WAN-Ifra World Newspaper Congress and World Editors Forum
World Newspaper Week October 10-15 in Vienna, Austria, featured the WAN-IFRA World Newspaper Congress and the World Editors Forum.
Speakers addressed a variety of issues over the five days, but seeded throughout their presentations were thoughts about how technology — particularly in the form of mobile devices, tablet computers, and social media — is rapidly transforming the way that traditional news organisations conceive of their business from end to end.
These technologies are changing the way news organisations report and edit their content, and are changing the protocols for how journalists interact with the public. They are also rapidly transforming how marketing and advertising messages are funneled through the media to targeted consumers.
In an age of such rapid change, news organisations and their journalism remain vital to democracy, and their products remain vital resources that advertisers need to reach consumers. So even as they are confronted with changing business models and the need to jump to new platforms, media companies fill a role that society cannot do without.
In his welcome to visitors, Jacob Mathew, president of WAN-IFRA, said: “Our industry is in the vortex of a turbulent world.” He sought to cast the change taking place in the media industry as an overall positive. He talked about the vital information that news organisations provide, and the importance of press freedom — both for society, and in attracting a wide, committed audience.
Hans Gasser, president of the Austrian Newspaper Publishers Association, said the challenge was to strengthen news organisations’ core product and provide quality content while simultaneously shifting to digital platforms. The business challenges facing the industry were great, but that freedom of expression was vital for democratic societies, and media would find a way to preserve its role.
10-15 October 2011