Tag Archives: World Association of Newspapers

Conference on New Media and the Press Freedom Dimension

Earlier this year, I’d advocated that news websites promote World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd. Printed newspapers have been promoting it for years. It’s time for online editions to take that responsibility.

Last week in Paris, UNESCO, The World Association of Newspapers/World Editors Forum, and The World Press Freedom Committee held a ‘Conference on New Media and the Press Freedom Dimension.’ Its speeches and background papers are available online.

Promote World Press Freedom on May 3rds

(Storm Coming, Puerto de las Nieves, Canary Islands, Spain)

On November 22nd, a date which marked my 10th anniversary of consulting full-time about new-media to traditional media companies, after a speech at the Spanish Daily Newspaper Association’s annual meeting, I took the liberty of staying in Spain for the rest of the year as an extended vacation in that country’s Canary Islands. Forgive me, but this long vacation was long in coming.

I’m back at work now, and want to start 2007 with a suggestion to news websites:

If our new media is to succeed traditional printed and broadcast media, then it also must assume traditional media’s responsibilities about press freedom around the world. The world is now in its second ten years of mass use of new media, and I think the time has now come for new-media journalists and editors to begin assuming the mantle of world press freedom in general.

In 1993, the United Nations declared every May 3rd to be World Press Freedom Day, a day to pay tribute to the journalists around the world who risk their lives by professional choice, in their effort to promote the free flow of information and assertion of press freedom on behalf of all members of society. World Press Freedom day also is commemorated by organizations such as Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, the Inter American Press Association, International Federation of Journalists, Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, International Press Institute, Media Institute of Southern Africa, and the World Association of Newspapers (WAN).

WAN, for example, supplies newspapers with press freedom case study stories, public service advertisements, and even videos, to publish on May 3rds. According to WAN, as of November at least 109 journalists had been killed during 2006 and many more have been imprisoned. WAN is even holding a conference about ‘New Media: The Press Freedom Dimension’ in Paris on 15-16 February 2007.

On May 3rd, 2007, I think news websites should each devote a story and at least one home page banner ad (even if in rotation) to World Press Freedom. If newspapers can promote it, why can’t our sites? Heaven knows, we should be able to do even better than traditional media. And our commitment is only one story and one banner ad on one day a year. Wouldn’t it be great to see nytimes.com, washingtonpost.com, guardian.co.uk, dw-world.de, oglobo.com.br, and smaller sites reminding what journalists risk on users’ behalf.

As a publishing consultant and former journalist, I’m asking my clients to promote World Press Freedom Day online.

Sincerely yours,

Vin Crosbie

When Trade Associations Do Dumb Things


Night Safari, Singapore, July 2006  – © Vin Crosbie

When the newspaper industry is already limping, why do some of its major trade association further shoot it in the feet?

That’s what the World Association of Newspapers, the Federation of International Periodical Press, and Ifra have done. I won’t directly tell you which of these associations is to blame, but you’ll probably be able to deduce which from this posting.

For years, WAN, Ifra (whose name I’ll explain beneath this posting), and FIPP have together organized Beyond the Printed Word, an annual conference about publishing on more than paper. It’s held in the autumn in a European city (Prague in 2004 and Madrid last year). Attendence at last year’s was sold out. This year’s Beyond the Printed Word will be held November 9-10 in Vienna.

Ifra, which has been the general organizer of the conference, recruited me in April to be this year’s co-chair/co-moderator (the other is Annelies van den Belt, the new media director of the Telegraph Group Limited of the UK). This year’s conference venue was set; the conference program outlined; and invitations were sent to proposed speakers (almost all of whom accepted).

But WAN and FIPP then decided to split from Ifra, hold their own new media conference — the World Digital Publishing Conferenc and Expo — and scheduled it in another European city two weeks before Beyond the Printed Word.

I don’t know about you, but I see no reason for the newspaper industry to hold two similar conferences at approximately the same time in two different cities. It’s counter-productive and will dilute or muddy either conference or probably both. It’s a lame idea for this limping industry.

Because I’m a co-chairman of this year’s Beyond the Printed Word, you might think that I know a lot about why the split occured. But in fact I don’t. I found out about the split weeks after it had occured, and only then because I’d read WAN’s announcement of its World Digital Publishing Conference and Expo and asked WAN why they and FIPP were announcing their own digital publishing conference a fortnight before the conference that I had thought I was co-chairing in Vienna for their organizations plus Ifra.

