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HSPA Annual Meeting - It's About Content and Workflow

CJ lookin' good at our sponsor table. The question of the day: "What is Pigeon?"

CJ Doss and I attended the Hoosier State Press Association annual meeting last week as sponsors in Indianapolis. This was the first meeting of its kind we've attended. It was like a big family reunion as publishers, editors, and CEOs of the news and publishing business shared their ups and downs, their wins and their losses.

I wasn't able to attend all the meetings, but the few I did pick up were insightful. I really got the feeling that most everyone was there to really enhance their ability to bring more value to their community. The newspaper industry has lost some of it's relevance, notice I said some, in recent years as the medium of news consumption has been changing. It is encouraging to see so much focus on digital engagement. The long-form print newspaper must adapt in the era of Facebook, Twitter, and diminishing attention spans.

I am seeing the papers coagulate much better with technology than when I first got involved in the newspaper market about three years ago. Good progress is being made, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Nick Johnson and CJ Doss on the AstroTurf in the Indianapolis Super Dome.

We got a private tour of the Colt's Super Dome, which was awesome! We were able to visit the locker room, see the suites and the press box, then walk on the AstroTurf, which apparently the Indianapolis Super Dome has one of the most unique turfs. It truly was amazing to walk on.

The Governor's Reception was pleasant as awards were exchanged and service was acknowledged. The best part was having a meal with some truly bright minds in the industry. Thanks to Jim Hart for some lively conversation regarding the importance of direct marketing.

A lot was said about content and workflow, but one thing seemed to be missing the whole time we were there. That was 'beauty'.

It is said that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover. This is true to an extent, but let's be realistic. People have a hard time opening an offensive looking book. The one thing that stood out the most was the need for newspapers to work on improving the beauty of their presentation. The truth is many newspaper websites are hard to navigate and are just plain ugly. What's more, the software interfaces they use to develop their content on are frustrating and poorly designed. The latter is not so much the newspaper's fault, but that falls to us software developers.

I'm a firm believer that if you present something beautiful two things will happen. One, you will work harder on a better message (content), and two, more people will engage with it because it just looks so inviting.

We are off to setup over in Columbus, Ohio at the the Ohio News Association annual meeting. I look forward to learning more about the news industry in the Buckeye State.