Program for change in Asian newsrooms

A WAN-IFRA and Facebook initiative

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The Hindustan Times' modernized newsroom
The Hindustan Times' modernized newsroom

Ten news publishers across Asia will be able to speed up the transformation of their newsrooms to ensure they are both audience-centered, and sustainable, thanks to a new partnership between WAN-IFRA and Facebook.

The Newsroom Transformation Programme 2020, launched on 29 October 2019 at Digital Media Asia 2019, will provide intensive coaching, training and mentoring over six months to mid-level editorial and commercial participants.  The participants will be drawn from the ten mid-sized news organizations which are selected from applications by WAN-IFRA members in the region. A formal call for applicants will go out next week.

Announcing the new initiative, Thomas Jacob, chief operating officer of WAN-FRA said, “All over the world, newsrooms are having to transform to stay relevant and sustainable. We are delighted that through this partnership with Facebook, we can be a catalyst and help our members develop the skills and generate ideas to move their newsrooms and products to the next level.”

The four-themed program will support participants in understanding waves of disruption to news media. It will equip them to plan, lead and manage transformation while building a culture of innovation in the newsroom. Developing an editorial vision for the news organization and a content portfolio that supports the needs of different revenue streams. Participants will also learn to define target audiences and planning audience development for acquisition, activation, engagement and retention. It will focus on new product development in cooperation with relevant parts of the organization. They will also learn to identify the new operational skills and capabilities needed to deliver the editorial strategy. It will equip participants to plan new workflows and adjust newsroom resources to execute a new strategy.

“Facebook is thrilled to bring this opportunity to news organizations across Asia as part of our joint commitment to ensure traditional news outlets can create thriving digital businesses. We are proud to partner with WAN-IFRA to bring the Newsroom Transformation Programme 2020 and continue our commitment to support the news publisher community in the Asia Pacific,” said Anjali Kapoor, director of news Partnerships Facebook APAC.

The program will include workshops, online coaching and support. It will be led by George Brock and Grzegorz ‘Greg’ Piecchota. Both have an extensive newsroom, academic and consulting credentials.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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