World News Media Congress 2020 rescheduled to new dates in September

A key moment for all to reconnect and figure out what holds for future of the industry. Initially scheduled to take place in June, however, due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, WAN-IFRA and its local host Henneo Group have moved the event to September 17-19, 2020. The three-day world congress at Zaragoza in Spain will have World Digital Revenue Forum, World Editors Forum and Women in News Summit, with attendance of a host of news publishers, editors and media house owners from all over the world. It is hosted in a different city each year.

In 2019, the congress in Glasgow drew around 900 people from over 60 countries for three days of conferences, executive meetings, networking, and social events. World News Media Congress (WNMC.20) arrives in Spain at a decisive moment for press freedom and sustainability of mass media. In this respect, Fernando de Yarza López-Madrazo, President of WAN-IFRA and President of Henneo, commented, “We are thrilled to be able to stage the 2020 World News Media Congress and are confident delegates will find Zaragoza and Spain an appropriately stunning and stimulating host.” He added that they wish Zaragoza 2020 to be the great conversation of the world that defines the future model of quality and sustainable journalism.

Zaragoza is one of Spain’s five largest cities and is the capital of the region of Aragón. It is situated the crossroads of the country’s major journalism centres—Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Valencia. The pilgrimage city is a tapestry of 2,000-year-old Roman buildings, Muslim and Christian monuments from the Middle Ages, the impressive baroque Pilar Basilica with its epoch-defining art of local genius painter Francisco de Goya, and modern 21st century architecture.

Vincent Peyrègne, CEO, WAN-IFRA, said, “Solidarity in action is more important than ever in these times of turmoil due to COVID-19 crisis.” He continued, “I am particularly proud and grateful to our staff and partners who welcome our members in the best conditions onboard our new online platforms and virtual meeting rooms to exchange their experiences, ideas and support for each other. The longer the crisis lasts, the more new digital formats will be offered on our part to help our members in these challenging times.”

In this exceptional context, WAN-IFRA is committed to addressing the safety of journalists and the continuity of the critical mission of the press. The organisation is connecting with members via live web meetings, association outreach, webinars, and has set up coronanewsroom.org, an online resource desk available for news media professionals to address the main challenges facing news media and share solutions in the context of the current global Coronavirus outbreak.

Vincent said the news media industry would need to urgently discuss the current crisis and its devastating impact on businesses. It would have been inconceivable to hold this exchange safely in June, that’s why the rescheduling of World News Media Congress 2020 to September 17-19. “Our primary concern and responsibility is the health and safety of our delegates, speakers and partners, we had little choice but to look for a new date,” Vincent urged.

News publishers, editors, journalists and media house owners at WNMC.20 will have a great opportunity to analyze and discuss the news media industry’s challenges at its current crossroads between content and technology, advertising and readership, cooperation and competitiveness – while enjoying one of the best places to be while they are at it in Zaragoza.

Day 1

The first day of the three days of the world congress will break with Fitness Programmes—How Table Stakes and other transformation projects are offering hope for the future of local news, with moderator Nancy Lane, President, Local Media Association (USA). The session will have a focus on Global Alliance for Media Innovation (GAMI), which will contain a selection of the best cases of innovative projects in media and a presentation of the Stars4Media programme. Stars4Media is an exchange and training programme for young media professionals (rising stars), between cooperating media organisations, to accelerate media innovation and cross-border coverage in Europe.

The subsequent session will be the Women in News Summit which will be chaired by Joanne Lipman, Author, CNBC Contributor, Institute for Advanced Study Fellow; former Editor-in-Chief of USA TODAY, with panelists: Toyosi Ogunseye, Head of West Africa, BBC; Nina Goswami, Creative Diversity Lead and Journalist, BBC, London (UK); Emily Ramshaw, Co-founder and CEO, The 19th, Texas (USA); Emma Tucker, Editor, The Sunday Times, News UK (UK); and Suzanne Franks, Professor of Journalism at City, University of London (London).

