Tag Archives: City Paper

New Blood to Start/Keep it Going!

By Sarah Billingsley, AWN Communications Director

People perform better in a world they help create.   At least, that is what I was taught at the Leadership Training for Managers class I took at Dale Carnegie back in the day.

In that spirit, AWN’s cooperative network allows for a collaborative environment in which publications within the network are empowered to sell non-local advertising into world-class alt weekly publications all around the country.    This means that AWN has been successful and can continue to be the same because of the work members put into the process. AWN Central is here to support and facilitate non-local advertising sales by (and in) publications in our network, but you are the experts at selling your product(s).   No one can sell your publications better than each of you. We understand national sales are not always high on your priority list, and we want to make sure we are optimizing our relationship with you.


One idea-generating method is the “Start, Stop, Keep” exercise. The idea is – people who do the work are the ones who know how the work needs to be done.  So, early this year we asked AWN members to fill in the blanks.   “What do you think?  What should AWN start doing, stop doing, keep doing?”

The overwhelming answer was simple – AWN should continue to share information! ? ?With that in mind, we hosted our first AWN sales go-to-webinar on March 10.

We invited a small group of AWN leaders, veteran sellers, and new sellers with multiple ad claims to participate in the meeting (the number somehow grew to nearly 20 participants).

The objectives were two-fold:

1) Increase awareness through information sharing, training and marketing
2) Increase sales accountability for network advertising sales.


There were a number of initiatives and subjects discussed but one of the warmer items that got a number of positive responses was sales incentives for individual AWN sellers, something that has not been done in this network before.

If you would like to view the presentation deck and related documents from the webinar, please email me – sarah@awn.org


An interesting outcome form the sales meeting was the introduction of new players in the AWN selling game. Several new names have popped up on the claims list in the past few months, so we thought we would take a minute to introduce them, and give a little description of the kinds of claims they are working on behalf of the network.

Eileen Pursley, Advertising Director at the Philadelphia City Paper has had a long career in the newspaper industry, including a stint as the Executive Sales Director at Metro Newspaper and Advertising Sales Director at Broad Street publishing. She is pursuing ad accounts such as Gardasil, Comcast, and Tropicana Atlantic City.

Carla Holder is the new National Accounts Manager at the Sacramento News & Review. Carla has an alt weekly background and hails from the Nashville where she sold advertising at the Nashville Scene. Carla is working on accounts several accounts including Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Events & Adventures.

Kelly Christie from Buffalo Artvoice has worked in the business for several years and spends time throughout the year in Buffalo and Florida (guess where she spends winter!). Kelly is calling on a long list of accounts on behalf of the network, including Barnes and Nobles and Black and White (women’s clothes).

Another change in the AWN sales force is the recent departure of long-time AWN seller Mary Samson who left the San Francisco Bay Guardian this week.  New Director of Sales at SFBG Jim Tamietti indicated they are searching for a replacement which means we may have another new seller on our list.

We are excited by the prospect of what can be achieved this year. I believe with the powerful cocktail of veterans and new sellers engaged in the field, we can harness the power of our individual voices and join forces to create a stronger network. We are a like spider web, publications around the country connected by the fiber of our common missions. Individually we may not be able to take down a foe, but connect us, and we have a much better chance of survival. ? ?So, now that we’ve established that our AWN members are the best experts at selling alternative weeklies, tell us what you’re working on and how we can help you, help each other.