by: Nu Yang
More than 900 media professionals from around the world attended the 67th annual World News Media Congress June 1-3 in Washington, D.C. The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, in cooperation with the Newspaper Association of America, held the event in conjunction with the World Editors Forum and World Advertising Forum.
During the opening ceremony, the 2015 Golden Pen of Freedom was awarded to the journalists killed in the line of duty. Nearly 1,200 journalists have been killed since 1992. Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon Jr. filled in for the previously-scheduled Secretary of State John Kerry by welcoming the Congress to D.C.
The last time the event was held in the U.S. was in the nation’s capital 20 years ago, and in the past two decades, session topics have certainly changed.
During a panel, Washington Post executive editor Martin Baron shared his perspective on the evolving profession. “Our biggest challenge is getting asked to do so much,” he told the audience. “We’re a 24-hour news service now.”
USA Today president and publisher Larry Kramer (who stepped down from his position June 29 to join the board of Gannett’s new publishing company), BH Media Group president and chief executive officer Terry Kroeger, and Washington Post president and general manager Stephen Hills discussed the positive signals in American newspapers, in particular, their digital transformation.
“We have to be not only a good journalism company, but a good technology company,” Hills said. “We have to experiment with an engineering mindset.
The same theme was reiterated by New York Times Co. chairman and publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr. as he and assistant editor Alex MacCallum shared the next chapter of the New York Times Innovation Report. Since the report was published, the Times became more data driven in order to understand audience behavior, resulting in the end of Page 1 meetings and striving for a mobile-first publishing schedule.
Other sessions focused on programmatic ad buying, diving into digital business models, successful video strategies, using data and analytics, innovations in advertising, and censorship and intimidation.
In addition, Tomas Brunegård, former chairman and CEO of the Stampen Media Group in Sweden, was re-elected president of WAN-IFRA for a two-year term. Michael Golden, vice chairman of The New York Times, was elected vice president and is in line for the presidency when Brunegård’s term ends in June 2017.
The 2016 Congress will take place in Cartagena, Colombia June 8-10. For more information, visit wan-ifra.org/cartagena2016.
Gasant Abarder, editor, The Independent, Cape Town, South Africa
Matt Monahan, product manager, The Washington Post
In 2016, journalism will_____________________.
GA: Be under greater threat.
MM: Consolidate especially among smaller publishers.
What is your biggest concern in the industry right now?
GA: Managing change and digital disruption.
MM: Legacy publishers are not transforming digitally fast enough.
Besides money, what does every news organization need in order to succeed?
GA: A solid foundation built on freedom and integrity.
MM: A digital strategy on how to chase the audience down.
I’m most encouraged about learning_______________.
GA: How newsrooms are converging.
MM: How other large publishers are meeting the digital challenge.
What makes you optimistic?
GA: Our circulation numbers are up, so it tells me the future of print is not dying.
MM: Legacy publishers are finally beginning to understand digital.
__________ is where newspapers publishers should be investing time and money.
GA: Good, high-quality journalism.
MM: Hiring people with a built-in audience.