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Post your comments about WAN-IFRA merger

2009/06/26
WAN and IFRA have merged into a new organisation, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). The merger becomes effective on 1 July.
We welcome your comments and feedback about the combined organisation here. If you have any questions about the merger, please send an email to editor@wan-ifra.org, and visit our FAQ page (http://www.ifra.net/wiki/faqs-about-wan-ifra).

WAN and IFRA, the leading international associations for print and digital news publishing, have merged into a new organisation, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).

The combined new organisation will represent more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3000 companies in more than 120 countries. WAN-IFRA is dedicated “to be the indispensable partner of newspapers and the entire news publishing industry worldwide, particularly our members, in the defense and promotion of press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity, and the development of prosperous businesses and technology.”

What do you think? We welcome your comments to post online here, and we will publish a number of your comments in the August/September edition of WAN-IFRA Magazine.

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13 comments

  1. This merger is, indeed, a landmark occasion because it would usher in a truly global organisation of the publishing industry.


  2. I am sure that this merger makes sense for both great organizations and their future, and will be creating more value for our business in the challenges we will face in the future.


  3. Tamedia in general and I personally are looking forward to this exciting project which provides hope and is a source of optimism in a challenging time.


  4. I believe that this merger will open new opportunities for all of us.


  5. With our joint resources and capabilities we will be able to serve the needs of our industry in the years to come.


  6. I think it is a good idea.

    The clear message of the merger is that editorial independence and publishing news on any platform is closely related. Members of WAN-IFRA are strong believers in the freedom of speech and of
    transparency. Our industry has come to the conclusion that these matters
    are the inner core of news publishing.

    I expect more knowledge resources spent on online advertising. Neither organisation has done well enough in that area.


  7. I still remember the merger being discussed when I worked for IFRA in the early ’90s. Considering the current environment, it comes as no surprise to me that the two organizations have merged. What concerns me is that this merger may simply end up reducing some cost and removing overlapping services and fails to address the real issue: quality and relevance of services provided by the new structure.

    Are the two organizations going to operate in two locations under two managements with all involved confused about their roles and responsibilities, or is there a clear vision that focuses on editorial issues (WAN), new publishing channels and strategies (WAN & IFRA) and efficiency of the publishing process (IFRA). The key question being, who is going to cover the new publishing channels and strategies and how? Were the two organizations separately doing a mediocre job addressing the issue, and if they were, is the merger a solution?

    For any member of either one of the organizations this is obviously good news. A wider set of services with one membership and access to more research, information and network of international contacts. That’s really a great opportunity for those publishers. And looking at the merger from this perspective, it does sound like a smart move – as long as it is understood that the hard work starts now.


  8. The synergies I see: Firstly, an ability to clearly express the importance of a vibrant newspaper industry to the growth of democratic rights around the world, and to the vital difference that free debate of issues make to our society. Secondly, the technical expertise and business acumen of IFRA is a good counterpart to WAN’s leadership status in supporting press freedom. It will be a challenge to blend the different culture of the two organisations, but the pressures on everyone’s own business will be the strongest driver of that imperative. This HAS to work so that our industry portrays a much stronger image to the watching world.


  9. “I have heard about the merger discussions for quite a while. Even though I am an ‘IFRA guy,’ I am familiar with WAN since organising the WAN Congress here in Gothenburg last year. My boss, Tomas Brunegård, was in the WAN executive committee. … A merger had to come sooner or later since IFRA and WAN started to do the same thing within the areas of new media, new revenue models and future business models for newspapers. This is an opportunity if each part can recognise the strengths of the other – IFRA in technology and WAN in press freedom issues, as an example.”


  10. The merger is a clear signal towards bundling all strengths in a rapidly changing media world, in order not only to accompany the structural upheavels in the news publishing industry in a constructive way, but also to act as the pacesetter of positive developments. The new organisation must actively help newspapers and publishing houses to free themselves from their present negative image. We need an exchange platform for the development of progressive technological and economic potentials. And above all a strong representation of the printed medium. Drawing together and acting in concert in a time of crisis is a good beginning.


  11. It is of utmost importance for us to have a full picture of the developments in the industry, not only the newspaper printers and distribution centers, but also our customers’ customers, in order to meet
    demands from the market. We hope with the merger we will gain a fuller and broader view on the trends in the industry.


  12. For historical correctness I have to comment that IFRA was not founded in 1967, nor had it ever been an offshoot of INCA and FIEJ.

    IFRA was founded as INCA (International Newspaper Color Association) January 24, 1961, in Hamburg, Germany, by Maurice Brébart, Brussels, James R. Spencer, Liverpool, and Walter Matuschke, Hamburg. May 16, 1966, INCA could aquire an institute building in Darmstadt and moved all its activities there.

    At the INCA-Management Conference 1967 in Darmstadt, Claude Bellanger, Predident of FIEJ, offered to merge the technical activities of both organisations by moving the documentation center of FIEJ to Darmstadt. FIEJ payed INCA an annual fee of 7500 Britisch Pound the next 3 years, but as the moving of the documentation center was not fulfilled in this time span, the idea of merger was put aside after the FIEJ fee payment had expired. Both organisations declared to keep independent from eachother.

    But at the same time in 1970, INCA needed a new name, because color printing was not any more the main subject of reasearch after the introduction of offset printing in newspaper publishing. The primary intention was, to rename INCA to INRA (International Newspaper Research Association), but juridical problems did not allow to do so. Thus, one came to the idea to name INCA IFRA (INCA-FIEJ Research Association). This was only a change of name as it happend later when FIEJ changed to WAN and ANPA changed to NAA. The two organisations continued to keep independent as far as financial and organisational matters are concerned. Maybe, it was meant to set a signal and to keep the door open for a later gotogether. This happend now after 42 years.

    All details of the whole story can be read in the book “Ifra – 40 years’ expertise for the nespaper industry”, an Ifra publication from 2001.

    Boris Fuchs, former IFRA Research Director and Deputy Managing Director, 1984 through 1998.


  13. Having made it through a couple of mergers I have become aware of the negative impacts that the merger period have on each companies “mission” and “vision.” In the end a merger is about money, once the new company is fully merged things are well and the newly formed entity becomes a great solutions (in a non-financial sense); until then, everything that happens during the merger is a violation to everything that both merging companies believed to be good.

    Fredy Marroquin-Rodriguez



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