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LM Foundation 2014 Innovation Mission

The 2014 Innovation Mission, sponsored by the Local Media Foundation, will include visits to a fascinating mix of technology and media companies.

Week-long study tour includes visits to New York and Silicon Valley.Innovation Mission

Attendance is limited to first 24 that register.

The 5th Annual Local Media Innovation Mission will take place June 1 - 6.

The focus will be on e-commerce, content strategies, social media, disruptive innovation, and more.

Attendees will cross the country this year with stops in New York City, San Francisco, Mountain View, and San Jose.

Visits to LinkedIn and eBay headline a long list of impressive companies that have agreed to host the IM participants this year.


Who Should Attend

The Innovation Mission is ideal for senior-level media executives including CEO’s, owners, publishers, top digital advertising executives and corporate executives.

Digital Immersion: Attendees are encouraged to tweet, blog and share their top takeaways throughout the week.


June 1 - 6, 2014

Registration Fee:

$4,495 / person*
$1,750 / spouse or guest*
A deposit of $1,500 per person is due upfront to reserve a spot. This amount is non-refundable as we will book air and hotel early to secure the best rates. Final payment is due on May 1, 2014.

Hear from last year's participants

Visit Innovative Companies

Attendance is limited to first 24 that register. 


2013 Innovation Mission Report

High Six-Figure Takeaways from the Innovation Mission

Read the blog that Peter Krasilovsky, VP, BIA/Kelsey posted about our 2013 Innovation Mission report. Krasilovsky writes, "I personally learned a lot about native advertising, digital ad agencies and Twitter ad products. In fact, the report is a field guide to the key things that small publishers (and in fact, everyone) should be thinking about in terms of their digital and mobile transition." READ MORE >>


"This year it was exciting and inspiring to see all 
the new business 
models emerging,
but what 
really made the trip worthwhile, was the five- and 
six-figure revenue opportunities that were
that I saw."
Ben Shaw, Chief Digital Officer, Shaw Media

"I attended the 2011 and 2013 LMIA Innovation Missions which included visits to some of the world's most innovative media and technology companies.The projects implemented as a result of these study tours have resulted in a six-figure ROI to Truth Publishing Company."
Brandon Erlacher, Publisher, The Elkhart Truth

Hear For
Yourself From the Participants!




The 2013 Innovation Mission report covers the top takeaways from the recent six-day study tour that included visits with Facebook, Twitter,Google, Plug and Play Tech Center, The McClatchy Company, The Denver Post, AdTaxi, San Francisco Chronicle, Emmis Radio and more.

"It is 45 pages filled with great information," said Nancy Lane, President of Local Media Association and the Local Media Foundation, and co-author of the report, "Most of the attendees are predicting an ROI in the high six-figures and even seven-figures as a result of attending this study tour. We tried to capture the greatest opportunities for local media companies in the report. It is truly a must-read for top executives in the industry. And for the price of one copy, you can share it with your entire team."

The report focuses on those takeaways with the greatest ROI potential for readers of the report:

  • Hot topics include:
  • Native Advertising
  • How to Develop a Culture of Innovation
  • Expanding Digital Agency Services
  • SMB Commerce Could be the Next 'Big' Opportunity
  • Social Represents a Serious Revenue Stream
  • Cause Marketing - A Huge Opportunity
  • It's Audience Development; Not Circulation!
  • And Much More!


Included in your purchase is a copy of the 2012 report which details how to increase revenue using Google Surveys.

West Coast Innovation Mission Report
West Coast Innovation Mission 2012

The long-awaited report is now available - order your copy today!

Twenty senior level executives spent a week on the road in late May in search of innovation and inspiration. The group was most interested in revenue growth, sustainable business models, creating a culture of innovation and digital growth strategies. The six-day tour included ten meetings with a wide variety of technology and media companies including a full day visit at Google's world headquarters.

The key takeaways from this tour are at the subject of a 30+ page report that also includes some of the action plans that are being implemented by the IM attendees.

