Registration deadline nears for 2018 Midwinter Conference

Registration and hotel reservation deadline is Jan. 3 for the Texas Press Association Midwinter Conference and Trade Show scheduled Jan. 18-20 at Moody Gardens Hotel, Convention Center and Spa.
The conference is themed “Come Hell or High Water” to honor Texas newspapers’ response to natural disasters ranging from wildfires to Hurricane Harvey. It features topical programs by guest speakers, member-led discussions, the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony and banquet and a 60-booth trade show, as well as the annual silent auction benefiting the Texas Newspaper Foundation.
Registration forms are available online at Deadline for registration is Wednesday, Jan. 3. Newspapers that have subscribed to and run two of the three TPS advertising networks – TexSCAN, Texas Display Network and Texas Online Newtwork – for the past calendar year will receive one complimentary registration, including meals and hotel accommodations covering the nights of Jan. 18-19. Ad Network participants should use the Ad Network/TexSCAN registration form, and hotel reservations are made for them by TPA. 
For non-Ad Network participating members, the TPA sleeping room rate is $124 per night. Reservations must be made by calling Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa & Convention Center at 888-388-8484 or 409-741-8484 by Jan. 3.
Mike Blinder, president and founder of The Blinder Group, is special guest speaker for the Friday, Jan. 19, luncheon. He is an author and recognized expert on media advertising and sales, having generated more than $100 million for the global industry in multimedia ad sales. 
His presentation is entitled “It’s Time For Us to Get Our Swagger Back!”
“There is no question that digital disruption is affecting our audience and profits,” Blinder said. “However, are we living a self-fulfilling prophecy by moving our focus away from leveraging our editorial assets as a core revenue source? 
“There is profit for newspapers when we focus on what we do best, and polish up our products and packages so they become more exciting to our audience and advertisers,” Blinder said. He will dissect the latest research and data proving the newspaper industry is still viable with a great future based on products that are proven to work.
Other conference speakers include Eric Buskirk of Verican, who will speak on how to monetize a newspaper’s print, web and social media products; Bailey Dabney, publisher of the Fauquier (Virginia) Times, presenting a circulation-building program; a panel discussion featuring publishers Laurie Brown, The Canadian Record, and Mary Judson, Port Aransas South Jetty, sharing their experiences in recent wildfire- and hurricane-stricken regions; an advertising idea exchange; and Al Cross, director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, University of Kentucky, keynote speaker for the Hall of Fame Awards banquet.
In addition to the scheduled programs, Legislative Committee Chairman Bill Patterson will give members a review of the 2017 legislative session and discuss what’s coming up in 2019.
On Thursday, Jan. 18, the registration desk opens at 10 a.m. Board and officer meetings, the past presidents’ dinner and other events will fill the afternoon and evening. 
The trade show opening reception, sponsored by eType Services, begins at 6:30 p.m. The trade show features booths and exhibits by vendors and industry professionals showing off the latest technology and new products.
The annual silent auction benefiting the Texas Newspaper Foundation will be on display with the trade show. The auction features items donated by member newspapers, associate members and friends of TPA, with proceeds going to the foundation’s work supporting the Texas Center for Community Journalism at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.
The Thursday night hospitality reception is sponsored by Shweiki Media.
On Friday, Jan. 19, the trade show and silent auction will be open in the Moody Gardens Convention Center until noon, when winning bidders will be announced and items may be purchased.
Following the luncheon sponsored by Explore Branson, the general session opens at 1:45 p.m. A hospitality event sponsored by Jackson Walker LLP follows the general session and the Hall of Fame dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. The president’s reception at 9 p.m. closes the day’s activities. Southern Newspapers and the Galveston County Daily News are sponsors of the event.
On Saturday, Jan. 20, the general session reopens at 8 a.m. with member-led discussions. The closing brunch sponsored by Century Link is set for 10 a.m. Saturday.