The 25th annual meeting of the North American Mature Publishers Association at the Guest House at Graceland was a huge success.

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Publishers of mature publications from many parts of the country attended. The one who traveled the farthest was from Anchorage, Alaska.

The Mayor of Memphis, Jim Strickland, issued a proclamation declaring Sunday, Oct. 13, as North American Mature Publishers Association Day. The proclamation was presented to the meeting at the kickoff dinner Sunday evening and was then prominently displayed.

There were many highlights at the meeting and the entire staff of The Best Times had the opportunity to attend them. Monday evening at the awards banquet, we received five awards for journalism excellence and for the fourth year in a row our senior resource guide was recognized as one of the best in the United States and Canada.

Another highlight was the annual idea exchange where publishers make presentations on what they are doing to make their publication even better. Since we are not in competition with each other, most of us went away with several new ideas for improvement.

Memphis Tourism (formerly the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau) sponsored each of the breaks taken during the meeting and they arranged for the publishers to tour Graceland, the National Civil Rights Museum, a lunch at the downtown Central Bar-B-Q and a tour of Sun Studio. I know there will be many positive stories printed about their visit to Memphis and the many things they saw while here.

Some of the outside speakers at the meeting were Jeanne Abbott, professor at the school of journalism at the University of Missouri. Her department judges the senior publications annually.

A presentation was made by Tim Bingaman, CEO of Circulation Verification Council, and his topic was “Print is not Dead.” He pointed out that daily newspapers have in fact suffered a huge decline in subscribers and that specialty publications such as The Best Times are on the increase.

We enjoyed a presentation by Greg Graber of Memphis on the “Value of Mindfulness.” Greg has written for us.

Another local speaker was Sarah Butts, who is the sales operations manager for the Memphis Business Journal, and she spoke on “Driving more traffic to your publication’s website.”

I can’t imagine a publisher not being a member of NAMPA. Where else could one go to learn from seasoned professionals how to make their publication even better?

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