"This report is a must-read for anyone charged with innovation at their company", said Nancy Lane, president of Local Media Association and author of the report. "We were inspired by so many during the week-long tour. There should be at least one major idea, inspiration or action plan that develops as a result of reading this report."

Released: August 2012

Formats Available: Electronic Version

Report Value: $359.00

Order Now Icon

Cost: $359.00

To Order Online: Click on the Order Now Button on the right.

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North American Innovation Mission
North American Innovation Mission 2011

The SNA Foundation hosted a North American Innovation Mission May 1-6, 2011. The group traveled to visit some of the most innovative media companies in the U.S. and Canada with a specific focus on new/sustainable business models, revenue growth, digital-first strategies and new content strategies.

This tour made stops in Salt Lake City (Deseret Publishing Company and Deseret Digital), Boston/New England (MIT’s Center for Future Civic Media and Journal Register Company’s new open community newsroom in Torrington, CT) and Toronto (Metroland Media/Torstar Corporation – huge commitment to digital innovation).

Released: May 2011

Formats Available: Printed Copy; Electronic Version

Report Value: $350.00


Order Now Icon
  • Non-SNA Members: $350 (printed copy or electronic version)
  • SNA members: $129 for printed copy; $179 for electronic version

To Order Online: Cick on the Order Now Button on the right.
To Print and Fax an Order: Click here.

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Photo Gallery

Innovation Mission attendees are now back on their home turf, implementing new ideas they picked up during the week long study trip. Many were so inspired by what they saw in Salt Lake City, Boston, Connecticut, and Toronto, they are now planning dramatic changes at their companies.

Click through to our Facebook photo album to share in the visual experience.

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Great Ideas / Articles of Interest
Stay informed, discover a new trend or find out what excellent programs your colleagues and the SNA Foundation are putting to good use. Our web articles lend excellent ideas for your organization. Read on to discover what initiatives could work for you!
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Wrap Up: SNA Foundation's North American Innovation Mission

SNA President Nancy Lane has been providing daily reports from the road while she traveled with the Innovation Mission. Eighteen community media executives took part in this week-long study, visiting some of the most innovative media houses in North America. The group focused on new business models and emerging content strategies.

Innovation Mission: Attendee Feedback/Key Take-Aways

Innovation Mission Attendees at Baseball Game photo
Innovation Mission attendees watched the Toronto Blue Jays take on the Detroit Tigers at the Toronto Sky Dome on Friday.

At 4 PM on Friday afternoon, Innovation Mission attendees debriefed in a conference room at Torstar's offices, hosted by Metroland, on the key take-aways of the past six days. There was no shortage of enthusiasm despite the exhausting travel schedule that took the group to four states and two countries in a short, compact period of time.

Emotions ranged from aha moments to outright confusion on next steps. Everyone walked away with new ideas and new friends. Many are going to make dramatic changes upon their return as a result of this experience.

Parker Rust Lane photo
Innovation Mission attendees Stephen W. Parker, Co-Publisher/Business Manager, Recorder Community Newspapers, left, and Jon Rust, Co-President, Rust Communications, Inc., with Nancy Lane, President, Suburban Newspapers of America, on the bus to Torrington, CT.

Some of the feedback included:

"Use your own media as cash - big aha moment. This means taking your trusted products and using them to create new opportunities. We saw this happening at Deseret, JRC and Metroland. On the content side, we will look at ways to lower costs by using things like web round-ups and evergreen content. We will also work to establish a distinct editorial voice like Clark is doing at Deseret." – Jon Rust, Co-President, Rust Communications, Inc.

"I will certainly make some digital-only hires when I get back and will also shift some responsibilities to the digital side. This will also include changes in compensation plans to put more emphasis on digital." – Dan Easton, Co-Publisher/Vice President, Victoria Advocate

"Having products that work and that the reps can sell really resonated with me. ShopTalk was also one of my top take-aways from the entire trip." – Brandon Erlacher, Publisher, The Elkhart Truth (Note: click here for details on ShopTalk, covered in the Friday Morning Report)

Haggert Rothrock McHaney photo
Innovation Mission attendees Peter Haggert, Editor-in-Chief of the Toronto Community News, left, Edwin Rothrock, Director of Digital Advertising at The World Company, center, and Steve McHaney, Co-Publisher/ Vice President of The Victoria Advocate, on the bus to Torrington, CT.

