2024 Convention & Trade Show

Registration is NOW OPEN for the 157th Annual MNA Convention & Trade Show!

One of the top state news media association conventions in the United States, the 2024 MNA Convention & Trade Show is happening Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at the Minneapolis Marriott Northwest, Brooklyn Center.

MNA Convention and Better Newspaper Contest Awards Banquet registration is available now by CLICKING HERE.

Hotel reservations are available by CLICKING HERE


Our Thursday luncheon keynote speakers will be Patty Wetterling and Joy Baker, authors of “Dear Jacob: A Mother’s Journey of Hope.” The women were key players in one of the most tragic and notorious crimes in Minnesota history. Patty is the mother of 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling, who was abducted at gunpoint in 1989 from a quiet road in cozy St. Joseph, Minnesota, never to be seen again. Decades later, Joy Baker, who had studied journalism, played a key role in piecing together the threads of other crimes, leading to answers about what happened to Jacob. 

Friday’s luncheon headliner is Star Tribune CEO and Publisher Steve GroveThe Minnesota native is the former Minnesota Commissioner of Employment & Economic Development and served as the director of Google News Lab, You Tube Head of News & Politics, and as a reporter for The Boston Globe, ABC News and the Northfield News, his hometown paper.


2024 MNA Convention Sessions & Schedules

Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024:

10 a.m.: Minnesota News Media Institute board meeting, Lake Superior Room

11 a.m. Minnesota Newspaper Association board meeting, Lake Superior Room

Noon: MNA/MNI board lunch, Lake Superior Room (lower level)

Noon-4 p.m.: Trade Show exhibitor move-in, Northland Foyer

1:30 p.m.: MNA Advertising/Digital Committee, Lake Erie Room

1:30 p.m.: MNA Journalism Education Committee, Lake Ontario Room

2-7 p.m.: Convention registration desk open.

2:30 p.m.: MNA Member Services Committee, Lake Ontario Room

3:30 p.m.: MNA Legislative Committee, Arbor Lakes Room.

5 p.m.: MNA Welcome Reception (ticketed), hors d’oeuvres & cash bar with special guest T.C. Bear, Fireside Lobby and Northland Foyer.


Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024

Convention mainline events: 

All Day:

MNI Silent Auction bidding to support MNA member training and internships, Northland Foyer.

Trade Show exhibitors, Northland Foyer.

8 a.m.-9:30 a.m.: Trade Show Breakfast, Northland Foyer.

Noon-1:30 p.m.: Opening luncheon (ticketed), Northland Ballroom. Includes:

  • Keynote speakers Patty Wetterling and Joy Baker, authors of “Dear Jacob: A Mother’s Journey of Hope.”
  • Tech Talk: Hear from our trade show exhibitors about their services, goods and initiatives, Northland Ballroom.
  • Half-Century Club inductions

5:30-6:30 p.m.: Better Newspaper Contest & Student VIP reception, Northland Foyer. (cash bar)

7 p.m.: Better Newspaper Contest Awards Gala (ticketed), Northland Ballroom.

Until midnight: BNC Afterparty. Celebrate together! (cash bar)

Thursday Morning Breakout Sessions

9:30-10:15 a.m.: The Future of Obits, with Ron Speechley, Vice President of Sales, Legacy.com, Minnesota Salon 2. What’s next in terms of readership and revenue?

10:15-11:30 a.m.: Election ’24: What’s New About Who Can Vote, How They’ll Vote and Election Security, with Peter Bartz-Gallagher and Cassondra Knudson of the Minnesota Secretary of State’s office, Hennepin Salon 3. Developments in Minnesota election rules, reporting procedures and trends before the 2024 general election.

10:15-11:30 a.m.: Postal & Circulation Roundtable, led by MNA Past President Matt McMillan. Minnesota Salon 2. Come talk about your challenges and solutions to this perennial topic.


Success from Day One with Richard E. Brown, Senior Director of Retention, The Daily Beast and Wisconsin Newspaper Association board of directors. Arbor Lakes Room. Learn how to onboard sales executives for impact and uncover the blueprint for transforming your sales team into a powerhouse that drives revenue and reader engagement.

What’s Old is New (Again) with Editor & Publisher’s Mike Blinder. Minnesota Salon 1. More and more research shows that as local advertisers become savvier at understanding digital marketing, they are circling back to seeing value in utilizing in traditional legacy media such as direct mail, broadcast and newspaper advertising. Plus, their messaging goals now include a priority in raising brand awareness, bringing back the value of offering good, “old fashioned” TOMA (“Top of Mind Awareness”) campaigns. Mike Blinder, Publisher of E&P Magazine will run down the latest studies that show that, the sales strategies we used to deploy years ago are working again. He will also share some effective bundle, print/ digital sales solutions, you can take to market today, to boost long-term, lucrative, local ad dollars.

Hot Topics with MNA First VP Crystal Miller and MNA Past President Justin Lessman. Hennepin Salon 1.  Come to share your own best practices and pick up some new tricks from your MNA peers. The audience will determine where this leads, but topics may include recruitment, compensation, employee retention, political advertising – you name it, literally!

AI in the News Operation, panel discussion moderated by MNA Past President Julie Bergman. Hennepin Salon 2. With Forum Communications VP of Content Mary Jo Hotzler, Herald Journal Group Editor Andrew Meuleners and others.

