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Newspapers need to make transition for successful digital future

PARIS, FRANCE/DARMSTADT, GERMANY: John Paton, the CEO of Journal Register Co. in the US, and one of the keynote speakers for the upcoming WAN-IFRA International Newsroom Summit in June, doesn't mince words when discussing his company's "digital first" transformational strategy. "Stop listening to print people and put the digital people in charge - of everything," he says.
Newspapers need to make transition for successful digital future

Paton's keynote will begin the discussion for hundreds of senior newspaper executives and chief editors who will gather in Zurich on 9-10 June for the 10th anniversary of the International Newsroom Summit, organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). Full details about the event can be found at http://www.wan-ifra.org/node/31877.

Since Paton's appointment as CEO in early 2010, The Journal Register Co, which publishes 27 dailies and hundreds of non-dailies, has frequently been hailed as an example of how to innovate dramatically - particularly impressive given the company's past financial difficulties, which led to a brief bankruptcy and re-emergence in 2009.

"The most important and most opportunistic time is now for newspapers to make that transition from what we were to what we are going to be," says Paton.

The summit's scope takes into account everything from paid-content models to the potential impact of new platforms (such as tablets) to newsroom integration.

Conference highlights include:

  • One year on since the new newsroom, by Ralph Grosse-Bley, editor-in-chief of Ringier in Switzerland, who will explain how the company has integrated its completely newly designed newsroom with its four Blick products: Blick, Sonntags Blick, Blick am Abend and the Blick.ch website.

  • The quest to go fully digital by 2015 without completely abandoning print, by Erling Tind Larson, who is digital manager of Berlingske Media in Denmark. Larson is heading up the company's B.T. website which is the fastest growing online news site in Denmark, and in the midst of pushing much of its resources to digital.

  • The technical developer has never been more important, by Espen Egil Hanson, editor-in-chief of VG Digital News & Media in Norway, which has been at the forefront of everything digital and thrives on embracing the latest technologies to exploit its vast multimedia content.

  • The future of news and digital content: mobile, social, apps, ad-supported - and paid?, by Gerd Leonhard, media futurist and CEO, The Futures Agency in Switzerland, who will give the day two keynote. The Wall Street Journal calls Leonhard "one of the leading media futurists in the world."

  • Paid-content strategies, by Neil Thackray, co-founder of Briefing Media Limited, who will be examining what he dubs "The Great Content Debate", as well as Will Lewis - a man uniquely well placed to consider the issue as group general manager of News International.

    Other speakers include, but are not limited to: Robert Picard, director of research, Reuters Institute, University of Oxford, UK; Wolfgang Büchner, editor-in-chief, Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (dpa), Germany; Justin Williams, assistant editor, Telegraph Media Group, UK; Alan McLean, assistant editor, Interactive News, New York Times, USA; Katherine Silver, head of Marketing Development, Archant, UK; Dr. Aralynn McMane, executive director for Young Readership Development, WAN-IFRA, France; and Sarah Schantin Williams, senior associate consultant, WAN-IFRA, Germany.

    For the evolving conference programme, registration and other information, go to http://www.wan-ifra.org/node/31877.

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