Quick takes from Day 1 at NAA MediaXChange in Las Vegas:

  • Old friends? Fewer. Attendance is down, no way to hide it — besides, some of my closest acquaintances have fully or partly left the newspaper end of digital media. I spoke to one friend who said he was here mostly just because his company's executives wanted to make a good showing for NAA to support the industry.
  • Old friends in new jobs? More, some by choice, some by necessity.
  • I enjoyed Tony Hsieh's (CEO of zappos.com) keynote more than I expected, probably because I didn't know what to expect. Great insights on forming a company culture that naturally builds high-quality customer service.
  • Long walks to get to the events, much longer than last time an NAA event came to Mandalay Bay. I'm not complaining. I need there to be less of me.
  • Of all the federation welcome receptions (including circulation, classified/display, digital media, market development, research and production) the digital room filled up and lit up the most. This year, you could walk back and forth among all of them, which was nice because if a room, and thus its bar, was backed up you could go to quieter ones to refill or rest.
  • Trade show? Big hall, not exactly tightly packed as at the NEXPOs of old. Again, no way to hide it — the economy sucks, especially for newspapers, and the show reflects that.

Tomorrow, I moderate one panel and serve as proxy for my pal Jack Lail on another. Wish me luck, and while you're at it, I wouldn't mind a little good fortune at the tables.