"This trip hammered home the importance of training community contributors for me. I will also look at ways to take our content and create other verticals, such as pets."
– Peter Haggert, Editor-in-Chief, Toronto Community News/Metroland Media Group

"Training in all areas is essential. We do a great job but it is not enough and it is not consistent across all departments. The commitment to training that we witnessed this week is amazing and reinforces the need to make it a top priority when we get back." – Edwin Rothrock, Director of Digital Advertising, The World Company

"Big aha moment came on the user-generated content side. We are the Wild West right now when it comes to community comments and bloggers. I now realize that this needs to be high quality/good content; the Wild West approach hurts our brand long-term." – Steve McHaney, Co-Publisher/Vice President, Victoria Advocate

"This experience has taught me how easy it can be for us to disrupt the disruptors and extend our reach. I also like the digital agency approach presented by Kurt Lozier from Dow Jones Local Media Group and going after the 67% that is being spent on promotion and infrastructure." – Terry Kukle, Vice President of Business Development, Metroland Media Group Ltd. (Note: click here for details on the Dow Jones digital agency, covered in the Tuesday Report)

Schlicht Derr photo
Innovation Mission attendees Suzanne Schlicht, COO, The World Company, and John Derr, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Lancaster Newspapers, Inc.

"Clark made me realize that there is a big pot of online revenue that we are not going after. His diagrams on the whiteboard made it clear for me. I was also extremely inspired by the entire day at Metroland." – Suzanne Schlicht, COO, The World Company

"Being in these environments of great innovation made me realize that my company is not innovative enough. All of us think that we are innovative; we are not. We will look to make some changes when I get back including: on the sales structure and compensation side, there is not enough incentive to sell online; the family media center from Deseret would work well in our market; ShopTalk at Metroland was terrific; would like to look at licensing opportunities for UofCheap." – John Derr, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Lancaster Newspapers, Inc. (Note: click here for details on, covered in the Friday Afternoon Report)

Innovation Mission Attendees at Deseret photo
The Innovation Mission attendees at Deseret Media Group.

"This trip reinforced a lot of things for me and will give me the courage to implement some things upon my return. I realize now that I only have my toe in the water when it comes to digital innovation; I have not fully committed. We need to measure everything that we do. We must commit to more training – not just on the sales side but in all areas of our business. We also need to create great digital products for our reps to sell." – Robert Brown, President, COO, Swift Communications

"I really like the idea of measuring the cost of editorial content. The ShopTalk product is amazing. I also like the idea (at Torrington) of live streaming the daily news meeting and opening it up to the public." – Doug McAvoy, Audience Development Director, The Elkhart Truth

SNA President Nancy Lane is in the process of writing a comprehensive industry report about the week-long Innovation Mission. The report will include extensive notes from each visit and key lessons learned. Lane will first present the findings of this report at the upcoming SNA/The Blinder Group Revenue Leadership Summit, May 18-20, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. The Summit is only $495 for SNA Members and $595 for non-members. To register, click here. For more information, click here.

For those that can't make the Summit in person, the session will be broadcast live via webinar on Thursday, May 19, at 2:45 PM ET. The webinar is only $49 for SNA Members and $79 for non-members. To register, click here.

Innovation Mission Attendees at MIT photo
Innovation Mission attendees at MIT's Center for Future Civic Media.

The Lessons Learned Report detailing the entire Innovation Mission will also be available for purchase on May 24, and SNA will feature lessons learned and key take-aways throughout the year via webinars and conference sessions.

"I can't thank the Innovation Mission hosts, speakers and attendees enough for an amazing week", said Lane. "The hosts were so gracious with their time and shared tons of internal information with us. The attendees were just a fabulous group of community media executives that were eager to learn as much as possible even though all of them run very innovative and successful companies already. We can't wait to share all of the information and lessons learned with the entire industry."

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