Neil Maiden, Professor of Digital Creativity, Cass Business School, City University London (UK), will discourse on INQUEST: Using AI to Support Science Journalists. The session will have demonstration of a new digital research prototype to support journalists to write about science and science-based topics more effectively. The prototype, funded by the EU’s QUEST project, will use light-weight AI techniques to combine synthesised content from scientific sources, science magazines and more general news content, and exploit with directed guidance for writing for different audiences, exploring new angles on science-based stories, and explaining science more effectively.

The next session will be the Presidential Address from Fernando de Yarza López-Madrazo, President of Henneo & President of WAN-IFRA at Solutions Hub. It will be followed by Golden Pen of Freedom Ceremony with keynote speaker Warren Fernandez, Editor-in-Chief, The Straits Times & SPH’s English/Malay/Tamil Media Group, Singapore. This session will mark the end of the Day 1 of the congress.

DAY 2

The second of the congress will be dawned with a breakfast sponsored Stibo DX. The first session of the day will be New Media. New Realities—2020 Digital News Report, with speakers like Rasmus Nielsen, Director, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (UK); and Nic Newman, Sr. Research Associate, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (UK).

In the subsequent session titled ‘Putting Women in News Centre-Stage’ there will be a host of female speakers comprising Joanne Lipman, Author, CNBC Contributor, Institute for Advanced Study Fellow, former Editor-in-Chief of USA TODAY.

There will be a special highlight called ‘Spotlight: News Media in Spain’—The Journalism We Want. The Journalism We Need. The Journalism We Can Afford. This session have to be followed by others called ‘The Hope for Journalism’ and ‘Rethinking Funding’ with moderator Rosental Alves, Founder & Director of the Knight Center for Journalism, University of Texas (USA) and a panel of speakers comprising Helje Solberg, News Director, NRK (Norwegian public service broadcaster) (Norway); Victor Pickard, Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication (USA); Noemí Ramírez, Chief Digital Officer, PRISA News, Spain; Catarina Carvalho, Executive Editor, Diário de Notícias (Portugal); Warren Fernandez, Editor-in-Chief of The Straits Times.

In the session on ‘Storytelling Playbook’, there will be a panel of speakers talking on different topics like VG: Targeting Gen Z by Gard Steiro, Editor-in-Chief and CEO, VG – Verdens Gang AS, Norway; La Nacion: New Narratives by José Del Rio, Editor-in-Chief, La Nación, Argentina; Climate Change: How to Improve Your Coverage by Suzanne Franks, Professor of Journalism at City, University of London.

Up Close: Marty Baron in conversation with Elske Schouten. Marty Baron is Executive Editor of The Washington Post (USA) and Elske Schouten, Deputy Editor-in-Chief, NRC, The Netherlands.

Then the closure of the day’s sessions will be marked with World Digital Media Awards—prize giving of news media industry’s only truly global digital media competition. The winners of the regional editions of WAN-IFRA’s 2019 Digital Media Awards regional editions in Africa, Asia, Europe (2019 & 2020), Latin America, the Middle East (2019 & 2020), North America and South Asia will face each other in this unique and final international competition.

DAY 3

The last day of the congress will open on the discussion over ‘The Newsroom—Washington Post: Navigating 2020: Faster, Slimmer, Smarter, with speakers including Greg Barber, Director of Newsroom Product, The Washington Post (USA). On the topic ‘Conscious Commissioning’ there will be Alan Hunter, Head of Digital, The Times & Sunday Times (UK). Another session ‘AI and New Frontiers in Misinformation’ will have speaker Joanne Lipman, former Editor-in-Chief of USA TODAY. Then the topic ‘Innovation Report’ will be picked up by Juan Señor, President, Innovation Media Consulting Group (UK) and Emma Goodman, Senior Consultant & Report Editor, INNOVATION Media Consulting (UK).

The concluding sessions of the congress will include discussions on ‘Impact and Engagement, The Community: The Editors Best Weapon, Spanish Startups: News Models, New Narratives, New Business Models for News! as well as World’s Best in Digital and Radical Ad Challenges.’

WAN-IFRA ultimately expressed its gratitude towards the support of its partners and sponsors who have committed to the September date. The organization is also thankful to those attendees who have continued to register for the congress. The registration will automatically be applied to the rescheduled event. However, for those who wish to cancel participation, there will be no cancellation fee and WAN-IFRA will offer a full refund.

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