By: Tom Fenton
International newspaper on-line service was created by FIEJ
to give publishers a fast, inexpensive means of exchanging
information in a time of lean budgets and rising travel costs sp.
EVGENY ABOV, BUSINESS director of the Moscow News, was hunting for new marketing ideas.
So he dialed into an international newspaper network called NEMO, accessed a marketing ideas database and found something going on in the United States that he liked: the Boston Globe’s plan to offer long-term subscribers merchant discount cards.
Because of the NEMO network, Abov soon will be offering a Russian version of the Globe’s GlobeCard to his paper’s advertisers and subscribers.
NEMO, which stands for Newspaper Management On Line, is an electronic network created by the International Federation of Newspaper Publishers (FIEJ). It was launched in March 1993 with almost no capital investment, and in a little more than a year, it has attracted about 70 subscribers, including nearly every European publishers association.
East European publishers were among early users of the network through grants from the Freedom Forum, which provided computers, software and yearly subscriptions to publishers associations in seven post-Communist countries.
“NEMO is a window on the world for newspaper professionals worldwide,” said K. Prescott Low, FIEJ president and publisher of the Quincy, Mass., Patriot Ledger. “It’s the on ramp to the Internet, the current version of the information superhighway.”
NEMO was created to give publishers an inexpensive, reliable and fast means of exchanging information in a time of lean budgets and rising travel costs.
For Abov, one of the network’s heaviest users, it would be worth the money if only for the marketing ideas it provides.
“Newspaper publishing was never considered to be a business in Russia,” Abov said. “There’s no special marketing training for media executives and no domestic experience. Every marketing idea is a revelation to us.”
In addition to the searchable marketing ideas database, the network provides trade journal summaries, publishers association newsletters, an e-mail system, industry event calendars, limited access to Internet and a database of newspaper executives containing about 500 entries from 100 countries.
The network can be used to rally support when journalists or press freedoms are in peril. And users also have the ability to send messages directly from their computers, a popular feature in Eastern Europe, where fax machines are less common.
Patrice Schneider, the director of FIEJ’s Newspaper Marketing Bureau, noted that Editor & Publisher magazine was recently hooked up and is now furnishing a weekly extract that is available on line worldwide.
Similar summaries are provided by the French trade journal L’Echo de La Presse and the British journal Newspaper Focus.
NEMO is managed by Schneider and assistant Karine Piot from FIEJ offices in Paris. Together they field questions on the network and cull trade journals for information to go on line.
NEMO rides on the General Electric Information Services Network, which has local access numbers in many cities. This is the same service that carries Knight-Ridder’s PressLink. The software needed to access the system also is the same.
“We don’t see ourselves as a competitor to PressLink,” said FIEJ director general Timothy Balding. “They are principally in the business of transmitting text and photos between news organizations. FIEJ is in the networking and ideas business, extending electronically the whole trade association philosophy.”
Getting on line with NEMO is no different from any other electronic network. It requires a computer, a modem, a subscription and the proper software.
The subscriptions and passwords are obtained from FlEJ headquarters. The annual fee is about $650 ? $160 for individual FIEJ members ? and the software costs about $200.
Additionally, subscribers pay for the amount of time they use the network. Schneider said the average monthly use charge is about $12.
Only a handful of NEMO subscribers are American publications and organizations, a fact that FIEJ president Low attributes to the fact that NEMO has not been publicized in the United States.
“More U.S. newspaper managers should participate, and I believe they will,” Low wrote in response to a question sent over NEMO.
He said NEMO is “a fun project, and FIEJ is pleased with the progress we’ve made in a very short time. I’m convinced the NEMO network is the web that will link the newspaper community worldwide as we enter the next century.”
?( “I’m convinced the NEMO network is the web that will link the newspaper community worldwide as we enter the next century.”) [Caption]
?(-K.Prescott Low, FIEJ president and publisher of the Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.) [Caption]
?(Fenton is the Zurich, Switzerland-based international representative for the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center at Columbia University and editor at large with Freedom Forum) [Caption]