Managing the ad-sales process is one of the great challenges for publishers — it was also the focus of a breakfast panel that we held in New York last week. On the panel were Riley McDonough, the SVP/General Manager at Thomson Reuters (NSDQ: TRIN), and James Smith, the Chief Revenue Officer at the Huffington Post. Pam Horan, President of the Online Publishers Association, moderated. The conversation was wide-ranging, looking at everything from how to move beyond standard web metrics, to how a recession changes ad-sales strategy — even what digital publishers can learn from the magazine industry. Here are some excerpts from the breakfast, which was sponsored by Operative, a provider of ad-management services.