A marriage of, ah, convergence

WAN and IFRA, the two global media associations the Inquirer is a member of, have decided to merge. (I think the newspaper I work for is also a member of two regional conferences, the Society of Publishers in Asia and the Asia News Network.) The explanatory letter, in the age of Facebook and Twitter, is definitely worth a close read.

We are delighted to inform you that 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.”

The mission statement of the organisation can be found at http://www.wan-ifra.org.

The merger, which becomes effective on 1 July, has been approved by the Boards and the annual meetings of the two organisations. The new organisation will maintain the two current headquarters in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany.

Gavin O’Reilly, the President of WAN and Group CEO of Dublin-based Independent News and Media, will serve as President of the new organisation through 2010. “Both IFRA and WAN are strong organisations providing key services to our industry,” he said. “We believe that combining their strengths will allow us to be even more resourceful and effective in responding to the growing needs of our members and industry partners in the fast-moving and evolving media matrix. This is a necessary merger which, indeed, has been on the cards for some time”.

Horst Pirker, President of IFRA and CEO of Styria Medien AG in Austria, will serve as First Vice President, and become President in 2011. “Like the whole news publishing industry, WAN and IFRA are currently facing serious challenges. I think we need to concentrate our resources to support our members in the best possible way”, he said.

The new organisation will appoint a Chief Executive Officer shortly. In the meantime, the current CEOs of WAN and IFRA, Timothy Balding and Reiner Mittelbach, will jointly manage the merged association.

Members of the respective organisations will continue to enjoy their current benefits and will shortly be informed of the details of the future membership structure. A letter detailing benefits will be sent to you very soon, but if you have immediate questions, please direct them to Ms. Birke Becker (birke.becker@wan-ifra.org).

Any other inquiries you may have to: Larry Kilman, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, WAN-IFRA, Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail: larry.kilman@wan-ifra.org.

We are grateful for your continuing support and are looking forward to working together with you in WAN-IFRA.

Sincerely,

Reiner Mittelbach
Timothy Balding

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