See you at the Annual Meetings

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By Tim Timmons

What if I told you that you could get away for a day or two, relax a little and at the same time get some tools to help your business do better this year?

Welcome to the 2012 HSPA and HSPA Foundation Annual Meet­ings and Government Con­ference.

Long name, amazing event. So plan to be in Indianapolis Feb. 16-17.

Annual Meetings & Government Conference

When: Thursday-Friday, Feb. 16-17

Where: Indian­apolis Marriott Downtown

Registration: Click here to download a form to fax or register online.

Hotel reservations and information: Shawn Goldsby, sgoldsby@hspa.com or (317) 803-4772

I know, I know, you’re already coming up with the excuses.

The press needs washing … You have to take the carriers out for lunch … The newsroom wants to discuss 10 ways to write shorter stories.

But hang on. This event is well worth your time. 

It’s no secret that attendance has declined at our annual meetings.

For those who have been going, there are fewer people and more empty chairs (which also means fewer folks conversing around the watering holes).

The decline has been a topic of conversation with your HSPA board of directors.

While no one pretends to have all the answers, we are hoping that those conversations (some of which occurred around the aforementioned watering holes) as well as some talks with our talented staff will lead to an improved conference this year.

For example:

  • One free Thursday night hotel stay per paper at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown.
  • Lowered registration fee.
  • Innovative speakers.
  • A change from the Wednesday-Thursday format to Thursday-Friday
  • More roundtable discussions.

In addition, the topics that are planned are designed to be the type of news that you can use when you get back home.

Things like:

  • An advertising training program available free to HSPA-member newspapers. (You’re going to like this. It’s a program to help improve your staff’s ability to sell.)
  • Ideas on retaining circulation.
  • A focus on the digital side of our business
  • Ways to save money.

Of course there are also the regular conference highlights like the annual presentations of the Frank O’Bannon Sunshine Award the Distinguished Service Award and the reception with the governor.

We’d also like to hear your ideas on how to make future conferences better.

After all, there is a great collection of talent and brainpower in one place and, Lord knows, we’re in a time where we can use all the help we can get.

So mark your calendars for Feb. 16 and 17.

Even more important, get your registration in by Jan. 20 to take advantage of the reduced rate.

And if you see a big guy who looks clueless somewhere near a watering hole …

Tim Timmons is publisher of The Paper of Montgomery County (Crawfordsville) and The Times (Noblesville) and president of the HSPA board of directors.