The North American Mature Publishers Association (NAMPA) held its annual convention via Zoom meetings Oct. 6-7. NAMPA members publish more than 95 publications in the United States and Canada with a combined circulation of more than 4 million. Of these member publications, 48 were represented at the virtual exchange of ideas between senior and boomer publishing leaders.
With Family Features as the prime sponsor of the event, Media Manager Cindy Long observed and participated in the conference.
Organized by Executive Director Gary Calligas, there were six separate virtual meetings during the two-day period attended by an impressive group of newspaper and magazine publishers and editors. Even though there were a lot of attendees, the meetings were structured to make it convenient to contribute or ask questions of the presenters or other attendees.
What makes NAMPA unique from other associations is the collaboration between members. In fact, during the first session on Oct. 6, “The Great Idea Exchange,” members were encouraged to bring their best ideas for aiding their publication’s success. Michelle Fields, publisher of “Senior Perspectives” (Michigan), did an excellent job moderating the session while members took turns sharing their ideas. A summary of the ideas was emailed to the meeting attendees by Calligas so members could vote for the best ideas. The winning idea was submitted by Dan Roberts from “The Vegas Voice,” who started a column in his publication called “Stupid or Scary Scams of the Month” for his senior readers. Patti Abbate, “South Shore Senior,” earned second place for a services directory placed inside her publication. Burt Lane, “The Senior Reporter,” created the “3-30-3 Rule” for his publication’s editorial criteria: 3 seconds to view the cover, 30 seconds to review the table of contents and 3 minutes to read the lead features. Winners received gift cards for their contributions.
Publisher Cathy Zion of “Today’s Transitions” (Kentucky) shared suggestions for improving and obtaining content including sponsored content provided by Family Features. The highlight of the session, “Improve Your Content and Gain Readers,” involved discussion on how to address seniors in a positive way including pictures or illustrations on magazine and newspaper covers that depict active people ages 55 and above.
Susan Ross, publisher of “Westchester Senior Voice” (New York), facilitated “Great Ways to Improve Your Distribution” while participants shared their experiences on distribution of publications via racks, mail, email, mobile apps and other methods. Some publications have gone completely digital during the COVID-19 crisis because readers are unable to pick up publications from drop-off points.
The association also took this opportunity to hold its Annual Member Meeting and Elections on the afternoon of Oct. 6. In addition, the newly redesigned NAMPA website, maturepublishers.com, was presented by Brian Ostrovsky, founder and CEO of Locable.
On Oct. 7, featured speaker Buddy Rice, associate with Shepard Presentations, gave a dynamic presentation on customer service. Rice keyed in on “amazing” customer service, exceeding expectations and his golden rule: “Treat employees the way you want your customers to be treated.”
One of the lifelines for senior publications is hosting senior/Boomer expos. Facilitated by Alan Spiegel of “The Beacon Newspapers” (Washington, D.C.), attendees shared their experiences on hosting expos during the COVID-19 pandemic and alternative sources of revenue.
The successful virtual convention ended with the NAMPA Awards Presentations. Jeanne Abbott, professor of journalism at the University of Missouri, presented the awards. Certificates and trophies were mailed to the winners along with detailed comments on entries from the nine judges from the Missouri School of Journalism.
The 2021 NAMPA National Convention is scheduled for Oct. 3-5, 2021 in San Diego.