and a participant in the Medill research, and Rodney Gibbs, chief product officer at the Texas Tribune, to talk about the importance of understanding audience behaviors and user experience in executing subscription and membership programs.
  • 4:15 p.m.-5 p.m. – Engaging with readers: Maria Archangelo, chief revenue officer at Chalkbeat, Julie Philipp, senior engagement editor at the Gannett-owned Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, and Mitch Pugh, executive editor of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier, will discuss why listening to and engaging with readers, in real life, online and in your news gathering process is fundamental to improving your coverage, your digital products and in rebuilding trust with your community as part of a reader revenue strategy.
    • Moderator: Damon Kiesow, Knight Chair in Digital Editing and Producing, Missouri School of Journalism.
Aron Pilhofer


Justin Ferrell


Facebook Journalism Project

12:30 p.m.-5 p.m. – Focus on Design Thinking and Organizational Design: As technology continues to change how people interact, we can learn from human behavior to design organizations that resonate. This human-centered approach is the foundation of the Stanford d.school’s incredible growth, where our presenter and facilitator, Justin Ferrell, is based. In this interactive session, we will highlight how the way we work together directly impacts what we produce and how we resonate with consumers; how the nature of organizational systems is evolving; and how in the emerging model leaders inspire behaviors among people from different disciplines to co-create unimagined outcomes in the spaces between. After Ferrell’s session, Aron Pilhofer, the James B. Steele Chair in Journalism Innovation from Temple University, will lead a group discussion of all the concepts introduced.

Presenter: Justin Ferrell, strategic partnerships lead, Institute of Design at Stanford; discussion leader: Aron Pilhofer, James B. Steele Chair in Journalism Innovation, Temple University

2:45 p.m.-3:15 p.m. – Break with R&D Partners (for both concurrent tracks)

5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. – R&D Reception with the LMA and LMC Board of Directors

Thursday, September 19, 2019

8 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Exhibit Foyer Open: Spend time getting to know the product and service offerings from our R&D Partners.

Ann Hintzman


8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. – Keynote: Are you ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution? New technologies can unlock new ways of creating value for your organization, partners, and customers. The challenge many organizations face is how to capture this new value and keep up with change. This talk, presented by Ann Hintzman from Salesforce’s Office of Innovation, will explore the new context for business, share the mindsets and disciplines of organizations creating new value and help you diagnose where you stand.

Presenter: Ann Hintzman, senior director and practice lead, Central/East Salesforce Ignite team

9:30 a.m.-10:15 a.m. – User Experience of Digital News: Does the design of your news websites and apps reflect a commitment to internal business objectives, or to customer experience and strengthening engagement? Can both sets of needs be met in one design framework? Alley, a strategy, design and development firm that has worked with multiple local media groups on user experience, wrestles with the conflicts inherent in news design in many of its projects. In this discussion, hear how the team at Alley approaches such conflicts, and how they worked with The Dallas Morning News this year on a thorough redesign of its digital brands.

Presenter: Austin Smith, CEO, Alley.

10:15 a.m.-10:45 a.m. – Break with R&D Partners

Amber Burgess


Emilie Lutostanski


10:45 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Local News Performance on Facebook: In this session, we will review CrowdTangle’s U.S. Local News Trends Report, an analysis of how local news is performing on Facebook so far in 2019, which includes data from more than 2,000 LMA and LMC member Facebook pages. Learn how much of the local news industry is performing on Facebook, including growth rates, post types, and interactions. With insights into peer trends and success, this session offers actionable takeaways for growing audience organically on Facebook.

Presenters: Emilie Lutostanski, director, Local News Resource Center; Amber Burgess, CrowdTangle.

11:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m. – Elevate! Wrap-Up and Takeaways


Meet our Elevate! sponsors and exhibitors!


LMA & LMC Members/Partners: $795
Association Partners: $845
Non-member/partners: $895

Google News Initiative, LMA & LMC Announce 50 Scholarships for Elevate!

No refunds will be given after Aug. 17.

Contact Lindsey Estes (Lindsey.estes@nulllocalmedia.org) for any questions about registration or sponsorship opportunities.

Hotel Information:
Embassy Suites by Hilton Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile
511 North Columbus Drive, Chicago, Illinois,60611

The hotel is currently sold out at this time.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile

511 North Columbus Drive Chicago, IL 60611


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