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Fairfax CEO on maintaining editorial credibility while increasing efficiency

PARIS, FRANCE / DARMSTADT, GERMANY / KIEV, UKRAINE: For Gregory Hywood, CEO of Australia's Fairfax Media, producing quality journalism is more valuable than ever in the Internet era. However, the realities of this new era are forever changing the media landscape, with Fairfax's recently announced restructuring as a prime example.
Fairfax CEO on maintaining editorial credibility while increasing efficiency

"The beauty about media companies like ours is that we provide solutions to the fundamental requirement of our audience, which is to know what's going on in the world," says Hywood, who will address a joint session of the World Newspaper Congress and World Editors Forum in Kiev, Ukraine in September. "We take all that information from a massive variety of sources and we boil it down and filter it down into a digestible format people can get every day. That is a very valuable thing to do!"

Fairfax Media, which publishes The Sydney Morning Herald, and The Age, in Melbourne, among other titles, has announced a major restructuring that will cut almost one-fifth of its staff over three years, shut down two printing plants and reduce broadsheet newspapers to tabloid formats, as the company adjusts to the digital age.

A major challenge of the Internet for news organisations, says Hywood, is to maintain editorial credibility while managing journalistic assets in the most efficient possible way. (Read an extensive interview with him at

Sharing his views

Hywood will share his views at the 19th World Editors Forum, to be held 2-5 September in Kiev, Ukraine, together with the 64th World Newspaper Congress, the global summit meetings of the world's newspapers and news publishers.

The Editors Forum and World Newspaper Congress, organised by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), annually bring together more than 1000 chief editors, publishers and other senior executives from more than 100 countries. Full details, including the programme and registration information, can be found at

WAN-IFRA has also launched a Congress and Forum blog, in the run-up to the events, with background information about speakers, the venue, and some of the hot topics to be examined:

Sessions for the Editors Forum include:

  • The newsroom - beyond integration: Running a truly integrated editorial operation is a challenge. The goal is to produce cost-effective content that gets the most of journalists and mobile, print and web platforms. Many newsrooms are now integrating video into their operations. What's next? What new jobs are needed? What new tools are available?
  • Ethics and standards - rebuilding trust: In a world where more and more news sources are provided by blogs and social media, mainstream news outlets have to work harder to maintain their authority, particularly when scandals hit. How can professional journalists and their publications distinguish themselves as accurate and objective sources of information and regain the trust of their readers? Do we need to rethink ethical codes?
  • Taking social media to the next level: Social media provide unprecedented opportunities to engage with readers, as well as to attract new ones. Can journalists take full advantage of what it can offer and truly integrate its use into their reporting? Is Twitter driving the news agenda and how do you turn followers into readers?

In addition to Hywood, Editors Forum speakers include Jacek Utko, design director, Bonnier Business Press (BPP), Sweden; Peter Ong, CEO, Checkout Australia Pty Ltd, Australia; Erik Bjerager, president, World Editors Forum and editor-in-chief and managing director, Kristeligt Dagblad, Denmark; Juan Señor, partner, Innovation Media Consulting Group; Raju Narisetti, managing editor of The Wall Street Journal Digital Network, USA; David Boardman, executive editor and senior vice president, The Seattle Times, USA; Shoma Chaudhury, managing editor, Tehelka, India; Riyaad Minty, head of social media, Al Jazeera Media Network, Qatar; Jeffrey Gettleman, Nairobi bureau chief for The New York Times; and more to be announced.

As in past years, the WEF will hold a number of sessions simultaneously with the World Newspaper Congress, including these:

  • Around the world in 60 minutes, a tour of the latest media trends emerging world-wide, featuring Tomas Brunegård, CEO of Stampen Group in Sweden; Carlos Fernando Lindenberg Neto, CEO of Rede Gazeta in Brazil; Mohamad Alayyan, publisher and chairman, United Jordan Press; Pichai Chuensuksawadi, editor-in-chief of The Bangkok Post in Thailand; Trevor Ncube, deputy executive chairman of South Africa's Mail & Guardian; and Maxim Melnikov, CEO, Media3, Russia.
  • Winners shaping the future, a look at some of the more successful new business models, technology and forms of journalism emerging today, featuring Michael Golden, vice chairman of the New York Times Company; Gwen Lister, founder and editor-in-chief of The Namibian; and Vidar Herre, a photojournalist, and Tor Halvorsen, news editor, both with Avisa Hordaland in Norway.
  • Digital evolution, which will examine the latest developments in paid content, tablet, mobile and video and the industry's best paid-for apps, featuring Annelies van den Belt, CEO, SUP, Russia; Simon Regan-Edwards, head of technology for The Times and Sunday Times in the UK; Tor Jacobsen, managing director of Verdens Gang in Norway; Mikael Pentikainen, publisher and senior editor-in-chief of the daily Helsingin Sanomat in Finland; Marc Challinor, head of mobile, The Daily Telegraph, UK; Morten Henriksen, CIO Berner Gruppen, Norway; and other speakers to be announced.

Alongside the World Newspaper Congress and the World Editors Forum, Info Services Expo 2012 will present innovative solutions from the international suppliers' community. The exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to meet the leading suppliers to the newspaper industry and discover cutting-edge products, services and technologies.

As always, the events are accompanied by an array of social events, gala dinners and lunches and are considered to be the premier opportunity to meet colleagues from around the world.


WAN-IFRA, based in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany, with subsidiaries in Singapore, India, Spain, France and Sweden, is the global organisation of the world’s newspapers and news publishers. It represents more than 18 000 publications, 15 000 online sites and over 3000 companies in more than 120 countries. The organisation was created by the merger of the World Association of Newspapers and IFRA, the research and service organisation for the news publishing industry.

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