MPA CONFERENCE MOVED FROM PHOENIX TO NYC

Post Attack Travel Safety and Economics Cited for Action

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The industry trade group Magazine Publishers of America and the American Society of Magazine Editors today finalized plans to move this year's annual American Magazine Conference, scheduled for Oct. 21-24, from the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix to the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in Manhattan.

While concerns about travel in a post-Sept. 11 world are never far from the surface, a source involved with the MPA's decision-making process painted it as being driven largely by economics.

Security and cost
"It's not just concerns about security; it's concerns about cost," an executive with knowledge of the situation said. "It's not because you spend so much" to send attendees to Arizona, "it's because of the symbolism -- spending-as-usual in a time that's not."

"It was becoming more and more difficult for editors and publishers to leave New York. We are in the news business," said Nina Link, the MPA's president-CEO.

Sports outings canceled
Ms. Link said she expects strong attendance and an "even more relevant program," although the new agenda has not yet been released. The revised

meeting schedule is one day shorter than originally planned, but Oct. 22 will be a full day of programming, rather than a half-day of golf and other sporting events that was slated for Phoenix.

The executive confirmed speculation that circulated during this past week that MPA would cancel the convention outright.

Time of national mourning
As with all other national media, the magazine world was reeling from a disastrous advertising year even before the events of Sept. 11 darkened the picture considerably, forcing advertiser cancellations over concerns about marketing messages and even the appropriateness of advertising itself in a time of national mourning.

Through August, ad pages for the 200-plus magazines tracked by Publishers Information Bureau posted an 11.2% drop in ad pages.

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