2018 Mega-Conference

Industry leaders to share strategies about investing in newspapers

Penny Muse Abernathy (moderator), Mark Adams, Mark Aldam, Jeremy Halbreich and Jim Moroney
Penny Muse Abernathy (moderator), Mark Adams, Mark Aldam, Jeremy Halbreich and Jim Moroney

A panel of top industry leaders, innovators and investors will share the strategy they are taking with their investments, their priorities and concerns for 2018 at next month's Key Executives Mega-Conference in San Diego.

Panelists will include:

  • Penelope Muse Abernathy (moderator), Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Mark Adams, CEO, Adams Publishing Group, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Mark E. Aldam, executive vice president and chief operating officer, Hearst, New York, N.Y.
  • Jeremy Halbreich, chairman and CEO, AIM Media Management, Dallas, Texas
  • Jim Moroney, publisher and CEO, The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas, and CEO, A.H. Belo Corporation

"How do you decide when and where to invest? That's the primary question confronting newspaper publishers or owners, whether they are purchasing companies or investing in papers they own to increase their value," says Penny Abernathy. "Our panel of industry thought-leaders will discuss their own investment strategies and expectations of what they will receive in return."

Jim Moroney says newspaper companies can't "just extend the runway."  Instead they need to "build a new and durable one." 

"The problem: Time isn't on our side," he says.  "Let's talk about what we can do."

Jeremy Halbreich believes strongly that newspapers continue to represent very attractive investment opportunities. "Yes, the industry is changing and evolving with lightning speed, but why should our industry be different from anyone else's in this regards?"

Halbreich said, "It calls upon us to work harder, faster and smarter. Our investment strategy provides attractive investment returns while allowing us to provide the critical and essential service of journalism in our respective communities. This excites me and it excites all of my associates."   

At Adams Publishing Group: "Do we believe in the future of newspapers?  Yes!" says Mark Adams. "Are we buying newspapers? Yes! Will we continue? Yes! Our investment thesis is really pretty simple. Please join me and the other panelists for a thoughful and frank conversation and presentation about our future as publishers, innovators and consolidators of this great news media."

Mark Aldam of Hearst Newspapers also believes strongly in the future of newspapers.  He said, "At Hearst, we believe local newspapers have several unique advantages to flex along the path toward a sustainable and highly profitable business model."

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About our presenters:

Penelope (Penny) Muse Abernathy, a former executive at The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, is the Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics at the University of North Carolina.  She specializes in preserving quality journalism by researching new business models that help news organizations succeed economically in the digital age. She has more than 30 years of experience as both a journalist and senior business executive, and is the author of two books: "Saving Community Journalism: The Path to Profitability," published in 2014, and "The Strategic Digital Media Entrepreneur," to be published June 2018.

Mark Adams was born and raised in Minneapolis. He attended Tufts University and the London School of Economics, and earned a bachelor's degree in economics in 1984. After working in sales and management for outdoor advertising firm Ackerley Communications, Adams joined M/C Partners (formerly TA Associates), a Boston-based private equity firm specializing in media. While at M/C Partners, he earned an MBA and an MS in communications from Boston University attending evening classes.

Adams managed the B2B, medical and financial publishing portfolios for M/C Partners for 20 years, overseeing a multi-year, multi-platform roll-up in the specialty magazine space.

Since 2010, he has consulted for various publishing businesses, including those owned by his closely-held family holding company. His advisory services have included sales and marketing management, circulation strategies, finance and restructuring, and content and digital development activities.

In late 2013, with backing from his family, he launched Adams Publishing Group, LLC, with the sole purpose of building a community newspaper company. APG has made numerous acquisitions since its first in March 2014. It currently employs 2,300 print and digital professionals in 11 states. Adams is CEO of the company, and quarterbacks its acquisition activities.

Mark E. Aldam is president of Hearst Newspapers and a senior vice president and director of Hearst Corporation. Since 2011, he has presided over Hearst's newspapers and local media businesses, growing the number of newspapers to 24 dailies and 65 weeklies along with more than 50 digital businesses.  Hearst Newspapers have increased earnings in each of the past six years, growing total revenue intermittently over this period.

Prior to joining Hearst in 2006 as publisher of the Albany Times Union,  Aldam was senior vice president/chief operating officer of The Hartford Courant, owned by the Tribune Company. Aldam joined The Hartford Courant in 1994 as advertising director and was named senior vice president/chief operating officer in 2005. Prior to that, he spent almost four years as senior vice president/general manager of the newspaper. Over the course of his career at The Courant, Aldam held positions overseeing sales, marketing and advertising. 

He serves on the executive committee of the News Media Alliance, formerly NAA, and the American Press Institute, is also a board member of the International Center for Journalism and is a founding board member of Nucleus Marketing Services. 

Jeremy L. Halbreich is founder, chairman and CEO of AIM Media Management LLC of Dallas, Texas, the management company overseeing AIM Media Texas LLC, AIM Media Indiana LLC and AIM Media Midwest LLC.

He has served as chairman and CEO of Sun-Times Media (Chicago); founder, chairman, president and CEO of American Consolidated Media (Dallas), publisher of 110 titles across 10 states; and president and general manager of The Dallas Morning News. He currently serves on the boards of M. Roberts Media (Longview, Marshall and Victoria, Texas), the Inland Press Association where he is president of the Inland Foundation, The Harvard Crimson Graduate Board and the UT Southwestern Medical Center President's Advisory Council. He served several years as a mentor with the SNPA NEX GEN program, for 30 years on the board of trustees at the Dallas Museum of Art, president of the Texas Daily Newspaper Association, and he is a member of the Texas Newspaper Hall of Fame. 

James M. Moroney III is the chairman, president and chief executive officer of A. H. Belo Corporation. He has served as executive vice president of A. H. Belo since November 2007.  He continues to serve as publisher and chief executive officer of The Dallas Morning News, a position he has held since June 2001.

Moroney presently serves on the boards of The Associated Press, the News Media Alliance, The Dallas Foundation, for which he presently serves as the chair of the Board of Governors, the State Fair of Texas, the Advisory Board of the College of Communications at the University of Texas and the Bishop's Finance Council of the Diocese of Dallas.

In April 2004, Editor & Publisher selected Moroney as Publisher of the Year for his accomplishments at The Dallas Morning News.  In 2012, he served as chairman of the Newspaper Association of America (now named News Media Alliance). In 2012, he received the Frank W. Mayborn Award from the Texas Daily Newspaper Association for Community Leadership. In 2016, he received the Frank W. Mayborn Leadership Award from SNPA.

So Many Options to Choose From at Mega!
The 2018 Mega-Conference will have more than three dozen sessions for attendees to choose from – offering an array of professional development opportunities with something for everyone.

Learn about TEAM DISCOUNTS for newspapers that bring more than one person to the conference.

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The Key Executives Mega-Conference is a joint effort of the Inland Press Association, Local Media Association, Southern Newspaper Publishers Association, News Media Allliance and the California News Publishers Association.

In its eighth year, Mega-Conference attendance ranges from 700-900 attendees. Most of the attendees are owners, publishers, digital officers or revenue officers of media operations with both print and digital assets, serving their local communities.  A sizable trade show is associated with the conference.



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