INMA crosses milestone of 15,000 members

Reinvention of the association during Covid-19

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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, INMA.org 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.”

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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