Asian news media enterprises embark on a five-month transformation program

WAN-IFRA Newsroom & Business Transformation 2020 program

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Grzegorz Piechota WAN-IFRA Media researcher and consultant image

Amid a Covid-19 pandemic that has crippled global economies and is threatening the future of the media industry, ten news media companies from six Asian cities are embarking on WAN-IFRA’s inaugural Newsroom and Business Transformation 2020 program. This first-of-its-kind program for Asian news organizations brings together one senior editorial and one senior commercial executive from each publisher for five months of training and coaching to equip them with the insights, know-how, and tools to execute a transformation strategy in their organizations. The curriculum covers journalism, operations, design thinking, organizational culture, and audience engagement.

The ten news media enterprises participating in the WAN-IFRA’s Newsroom and Business Transformation 2020 program include:

Bangkok Post

Bisnis Indonesia

Kompas Media Nusantara

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Sin Chew Media Corporation

Singapore Press Holdings

The Edge Communications Sdn Bhd

The Jakarta Post

The Manila BulletinUnited Daily News

“Our goal is to help Asian media companies become agile and responsive to the changing consumer needs in the digital age. With the close guidance and mentorship from experts, the program will accelerate the transformation process and equip the media companies with the skills needed to navigate the increasingly complex media landscape,” says Thomas Jacob, chief operating officer of WAN-IFRA.

Participants, whose job titles include chief operating officer, vice president of Convergence, general manager of Marketing, editor-in-chief, executive editor and deputy editor-in-chief, will now meet online every fortnight from June to October 2020 for lectures by the program leads, talks by guest speakers, group sharing and brainstorming sessions.

This WAN-IFRA program, which is made possible by the Facebook Journalism Project, was originally designed to begin in March 2020 and take place in four cities over six months. Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, WAN-IFRA has worked with the coaches to revise the program with the additional urgent needs of the news industry in mind: how to lead during the crisis, accelerate digital transformation, diversify revenue sources and adopt agile work methods.

“We recognize that news organizations are under pressure to transform and build thriving digital publishing businesses and this is even more complex with the additional challenges during Covid-19. We hope that through our partnership with WAN-IFRA, the Newsroom and Business Transformation Asia 2020 program will assist newsroom leaders with business transformation while continuing to produce important, meaningful journalism that serves and informs our region,” says Anjali Kapoor, director of News Partnerships, Facebook Asia Pacific.

Well-known media consultant and researcher Grzegorz Piechota and 28-year news veteran and former managing editor of The Times of London, George Brock, helm the program, while global digital creative business school Hyper Island will teach the Design Thinking modules.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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