INMA crosses milestone of 15,000 members

Reinvention of the association during Covid-19

Earl Wilkinson executive director and CEO Photo INMA
Earl Wilkinson executive director and CEO Photo INMA

This year, celebrating its 90th anniversary, the International News Media Association (INMA) passed 15,000 members last week. “I’ve noticed during Covid-19, that people need a reason to celebrate. Crossing 15,000 members in our 90th year (on the week I celebrated my 30th anniversary) is a damned good reason to raise our glasses to our beloved press association that energetically finds new ways to help our members and our industry,” said Earl Wilkinson, executive director and CEO of INMA.

How INMA reinvented itself during Covid-19

“In a year when a global pandemic overshadowed all plans to commemorate nine decades of service to the news industry, I want to use this occasion to shed light on what has happened to INMA during Covid-19 and put what has been achieved in a context befitting nine decades of achievement,” said Wilkinson. “It is a story of fear and reinvention that has attracted the attention of other associations and even member media companies. It is a story that you helped to shape through your involvement and your contributions, all accelerated through crisis.”

During the pandemic, INMA’s steps include increased the annualized daily content provided to members from 500 to 800 articles, increased global webinars from 33 last year to 75 this year, and expanded strategic reports from four to nine.

INMA also created the INMA Knows distillation project to break down the avalanche of information at your fingertips as a member. It launched webinars in South Asia and Latin America where languages, time zones, and cultures are unique. INMA launched the ’30 Under 30’ Awards, created and managed by its Young Professionals Initiative.

Through partnerships with the Google News Initiative and Facebook Journalism Project, INMA was able to support subscription initiatives in Europe, North America, and South Asia. With the Google News Initiative, it created the Elevate Scholarships for under-represented groups — responding to a unique moment in our world.

Through three quarters of 2020, traffic is up sharply: 21% more users and 28% more pageviews, Wilkinson said. “We have so much more in store for INMA members in 2021. We have grabbed the Covid-19 moment and unabashedly ripped through the ‘what if’ fears,” he said. “Our Board hears you, and they are active. We know people won’t be getting on planes, certainly across oceans, any time soon. We know our little virtual town needs segmenting, and those communities deserve tender loving care.”

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.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Indian Printer and Publisher’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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