The woes of the newspaper industry are well-known, but the International Newspaper Group (ING) is in the midst of a renaissance, with early registration up and vendor and sponsor support enthusiastic. The annual ING Summit heads once again to PRINT 19 in October, providing two days’ worth of facilities tours, dynamic keynotes, and in-depth panel discussions for newspaper industry executives.

“Yes, we’re morphing right now and we’re going through a lot of downsizing, a lot of shrinkage, and a lot of consolidation, but that doesn’t mean we won’t move through and this grow,” said Steve Mattingly, Senior Vice President of Southern Lithoplate and ING Program Director. “We’ll be like the Six Million Dollar Man—we can rebuild.  We’re rebuilding print operations.”

The ING Summi twill take place Friday, October 4, and Saturday, October 5, in conjunction with PRINT 19, which itself takes place October 3–5 at McCormick Place in Chicago. “[The ING Summit] is not a trade show,” clarified Mattingly. “This is pure leadership discussion, dialogue, and networking.”

“The mission [of ING] is to bring together industry peers, operations executives, and vendors once a year for a day-and-a-half,” said Russ Newton, General Manager of Bay Area Production Services and incoming ING Board President. “It’s a great opportunity for everyone to meet each other and share stories. We have a great speaker line up, but a lot gets done between and after the sessions. You’ve got all the key decision makers in the industry in one place at one time.”

The ING Summit kicks off Friday afternoon with a tour of the Chicago Tribune Freedom Center for News Print Production/Logistics, where several major national newspapers—the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and of course the Chicago Tribune and Sun-Times—are printed. “Newspaper executives are going to be able to huddle together on familiar ground and see leading-edge print production operations, logistics, and equipment in place,” said Mattingly. “Then they can start to share ideas.”

After the Freedom Center tour, there is a highly targeted custom tour of the PRINT 19 show floor. “Everybody gets a headset, there’s a guide, and they’re going to get tours of specific booths that make sense for them to see—cold web newspaper equipment, communications, ops—as opposed just walking around the show floor,” said Mattingly. Friday concludes with a networking reception and dinner.

Saturday comprises three major keynote addresses as well as speaker panels. The morning keynote is “Leadership, Revenue, Cost Management in a Consolidating & Declining Marketspace,” by Jason Taylor, President of GateHouse Live and Virtual Events at GateHouse Media. “He was formerly with Gannett, went into a smaller newspaper group, and GateHouse brought him in to run their ops,” said Mattingly.  “He’s involved in everything. He’s driving print, he’s driving promotions, he’s driving digital, and he believes in what we’re doing. He’s an incredibly gifted speaker.”

The lunchtime keynote will be delivered by Keni Thomas, author, speaker, musician, and decorated former Task Force Army Ranger. His book Get It On! What It Means To Lead The Way is his personal account of his experiences in the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia. “We’re all in a battle,” said Mattingly, “so the metaphor that I wanted to create with Keni is to talk to us about how you make decisions when everything’s changing around you all the time. ‘I’m losing my people, my team is shrinking, how do I get out of here and survive to tell about it?’”

After Thomas’s keynote, added Mattingly, “Joe Deluca from the Tampa Bay Times is going to say, ‘OK, guys, how do we apply what Keni just told us? Now let’s make this real.”

Interspersed amongst the keynotes are several expert panels. A panel of international speakers will discuss “International Print Production Print Peers: Quality, Cost Expertise”; another panel will take a deep dive on the latest updates to OSHA and labor laws; representatives from Dow Jones, Cox Media, Gatehouse Media, and Penske Logistics will talk about “Logistics and Distribution Meeting Today's Demands”; and the day’s closing panel will identify “Profits from Nothing: Zero Waste.”

It’s an ambitious program—and ING as an association has a renewed sense of purpose. “ING is a very important part of PRINT,” said Thayer Long, President of APTech, producer of PRINT 19. “There’s always been tremendous synergy with ING holding their function in conjunction with PRINT. It’s a whole ecosystem. If you’re in the print industry, regardless of what you’re printing or what your business is, our event has a lot of relevance. The fact that we have groups like ING just shows the diversity of the audience that continues to come to Chicago every year.”

“You just open up a network of like-minded people in the same industries,” said Newton. “It's a great conference.”

Newspaper industry executives who register before February 28 can save 15%. Click here for more information.