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National Conference Bidding Guide #SPANC2020


Welcome Hello from the Student Publication Association, and thank you for your interest in hosting our next National Conference (SPANC). SPANC is one of the highlights of the student media calendar every year, and our next edition is no exception. For two days, we’ll gather over 150 student journalists from across the UK and Ireland for a series of talks, workshops and awards. The best part of the conference is that each year is different, thanks to the hard work of our conference team and host publication. The days (or weeks) may be long, but organising SPANC is an incredible experience to be part of, and something that your publication can be proud of for years to come. This guide will explain the bidding process for #SPANC 2020, as well as providing guidance about what to include, and what to expect in return from us. Read it carefully - the last thing you want to do is miss a crucial detail and spoil your chances of hosting. If you need any further advice, or have questions about SPANC and the bidding process, feel free to send an email to chair@spajournalism.com or events@spajournalism.com and we’ll be happy to help. Best of luck, and we look forward to seeing your bids!

The SPA Executive Committee


About SPANC What is the National Conference? SPANC is an annual conference held during the academic Easter holidays. Each conference is hosted by one (or more) of our members, providing a great opportunity for student journalists to spend time speaking with and learning from industry professionals on a range of topics that affect not only how students run their publications, but also offer advice on how to break into the industry. The conference also gives students a chance to get together, share ideas and have fun! The conference’s objectives are to ensure that all delegates will learn, be inspired and meet new people. We want them to feel enthused when returning to their respective publications. The Conference is also the host of our annual general meeting where our members elect the next generation of SPA leaders - and our prestigious national awards.


The Bidding Process All of the SPA’s member publications are welcome to apply to host #SPANC, regardless of location, age and previous involvement. Bidding publications must put forward a conference proposal, containing all of the information requested later on in this pack. Your conference proposal should be submitted as a PDF file, but we welcome additional supporting documents and media too. You should also include an indication from your university or students’ union that they are committed to seeing the conference through to conclusion. All proposals must be submitted by 11:59pm on Friday 1 November, to chair@spajournalism.com. Once the deadline has passed, the SPA’s officers will scrutinise each bid, and will send follow up questions. After receiving answers to the follow-up questions, the five Executive Committee members will select a host publication using the Alternative Vote method. In accordance with the SPA’s Constitution, this will take place within a month of the bidding deadline.


What to Include Introduction to the bid WHO ARE YOU? No, this isn’t that group on Facebook where everyone pretends to be boomers, but it is important that you let us know more about you. After all, if selected, we’ll be working with you on an almost daily basis for several months. Here are some ideas for your introduction: • Tell us more about your publication and its history. What kind of a publication are you? • What would hosting this conference mean for your publication and university? • How does your university or students’ union plan on supporting the conference organisation process? Location and travel The SPA has members from the very top of Scotland down to the English south coast, and getting 150 students all in one place from around the UK & Ireland is no mean feat. Here is some of what we’re looking for in your bid: • How far are you from major cities, and what are the main public transport links to your campus? Remember, some of our members will be coming from Ireland, too. • Where is your proposed host site in relation to the local area? Will it be held on a campus well out of the city, or will it be right in the heart of everything?


What to Include Location and travel (continued) • How will this affect people making their way to #SPANC, and what are the likely costs for them? • Is there parking available for cars and minibuses? Is this secure overnight, and will there be any charges? • How will you aid delegates in getting around if things are spread out? It’s not the end of the world if things are spread out, but remember: if people may need help getting around, and if there’s any cost involved in helping them, it needs to be budgeted! Conference facilities Getting 150 or more delegates into a single room can be a tight squeeze, and many sessions (such as keynotes or our AGM) require all delegates to come together in the same place. Ideally, this will become the centre of the conference. We also hold a number of simultaneous training and speaker sessions throughout the event, meaning we need access to a number of smaller rooms too. Here are the main things to think about: • Do you have adequate rooms available for both keynotes and smaller sessions? • How central are all facilities? Are they all within walking distance from other important hubs of the conference? • Where are the rooms in relation to each other? Remember, the vast majority of delegates will not be familiar with your campus.


What to Include Conference facilities (continued) • Is there a cost to book these rooms? If so, make sure it’s included in your overall budget. • Do the rooms come with enough AV kit, including projectors, speakers and microphones? • Are the rooms accessible? #SPANC is an inclusive event, and we need to cater for all student journalists. Accommodation You can’t bring 150 people to a multi-day conference without giving them somewhere to sleep! This will likely be the largest cost in your proposal, but there are lots of different accommodation options that come with different prices. Make sure to shop around - don’t just assume that they will be the cheapest around. This is what you’ll want to focus on: • Are there halls of residence that could be used while students are away? • Is there any hotel nearby that could house all of the delegates? Or are there a few hotels that we could split between? • What are the facilities like at each potential site. Are they accessible? Will people need to share rooms? • What would be the costs per delegate? Is a deposit required, and if so, how much? • How close is the accommodation to the main conference site? If it’s more than a short walk away, how much do you expect it’d cost delegates to get around?


What to Include Catering Delegates need to eat! Look into different options for catering so that you can find the most cost-effective deal. Delegates must be given lunch on both Saturday and Sunday, and a formal dinner on Saturday night. Those on accommodated tickets are entitled to breakfast for each of the morning that they’re with us, and we recommend, but don’t require, that a light meal is provided on the Friday evening. The formal dinner, which takes place on the Saturday night, is also where we host our awards evening. This usually takes the form of a three-course meal, but if you have more creative ideas, please reach out to us before submitting your bid. Think about providing these things in particular: • Will catering be provided on site? If not, how will we get delegates to meals, and what may this cost? • Can breakfast be served in hotels, or will it be cheaper to provide this in another way? • What would the menu look like? How will you cater to individuals with various dietary needs? • Where can all delegates, plus other guests, sit all at once for the formal dinner? Remember, we must accommodate at least 150 delegates, but other people - including organisers and sponsors will also need space. • What options are available at different price levels?


