World Editors Forum Asia chapter’s Young Media Leaders fellowship program

Amplifying the impact of news reporting

he World Editors Forum, WAN-IFRA's global network for editors news organisations, and Temasek Foundation launch new Young Media Leaders Fellowship Programme to groom future media industry leaders

The new Young Media Leaders (YML) fellowship program, an initiative of the World Editors Forum Asia Chapter, the regional network in Asia for editors within WAN-IFRA, and supported by Temasek Foundation, is launched with its inaugural class of 30 fellows. The fellowship program seeks to nurture the next generation of media leaders who are committed to shaping the regional future.

The aim is for YML Fellows to contribute effectively to the pursuit of good journalism, foster dialogue and greater connectedness among one another, and build up newsrooms to meet the needs of their societies in these uncertain times. The inaugural class of YML fellows comprises young, high-potential editors and journalists from across the region nominated by their newsrooms. They will gather online over the next six months to share experiences, exchange ideas, amplify the impact of news reporting, and learn to lead in an industry transformed by technology. This is especially relevant as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to batter global economies and threaten the future of the publishing industry.

“This fellowship aims to nurture the next generation of media leaders who can contribute effectively to the pursuit of good journalism and build capacity in their newsrooms to meet the needs of their societies in these uncertain times. We want to expose Asia’s future media leaders to the diverse challenges facing the media industry across the region and provide them the opportunity to network and build partnerships to share best practices and improve capabilities” said Warren Fernandez, president of the World Editors Forum and editor-in-chief of The Straits Times in Singapore, who mooted the initiative.

“The world’s and Asia’s top news publishers meet regularly at over 50 WAN-IFRA events and meetings annually. With the Young Media Leaders Fellowship in Asia, made possible through the generous support of donors such as the Temasek Foundation in Singapore, we are now able to create a similar platform for the next generation of industry leaders” said Thomas Jacob, chief operating officer of WAN-IFRA.

“The media is well-placed to contribute to the shaping of the narrative of our times. By tapping on a strong network of media leaders across the region, newsrooms can draw on one another’s strengths to achieve greater impact. We hope that fellows can use the opportunities given to grow, and be empowered to build up not just their newsroom but also to contribute to thought leadership to shape the challenges in our society” said Lim Hock Chuan, chief executive of Temasek Foundation Connects.

Due to the spread of COVID-19, the YML program will take place mostly through online platforms. Participants will attend a week-long online executive leadership program tailored for newsroom leaders in June, attend the online Asian Media Leaders eSummit in July, participate in various online dialogues on regional political, economic and societal issues, plan events, activities, and stories to mark World News Day on 28 September 2020 and gather in Singapore in January 2021 for the Fellowship finale where the Asian Media Leaders Summit will be held, conditions permitting.

Fellows will also continue to deepen their engagement with one another during and beyond the program through the establishment of an alumni community on social media and through future speaking opportunities.

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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– Naresh Khanna

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