Thursday Afternoon Breakout Sessions

2-3:30 p.m.:

Advertising Ideas on Tap, with Tracy Area Headlight Herald Publisher Tara Brandl and MNA Advertising Executive Tina McMillan, Arbor Lakes Room. Have some fun, win some prizes and take home new revenue ideas (and tips to make money selling MNA ad networks, too!).

The Power of Newspapers, with Mankato Free Press Editor Joe Spear, Minnesota Salon 1. See how much change your newspaper can make for your community, and how. Success stories for making it all matter.

Hot Legal Topics with Mark Anfinson, Hennepin Salon 1. This year brings some special legal developments in Minnesota that call for a deep dive. If you love the annual legal update (Friday afternoon) don’t miss this addition that will delve into how legal cannabis and the rise of artificial intelligence might affect your news and advertising operation.

Prep Sports Reporting to Build Readership, with Tom Elliott, Hennepin Salon 3. He’s the best in the prep sports business, with more than three decades on the job making kids stars for their effort on the field and actions off it. Take home his best practices to build this highly engaged audience.

Reader Retention Roundtable with Sarah Stultz, editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. Minnesota Salon 2. Come to discuss her tips and share what’s worked for you, in print and online, and in nontraditional arenas like events, newsletters and more.

3:45 p.m.:  Student Session, Minnesota Salon 1.  Come with your questions about life in the news business after graduation.

Friday, Feb. 2, 2024

Convention mainline events: 

7:30 a.m.-9 a.m.: Trade Show Breakfast, Northland Foyer. 

7:30-noon: MNI Silent Auction bidding to support MNA training and internships, Northland Foyer.

All Day: Trade Show exhibitors, Northland Foyer.

Noon-1:30 p.m: Friday Luncheon (ticketed), Northland Ballroom. Includes:

    • Keynote speaker Steve Grove, publisher of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and alum of Google, the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development and the Northfield News.
    • MNA Distinguished Service to Journalism award ceremony.

3:30 p.m.: MNA Annual Meeting, Hennepin Salon 3.

5:30 p.m.: Past President’s Dinner (ticketed, invitation-only), Fireside Room.


Friday Morning Breakout Sessions

9:30-11:30 a.m.:

Putting Customers First, with Richard E. Brown, Senior Director of Retention, The Daily Beast and Wisconsin Newspaper Association board of directors. Arbor Lakes Room. Learn to employ customer-centric strategies to increase revenue and build your business.

Stop Overthinking & Just Do It! with Editor & Publisher’s Mike Blinder. Hennepin Salon 1. There is no question that the news publishing industry has had to face several challenges over the last 15 years, including the loss of classified and pre-press revenues, the exploitation of our content without compensation by Big Tech, along with rising costs as well as added competition. However, some say there is no better time to be crafting news for the communities we serve and are finding sustainable business models, doing it. In this data-driven presentation, Mike will reveal what successful publishers are doing to grow and prosper in today’s news media ecosystem, as well as provide actionable ideas and real-world data that will offer valuable insights into how to get back to sleeping well each night.

Sit Down to a Happy Desk, with Michele Vig of Neat Little Nest, Minnesota Salon 2. By popular demand, this session on getting organized focuses on keeping your office space – and your mind – clutter free for better results in your business and your life.

Coping With Stress, Burnout and Trauma on the Beat, with John Barth of Columbia University’s Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. Minnesota Salon 1. Learn the basics of self-care and  collegial support (e.g. the impact of covering trauma and tragedy on journalists) and get concrete guidance and techniques for enriching one’s coping skills and wellness, and building resilient news teams.

Essentials for a Successful Magazine with Jonathan Sweet. Hennepin Salon 3. Learn how branding, serving a niche audience, giving your publication a personality and promoting it well can set up your magazines for success with readers and for revenue.

Friday Afternoon Breakout Sessions

2-3:30 p.m.:

Discover Generative AI’s Sales Potential, with Richard E. Brown, Senior Director of Retention, The Daily Beast and Wisconsin Newspaper Association board of directors. Arbor Lakes Room. Uncover how artificial intelligence can amplify growth opportunities and unlock fresh revenue prospects.

 Legal Update 2024 with Mark Anfinson, Hennepin Salon 1. Expert information about legal and legislative issues of interest to Minnesota journalists and publishers.

Trauma-Informed Reporting: First Do No Harm with John Barth of Columbia University’s Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma. Minnesota Salon 1. We all cover traumatic events, whether we’re assigned to a riot or to the aftermath of the sudden death of a high school student. Learn the best practices of trauma-informed reporting including effective reporting approaches to sensitive topics; ethical considerations when reporting on violence, trauma and tragedy; interviewing techniques when working with victims, survivors and vulnerable people; and balancing compassion with the rigors of journalism.



Our Sponsors

The following organizations have committed to MNA’s mission (and your newspaper’s) by becoming sponsors of the 2024 MNA Convention & Trade Show. Sponsorships support MNA’s ability to stage one of the largest state news media conventions in the nation; please make sure to let them know you appreciate their support. Here’s the lineup so far – click for more information:



Silver Sponsors

Bronze Sponsors

Notebook Sponsor

MNI Gold Sponsors

Bar Sponsors

Coffee Sponsors

Student Reception Sponsors