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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The name says it best. Elevate! will be about local media taking digital strategies to higher altitudes, with the best possible customer experiences and strongest possible results. Bring your appetite for winning product, revenue and management ideas to Chicago, and prepare to gather plenty of actionable insights to take back to your teams.

You won’t want to miss it. Here’s what we have planned:

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.)

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


    12:30-1:30: 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.

  • 1:30-3:00: Two workshops: unconscious bias training, and creating a culture of inclusion and equity.
    • Tracie Powell


      The Business Case for Inclusion and Equity – Presented by Tracie Powell, Senior Fellow, Democracy Fund. 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.

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.

5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. – Welcome Reception: 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.

8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. – Keynote Presentation: Watch this space! We are working to recruit a well-known digital industry leader to launch us into this day of discoveries.

9:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m. – Branded Content Workshop: At Elevate!, we will present outcomes and Facebook Journalism Projectprogress 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 hour will be a general session with strategic overviews. Then, after the break, the workshop will break into two tracks where we present and discuss specific outcomes from the alpha partner locations.

10:30 a.m.-11 a.m. – Break with R&D Partners

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Branded Content Workshop Continues in Two Tracks: Attendees can select either of two subsets of alpha group participants to hear from and discuss project results. This workshop will wrap up with 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 first half of this workshop will present findings and takeaways from the GNI Digital Subscriptions Lab, a partnership of Google News Initiative, LMA and FTI Consulting. The Subscriptions Lab is a six-month program focused on finding paths forward for reader revenue strategies, and at Elevate! we plan to illuminate the most promising paths. After a break, the second half of this workshop will feature sessions focused on how to organize local efforts toward consumer revenue; create insights and inform decisions; break down silos; and build effective marketing strategies.

12:30 p.m.-5 p.m. – Focus on Digital Advertising and Marketing Products: Whether you’re running a full-line digital agency for your clients or providing just a few digital products to supplement sales of your own inventory, you need the latest battle-tested techniques to compete and grow. And you need strategies to provide high-quality customer experiences for both ad/marketing clients and the information consumers who visit your digital properties. Learn from experts inside and outside the local media business about making better build/buy decisions; managing complexity in products and sales; and improving customer experience as a catalyst for revenue and profit.

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

5:00-6:00 – 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.

8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. – Keynote Presentation: Watch this space! We are working to recruit a well-known digital industry leader with a focus on customer experience to lead off the day.

9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. – Customer Experience-focused Sessions: Whether we think of it as customer experience, customer service, user experience, user interface, usability, or simply design, we ignore at our peril the importance of how customers (clients and consumers) use and react to our many products and services. How can digital business leaders apply design thinking and product development approaches from the user experience community? Can we avoid customer experience traps resulting from both ad-supported and user-supported digital properties? Do we invest enough, locally and as an industry, to develop, test and deploy effective customer experiences? We’re working to develop sessions aimed at all of these questions.

10:30 a.m.-11 a.m. – Break with R&D Partners

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



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@localmedia.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

Click here to book your room.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile

511 North Columbus Drive Chicago, IL 60611


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