First participants in Table Stakes Europe initiative to support local journalism

2019-09-20. WAN-IFRA announces the names of the participating publishers in its inaugural Table Stakes Europe programme to support local media in its digital transformation. Supported by the Google News Initiative, the coaching programme centers around a performance challenge and builds on the success of the same programme in the United States.

by Vincent Peyrègne | September 20, 2019

The first cohort of 15 publishers will each select a challenge relating to making their digital business more sustainable – for example, doubling the number of digital subscribers. 

Working together with Doug Smith, three dedicated coaches, expert advisors and their fellow publishers, they will meet five times over a 12-15 month period, with the full support of their management and editorial teams – starting in Paris in October. 

The programme is meant to accelerate journalism’s shift to digital from print, help newsrooms evolve their practices, reach new audiences and better engage their communities. Seven common themes have emerged to tie together the granular, specific table stakes for core work, workflow, roles, skills, technology, tools, organisation and culture. All are predicated on the belief that putting the audience at the center is the only and best way to deliver value.

Quotes from Participating Publishers 2019/20

“The never-ending, newsroom driven digital transformation process started for Lensing Media two years ago. It feels like we’ve made up ground, but it is and always will be a game of changes and improvements. We are very happy to be a participant of the Table Stakes programme as we’ve only heard great things about it from colleagues in the US. It will help us to focus even more on the important tasks and adjust our way into a successful subscription business.”
Moritz Tillmann CDO Lensing Media, Germany

“We are delighted to be involved in the first Table Stakes Europe programme and to get the opportunity to work with other publishers across the continent to develop projects which will help us secure a strong digital future. I am sure we can learn a lot from each other as well as developing our own plans to make more of the commercial potential of our digital audience.”
Richard Neville, Head of Newspapers, DC Thomson, United Kingdom

“Diário de Notícias is very eager to participate in Table Stakes Europe. We’ve been following this project in the local media in the US very closely. We will jump into this coaching with lots of ideas and a hope: to learn a lot, from the cohort and with the coaches. It will be very helpful to once again realise we are not alone on this bumpy media road: and the challenges and pitfalls are the same – small newsrooms, not scalable languages, difficult monetisation and very hard reader revenue models.” Catarina Carvalho, Executive Editor – Diário de Notícias, Lisbon – Portugal

“We are pleased to be participating with our European colleagues in this ambitious project which promises to support us in a structured transition to digital.” Sébastien Voisard, Managing Director and Publisher – Démocrate Media Holding – Le Quotidien Jurassien, Switzerland

“Le Télégramme is delighted to contribute to the Table Stakes initiative. Capitalising on the power of the digital world to enhance the reach of local and quality journalism is fully aligned with the company’s philosophy.” Nicolas Papon, Director Marketing, Digital Products – Le Télégramme, France

Full list of Table Stakes Europe Participating Publishers 2019/20

Le Parisien
Le Télégramme

Heidenheimer Zeitung
Lensing Media
NOZ Digital
Zeitungsverlag Aachen 

Edinet srl

Contact – Inquiries

For more information, interviews or to make contact with participants, please contact Nick Tjaardstra, Director Global Advisory

Note to the editors

ABOUT TABLES STAKES EUROPE Table Stakes Europe is a WAN-IFRA programme in partnership with Google News Initiative. A transformation and coaching programme for regional and local news publisher, Table Stakes Europe uses a challenge-centric, performance-and-accountability change methodology to identify and then close shortfalls against seven core performance challenges, the “Table Stakes”. The so-called ‘table stakes’ is an expression for the money needed to have a seat at the take in a poker game.

The Programme builds upon the successful track record of an initiative designed and led by Doug Smith. In the United States, “Table Stakes” is a project of the Knight-Lenfest Newsroom Initiative. In its first year in Europe, the programme will provide an opportunity for fifteen local and regional news enterprises to identify and make significant progress in addressing their biggest current challenges.

Vincent Peyrègne

Vincent Peyrègne took up duties as Chief Executive Officer of WAN-IFRA in 2012. Prior to joining WAN-IFRA, he was Head of Development at Edipresse in Switzerland (now Tamedia) with responsibility for audience insights, editorial marketing research and product development, before joining the office of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication.

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