INMA members reconnect in person during New York Board activities, study tour

By Dawn McMullan


Dallas, Texas, USA


Nearly 30 months after last meeting in person in Sydney, the INMA Board of Directors dispensed with Zoom and reconvened last week in New York over three days of meetings, dinners, study tours, and side gatherings. 

Among the highlights during the June 1-4 New York activities:

  • Physical events and initiatives: Board members mapped out INMA’s reboot of physical events and the emerging role of virtual activities as well as the direction of association’s six initiatives. The board meeting was held at News Corp’s global headquarters. 
  • Board slate and financial review: A slate of new board nominees and a financial review were approved and affirmed in the association’s annual business meeting. 
  • New volunteer leadership: Maribel Perez Wadsworth, president of Gannett Media (see video produced for study tour stop), took over as INMA president from News Corp Global Head of Transformation Damian Eales after a pandemic-extended three years as INMA president. Gert Ysebaert, CEO of Mediahuis, was elected first vice president.

  • New York friends and family dinner: A 50-person dinner featuring the INMA Board and top media company executives in New York included representatives from News Corp, Gannett | USA Today Network, The New York Times, Google News Initiative, Condé Nast, Time, Newsday, Bloomberg Media, and Piano. News Corp CEO Robert Thomson and Gannett CEO Mike Reed were among the guests. 
  • Study tour: Board members visited The New York Times, Gannett | USA Today Network, and News Corp for a day-long study tour featuring briefings on each company’s strategic priorities.

In short, the Board activities were a return to normalcy — with the occasional pandemic twist of mask requirements, QR codes for security, or the need for someone still to present via Zoom. 

For the INMA Board, which meets virtually each month, it was a new appreciation for the value of connecting with peers in both formal and informal settings — a rarity during the pandemic. Of the 24 Board members attending the New York meeting, for example, only 10 attended the Sydney Board meeting 2.5 years ago. 

Much has transpired between physical Board meetings. INMA reinvented itself as an event-based association pre-pandemic to one of member engagement and virtual during the pandemic. As a result, corporate membership has jumped from 125 to 205 (+64%), and INMA’s voice in the news industry has gotten bigger with initiatives dedicated to subscriptions, product, newsrooms, advertising, data, and the relationship with Big Tech platforms. 

Now, the association has to map out the careful recalibration of its pandemic agenda with the desire by members to re-connect physically with conferences and study tours. For example, the Board learned registrations for the September INMA European Media Innovation Week in Copenhagen are approaching pre-pandemic levels — more than three months in advance of the event.

Among the rebooted physical events for 2023 will be the Subscriptions Summit in Stockholm and the World Congress of News Media in New York. INMA also will launch The Vail Roundtable, a free gathering of news industry CEOs originally scheduled for launch in 2020. INMA will keep global master classes and regional summits virtual next year.

About Dawn McMullan

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