WAN-IFRA joins the Independent News Emergency Relief Coordination (INERC)

To coordinate help during the pandemic

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WAN-IFRA
WAN-IFRA joins INERC

The Independent News Emergency Relief Coordination (INERC) is an effort to help assist funders willing and able to provide significant financial support for independent news media. INERC’s ambition is to guide the emergency funding to those independent news media around the world who need help the most in this challenging situation during the coronavirus crisis. It will support better understand where the need is greatest and coordinate the efforts to make the most significant possible difference in this difficult moment. WAN-IFRA has joined INERC to help news media companies during the pandemic.

The coronavirus crisis will have a huge impact on the news media, with much independent news media across the world facing potentially catastrophic declines in income and consequently contemplating significant cost-cutting and at worst closing down.

The challenges many news organizations are facing are bad news for our societies and our ability to combat the coronavirus. Independent news media are key to helping people understand the crisis and act accordingly to protect themselves and their communities. They are key to both publicizing and scrutinizing how governments and other powerful institutions respond to the crisis.

INERC is based on the idea that better information on the need for and supply of emergency funding relief can help ensure this relief is more effectively and evenly distributed globally, especially to the less well-known news media that often get little or no support.

The purpose of INERC is:

  • Collecting data to identify areas of greatest need from independent news media across the world, including both for-profit and non-profit, but excluding government-controlled and state-owned media.
  • On this basis, advising funders as to where they can make the greatest possible difference.
  • Providing optional overall guidelines for those considering stepping up to provide funding help for independent news media during the coronavirus crisis.

What makes INERC unique is that it directly connects several major funders, networks organizing independent news media, media development organizations, and research capacity to enable more effective and informed coordinated emergency relief. It is a temporary initiative, initially planned for six months, and supplement the important work done by others to coordinate media funding and media development.

Coordinate the response to the crisis

The members aim to coordinate their response to the crisis in part by facilitating collection of data which is anonymized, analyzed, and presented publicly and to the group’s members to enable a better understanding of the coronavirus crisis’ impact on independent news media and to enable more informed decision making among major funders offerings emergency relief for journalism. All the data collected as part of this research is kept strictly confidential and is only available to the Reuters Institute’s researchers. INERC members will meet regularly to discuss research findings, coordinate responses, and share ideas, but all decisions about the research are taken by the Reuters Institute.

We hope that this temporary collaboration will also inform and support the creation of the International Fund for Public Interest Media (IFPIM) to provide more long-term structure for channeling funding from development agencies, philanthropic donors and platform companies to independent journalism across the world in a way that protects news media’s editorial independence. The founding members have initiated INERC on the basis of long-running conversations in informal advisory conversations around the IFPIM and hope other funders will join the coordination effort.

How INERC will operate

INERC involves a group of charities, foundations, nonprofits, and private companies providing emergency relief in the form of financial support for independent news media. INERC is open to organizations in a position to offer significant financial support to independent news media joining on the basis of support from existing members.

Founding members include BBC Media Action, Center for International Media Assistance, Facebook, Google, John D., and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Luminate, and WAN-IFRA (the World Association of News Publishers).

Here’s how INERC will operate:

  • Day-to-day, it will be run by a small secretariat at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism working with support from Luminate.
  • The INERC group members provide input on the work and make decisions about the admission of new members and get regular updates on the research based on fully anonymized data to coordinate and inform their funding support for independent news media.
  • INERC will work with other organizations on understanding the needs of independent news media and on the data collection.
  • Topline findings will be published on a regular basis to help others navigate the crisis.

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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