Newspaper professionals from 14 states participated in the 2021 Tri-State Newspaper Convention, a virtual program presented on Feb. 4-5 by the Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin newspaper associations.

More than 500 people registered for the two-day, virtual event that provided insights from more than 20 speakers on subjects ranging from “Publishing Through a Pandemic” to “Covering Misinformation and Disinformation” and “Reporting on Race.” The program also included discussions about driving revenue, overcoming sales objections, increasing online traffic, improving storytelling and photography skills, and seeking out solutions in reporting, as well as sessions highlighting digital publishing and data journalism tools. In addition to workshops, attendees also interacted with peers and sponsors during roundtables and idea exchanges. 

“I participated in several sessions and look forward to viewing a few recordings of those sessions I could not attend,” said Jim Pumarlo, a newspaper consultant and author. “You obviously can’t beat the face-to-face interaction of in-person conventions, but this was very good. Excellent programs on a variety of topics.”

All convention attendees received access to a video archive of the entire convention, which is available through March 15.

The convention — the first of its kind among the three groups — was a partnership prompted in part by the coronavirus pandemic, as the associations worked to serve members while adhering to gathering restrictions and other COVID-19 safety recommendations. 

Many attendees expressed interest in including a virtual or on-demand component in future conventions.

“Not all of our staff can attend every year, so making [the convention] available to them on their time schedule is so helpful,” one attendee explained. 

The Tri-State Convention was sponsored by Coda Ventures; Interlink; Modulist; Metro Creative Graphics; Software Consulting Services; The Star Tribune; Our-Hometown; Tecnavia; Town News and Grimes, McGovern & Associates.