New programme launched to drive Asian newsroom change

Ten news publishers across Asia will be able to speed up the transformation of their newsrooms to ensure they are both audience-centred, and sustainable, thanks to a new partnership between WAN-IFRA and Facebook.

by Joon-Nie Lau | October 30, 2019

The Newsroom Transformation Programme 2020, launched on Tuesday at Digital Media Asia, will provide intensive coaching, training and mentoring over six months to mid-level editorial and commercial participants.

The participants will be drawn from the 10 mid-sized news organisations which are selected from applications by WAN-IFRA members in the region. A formal call for applicants will go out next week.

Announcing the new initiative, Thomas Jacob, COO of WAN-FRA said: “All over the world, newsrooms are having to transform to stay relevant and sustainable. We are delighted that through this partnership with Facebook, we can be a catalyst and help our members develop the skills and generate ideas to move their newsrooms and products to the next level.”

Four key themes

The programme will support participants across four themes:

  • understanding waves of disruption to news media. It will equip them to plan, lead and manage transformation while building a culture of innovation in the newsroom;
  • developing an editorial vision for the news organisation and a content portfolio that supports the needs of different revenue streams;
  • defining target audiences and planning audience development for acquisition, activation, engagement and retention. It will focus on new product development in cooperation with relevant parts of the organisation;
  • identifying the new operational skills and capabilities needed to deliver the editorial strategy. It will equip participants to plan new workflows and adjust newsroom resources to execute on a new strategy.

“Facebook is thrilled to bring this opportunity to news organisations across Asia as part of our joint commitment to ensure traditional news outlets can create thriving digital businesses. We are proud to partner with WAN-IFRA to bring the Newsroom Transformation Programme 2020 and continue our commitment to support the news publisher community in the Asia Pacific,” said Anjali Kapoor, Director of News Partnerships Facebook APAC.

Workshops, online coaching and support

The programme will include workshops, online coaching and support. It will be led by the highly experienced duo of George Brock and Grzegorz “Greg” Piecchota. Both have extensive newsroom, academic and consulting credentials.

Brock, now a Visiting Professor at the Cass Business School of City, University of London, is a former Professor and Head of Journalism at City University. Prior to his academic career, he was a journalist and spent 28 years at the Times of London holding key editorial leadership positions including Saturday Editor, International Editor, Managing Editor.

Brock has authored two books: Newspaper, Journalism and the Business of News in the Digital Age and The Right to Be Forgotten: Privacy and Media in the Digital Age. He is a former President of the World Editors Forum, WAN-IFRA’s network for editors.

Piechota is an Oxford based researcher and an ex-fellow at Harvard and Oxford universities. He studies technology-enabled disruption patterns across industries, with a focus on business model innovation in news media.

Piechota is a former media executive with 20+ years of industry experience. He began his career as a reporter at Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza, rising to a news editor and a vice-president of Agora Foundation. He co-authored the book, Unlocking the Customer Value Chain.

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