One reason why most trade conferences are so expensive to attend is that the associations use them as a revenue generators. Attendee registration fees can rage anywhere from $500 and $3,000. Attending Beyond the Printed Word will cost you between €850 and €1,290 or the World Digital Publishing Conference and Expo €980 and €1,450.

I suspect that WAN and FIPP (which generally goes along with WAN) didn’t like the revenue split they’d been getting from the Beyond the Printed World conferences. Deciding to hold their own conference, they intentionally scheduled it right before Beyond the Printed Word to preëmpt as much of the latter attendence as possible.

Too bad. If WAN wanted to pull out of Beyond the Printed Word and run its own digital publishing conference, it should have scheduled its conference at an antipodal date — such as in the spring — rather than attempt to preëmpt the annual Beyond the Printed Word conference it, FIPP, and Ifra had spent years promoting and developing. That would have better served the newspaper industry than holding two similar conferences at approximately the same time.

I personally regret the split because I like the staffs of both WAN and Ifra. But because I now find myself to be co-chairman of a conference organized only by Ifra and WAN wants to compete with it, I’ve got a duty to make sure that Ifra’s Beyond the Printed Word is a better conference than WAN & FIPP’s World Digital Publishing Conference and Expo. I regret that my friends at WAN have put me involuntarily into that position. I wish it wasn’t so.

[By the way, Ifra was originally named the INCA-FIEJ Research Association. INCA meant International Newspaper Colour Association and FIEJ meant Fédération Internationale des Editeurs de Journaux.]

Beyond the Printed Word 2006

I thank the International Federation of the Periodical Press and Ifra for naming Annelies van den Belt, the New Media Director of London’s the Telegraph Group Limited, and me as the two chairpeople for those trade organization’s annual Beyond the Printed Word digital publishing conference. The conference will be held November 9-10 in Vienna.

Attendence at the 2005 Beyond the Printed Word sold out. We hope to do the same this year. We’ll be focusing on four themes: Empowering the community, ‘Search-mania,’ Online advertising, and New news formats.

Among the confirmed speakers are Naples Daily News Director New Media & Convergence Rob Curley, MSNBC Vice President of Sales Kyoo Kim, Speurders Managing Director Michiel van der Meer, Fairfax Digital Managing Editor Mike van Niekerk, Sesam Managing DirectorMikal Rohde, and Guardian Unlimited Digital Director Simon Waldman.

Raise a Web Banner for World Press Freedom Day (May 3)


I call for each newspaper website worldwide to create and display a banner ad on May 3rd for World Press Freedom Day.

During the past seven years, the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) has freely provided printed newspapers with photos, graphics, and texts about jailed or killed journalists, including essays by world notables denouncing the jailings or killings of journalists, that newspapers can publish on May 3rd.

Why shouldn’t newspapers’ online editions also campaign for world press freedom?

Online editions get their news from the same journalists. Plus, if online editions are to succeed print and become the dominant source of news during this century, then online editions must raise the banner for world press freedom. Let’s start now!

WAN has no World Press Freedom Day campaign materials specifically for online editions, a forgivable oversight. Moreover, my guess is that WAN might not have staff time or budget to create such materials between today and May 3rd.

Yet, online newspaper staffs are creative. I propose that online newspapers editions adapt the World Press Freedom Day infographics, photos, and texts that WAN offers online for printed edition use. Shrink the printed banners to banner ad size, etc.

Can your online newspaper afford to give one banner ad space on its home page?

It’s only for one day. If you don’t want to give us that advertising space, then just add another space for this campaign. (Or perhaps create a separate web page about World Press Freedom.) Can’t your online edition do that as a public service in honor of the thousands of journalists who risk their lives each day, some of whose work you might be publishing? Or for the more than 500 journalists who have been arrested and imprisoned this year? Or for the more than 50 who have been murdered this year?

What should news sites not operated by newspapers do?

WAN offers these campaign materials specifically to newspapers for use on May 3rd. I believe that prohibits use by other types of media organizations. However, this shouldn’t mean that other types of organizations can’t craft from their own campaign materials from other sources, notably from news stories about imprisoned or killed journalists. Do so!

Many newspaper publishers this year have declared that online is no longer subsidiary but core to their news efforts. Let’s make World Press Freedom Day core online, too!

eMarketer Backs My Paris Speech

On Friday, eMarketer cited my speech last month to the World Association of Newspaper’s Advertising conference and verified what I said:

    eMarketer’s own projections confirm fears that online classified ad spending does not measure up to other, more vibrant online ad spending formats such as rich media and sponsorships. Although total spending on online classified advertising will continue to grow for several years, it is likely to do no more than match the growth in total spending.