What to Include Entertainment SPANC isn’t just about eating, sleeping and attending talks! This is the only opportunity for students from publications across the country to get together all in one place, and they want to make the most of that. Entertainment is key - we want to provide an informal way for delegates to get to know each other, and have the fun that SPANC is renowned for. Entertainment could be anything - from quizzes, to karaoke and everything in between. Tell us more about the following: • How will you provide an icebreaker session for delegates arriving on the Friday night? • Is there any space on-campus, or off-campus, for such events to be held? • Could you work with other university societies to provide entertainment? • How can entertainment be provided for those who don’t drink alcohol? • Are you able to provide a stage set-up, and professional quality broadcast, of the SPA Awards at the formal dinner? • How much will entertainment options cost? • What is available nearby for additional entertainment options? Remember, people often want to go out and continue the party after the SPA Awards.


What to Include Cost and Budget We wish we could just have infinite money and spend it on all you lovely people. We really do. Apparently, that doesn’t work, so we have to stick to a strict budget to protect the event and the SPA as an organisation. We need you to carefully add up all of the costs, including: • Room hire; • Equipment hire; • Production costs; • Decor for Awards night; • Catering; • Accommodation; • Entertainment costs; • Transportation; and • ANYTHING ELSE THAT HAS A COST! Be very careful when stating costs, and make sure that you find out how long any quotes are valid for. Also make sure to note any payment terms, as well as deposit amounts and dates. Make sure to include all prices as quoted to you. If you want to do calculations (such as per person pricing), that’s fine, but we still need the raw figures, and will be double-checking all of your calculations as we go. If things don’t add up, you’ll be asked to clarify, and it won’t reflect well on your bid.


What to Include Cost and Budget (Continued) Also remember that Value-Added Tax (VAT) is an important part of pricing. The SPA is currently undergoing a transition to charity status, so we request and will be considering prices both with and without VAT. In all cases, please identify which figures were provided to you as quotes, and which you calculated yourselves (by either adding or subtracting VAT). We will be double-checking these figures, so be careful! It’s also a good idea to provide us with any information about additional funding the host team can secure for us. This is most likely in the form of grants - either from the University or Students’ Union. Let us know how much can be applied for, the process for doing so, and the likelihood of receiving those funds. Organisation SPANC is not a one-person job. It takes a strong team to pull it off, and without them, there wouldn’t be a conference in the first place. We recommend that the host publication put forward a small group of representatives to oversee organising the conference at their end. This could include publication committee members, or officers of the Students’ Union. One member of the host team must be identified as the National Conference Host Officer, and serve as the primary contact between host team and the SPA.


What to Include Organisation (Continued) In order to successfully run SPANC, we will require regular meetings between the host team and the SPA’s officers. Meetings will begin once each bid has been reviewed and a successful host chosen. These meetings will mostly take place online, at increasingly regular intervals as SPANC approaches. We also regularly make plans outside of these meetings, so members of the host team have to be easily contactable for us. They’ll also be expected to handle many logistical arrangements on our behalf, including liaising with the various providers of services. To reward those involved in the organisation and running of SPANC, the Executive Committee will provide a limited number of free tickets to the host team for the Awards night and formal dinner. Other information If everybody is offering the basics, what makes your bid stand out? A host team that can provide a number of speakers using local and alumni connections automatically looks more attractive, so make sure to speak to highlight these in your bid. The same applies to sponsorship - the SPA is always looking to find alternative sources of funding to reduce the burden on our members.


What to Include Other information (Continued) Remember, anything that you think your host team can provide to SPANC, no matter how small, ought to be spelt out in your bid. After all, that’s all we have to make a decision on! Dates SPANC is typically held around April, while avoiding Easter weekend. It’s held over two nights, with a Friday evening welcome and a Sunday afternoon conclusion. The SPA Executive Committee has tentatively approved the following dates as available for the organisation of SPANC: • Friday 27 - Sunday 29 March • Friday 3 - Sunday 5 April • Friday 17 - Sunday 19 April • Friday 24 - Sunday 26 April In exceptional circumstances, other dates may be available, but it is highly recommended that potential bidders raise this with the SPA’s Executive Committee prior to submitting a bid. When picking dates, consider the following: • Are the spaces you require available during those dates? Are there any alternative dates that can also be offered? • What will transport to/from the venue be like during the dates offered? • What amenities are open at the venues during those dates?


What to Include Summary This is where you finish your sales pitch, preferably with a bang. Remind us why we should choose you to host SPANC, and what you bring to the table. If there’s anything you’ve forgotten to put elsewhere, make sure to put it here. Endorsements Please attach, along with the bid itself, confirmation from the University/Students’ Union that they are happy to assist with the hosting of the event. Please also provide copies of any quotes provided to you that are referenced in the bid.


Note from the Executive Committee On behalf of the entire SPA team, thank you for your interest in hosting SPANC. Without your efforts, our showpiece event simply wouldn’t be possible. We look forward to seeing your bids, and good luck! The SPA Executive Committee


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#SPANC2020 Bidding Guide  

#SPANC2020 Bidding Guide  

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