I’m glad eMarketer’s figures agree with Borrell Associates‘ figures, which I cited. eMarketer’s report also provided a useful chart (the Borrell research provides many others).

Continue reading eMarketer Backs My Paris Speech

WAN Paris Report: American Newspaper Revenues Online


My speech last week for Borrell Associates to the World Association of Newspapers Advertising Conference in Paris received good play in The Guardian of London, MarketWatch in the U.S., PaidContent.org, and from WAN itself. Yet, most of the news stories focused on a comparison I made between the values of print edition readers and online edition readers.

That was a good ‘take-out’ quote for those stories to use. However, I made that comparison towards the end of my speech just to show the newspaper advertising executives that they must greatly increase their online revenues, particularly if their readerships continue shifting from print to online.

Other points I made were that American newspapers are earning significant revenues online, particularly now that local advertisers are going online. However, newspapers are in danger of losing local online advertising revenues, not to TV or radio stations but to ‘pure-play’ Internet competitors such as Google and Yahoo. And that newspapers must their expand their online advertising focus well beyond just the traditional classified advertising categories of jobs, properties, and automotive, because those three categories account for just a fraction of the monies advertisers are spending online.

So, for the record, here’s the text of that speech:

Continue reading WAN Paris Report: American Newspaper Revenues Online

Conference Season Begins

Conference season, which seems to last ten months every year, is dawning again.

I’ll be in Paris later this month at the 16th World Newspaper Advertising Conference & Expo, which this year is entitled for obvious reasons Revenue Generation 2006. The conference is organized by the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) and will be held February 23-24 atthe Sofitel Forum Rive Gauche Hotel.

I’ll be speaking in the session, Where’s the money? My topic is ‘On-line revenues are exploding worldwide. A presentation of the trends and the implications for your advertising revenues.’ And I’ll be doing so at the behest of Borrell Associates, who I represent outside North America.

Two other speakers there who might be of interest to online publishers are the always Jim Chisholm, the strategy advisor to WAN, whose advice is always excellent and souond, and Gavin O’Reilly, WAN’s president and the COO of Independent News and Media who recently announced WAN’s endeavor to charge Internet search engines that index newspaper content.

Unfortunately, my schedule won’t permit me to be in Europe the following week when the Online Publishers Association of Europe will hold its Forum for the Future conference in London on March 1-3. It has an interesting list of speakers, although mainly those from traditional companies.

(There’s also an interesting, invitation-only media dinner being held on March 1st in London, hosted by Netimperative and Infospace.)

I won’t be attending the Newspaper Association of America’s CONNECTIONS conference next month for the same reason I didn’t attend it last year, only worse.

I will however be attending Editor & Publisher and MediaWeek magazines’ Interactive Media Conference in Las Vegas, May 18-19. I so far appear to be the only panelist in its What’s Wrong with Media session. Just my luck!

And this Thursday I’ll be at Media Summit New York on a panel entitled Envisioning the Future of Digital Environment — as a Student Curriculu, as a Cultural Protoype, and as a Digital Lifestyle. I’ll be giving the same presentation on that topic that I gave last April at Digital Hollywood in Santa Monica. Joining me on that panel will be Dr. Phillip Long of MIT, Jeff Jarvis of City University of New York, John Tarnoff of Dreamworks Animation, Brett Goldberg of cDigix, and Wendy Dubit of Vergant Media.

If you’re attending one of the conferences that I am, say hello.

WAN-IFRA Merger Off

Merger talks between two of the world’s largest newspaper associations have broke off. For the past months, the World Association of Newspapers and Ifra had been discussing merger, but this morning WAN announced that talks had ceased, at least for the foreseeable future. Neither WAN nor Ifra said why. “Both associations agreed to continue close cooperation and expressed the hope that circumstances would allow them to re-open discussions on a merger at a future date,” wrote WAN spokesman Larry Kilman.

WAN, based in Paris, represents 72 national newspaper associations, plus 13 national news agencies, nine regional press organizations, individual newspaper executives from 102 nations. IFRA, based in Darmstadt, Germany, represents more than 3,000 publishing companies and suppliers worldwide. .

In November, I’d written that a WAN/IFRA merger would have greatly benefited the newspaper industry and have brought greater coordination new media efforts worldwide. WAN’s “Shaping the Newspaper of the Future” project is among the world’s most conceptually advanced about what newspapers must do to survive in the 21st Century. IFRA is the world’s leader at newspaper printing technologies and has been pioneering the multimedia newsroom of the future at its Newsplex research facility in South Carolina.