Report from the World Editors Forum Hamburg, Germany by Ehsan Ahmed Sehar President RMNP

Hamburg(Germany)October 8,2010 Three days long 17th World Editors Forum, The Tablet Year, Why mobile distribution will change The news Business, ended here in Congress Center Hamburg ,Germany. It was attended by more than 600 editors from 86 countries, including 23 editors from South Asian countries.


India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka also benefitted by this high-profile programme. An Iranian journalist Ahmed Zeid-Abadi , who is serving a six-year prison sentence, was honored with the 2010 Golden Pen of Freedom, the annual press freedom prize of WAN-IFRA on 6th October during a ceremony at the opening of the World Editors Forum for his courageous actions in the face of persecution and for his outstanding contribution to the defence and promotion of press freedom. The award was accepted on behalf of Mr Zeid-Abadi by Akbar Ganji, the 2006 Golden Pen laureate who had also been imprisoned by the Iranian regime.


Editors learned a lot about New iphone and ipad applications which were new to South Asians. Presentations of the world leading media experts improved their skills as 17th World Editors Forum focussed on mobile news distribution and new content platforms, content monetisation, multimedia newsrooms and new media training, social networks and how to work with Google News.
American, Dutch, Japanese, British, Danish, Brazilian, South African, Egyptian and German speakers also presented their experiences and analysed print media situation in different round tables, sessions and panel discussions.
Janet Robinson, CEO of the New York Times Company in her keynote speech shared details about the paper’s upcoming paywall. She informed that we had announced in January 2010 to implement a metered payment model on NYT website in January 2011. She termed it a highly significant step for the news industry, given the paper’s standing and its huge number of unique visitors to its impressive multimedia-filled website. It may well become a model for other papers if it is deemed successful, she told the audience. It is worth mentioning that The New York Times’ proposed system-a set number of free articles per month for each reader before being asked to pay ,is less extreme pay wall compared to the Times of London, for example which will not let anybody past its home page without a subscription.
Christoph Riess, the Chief Executive Officer of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers(WAN-IFRA) stated that paid for digital content holds the future for the newspaper industry as internet advertising revenues will never replace those lost to print.


Will paid content generate revenue? it is not a question of yes or no. It is a question of how. In order to survive, we have to do it, he stressed. Mr Riess also stressed that the role of print should not be underestimated, despite the false conventional wisdom that the print business is dying. Daily newspapers reach 25 percent (1.7 billion of the world’s population), which rises to 37 percent when non-daily newspapers are added. There are one-third more newspaper readers world-wide than internet users, he said Newspapers reach more of the global population than the internet. This is a fact and we should not forget it. But there is no comfort in this, due to the development of the internet. Commenting on digital advertising, he said that it goes mostly to two companies Google and Yahoo, which between them split 70 percent of all internet advertising. We do not see the great riches reaching our industry. But the newspaper, with its strong position, can play an important role in the internet business,” he said. ‘It will be in the future, no matter what from the newspaper takes paid or free, local or general, paper or digital it will be and remain the dominant media force in the world,he concluded.


President ICFJ Joyce Barnathan in her presentation said that the International Center for Journalists, a non-profit professional organisation, promotes quality journalism worldwide in the belief that independent, vigorous media are crucial in improving the human conditions. She said that multimedia, multichannel, multiplatforms is the path into the future. Joyce Barnathan summed up her recommendations on multimedia training for journalists in four points. She informed that “there is no need for a big budget in order to train journalists in the multimedia area” To use the web for training purposes is a great way, as it is inexpensive but can have great dividends. Channels such as the YouTube Reporting Center and the ICFJ Anywhere platform allow for journalism training online in areas where on-the-spot training is not possible, Joyce added. Furthermore, it helps to identify where there is potential for good journalism and direct training would be expedient. Concluding, Joyce spurs her colleagues that “we can all be better journalists if we embrace the mutual!”
Noble prize winner author and playwright Gunter Grass also spoke in the forum and replied volley of questions posed by Egyptian and other delegates about Middle East situation and US role in Iraq and its backing of Israel. Born to Polish-German parents in Danzig-Langfuhr in 1927,Grass fought in and was captured during the Second World War, eventually setting in Berlin as an artist and writer. His best known novel, The Tin drum was published in 1959.He has won many awards for his fiction, which is always imbued with social and political commentary, and received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1999 shortly after the publication of My Century(Mein Jahrhundert)It is this work ,an account of the 20th century told through personal experiences of many different characters, that he spoke about in the 17th World Editors Forum.
President Rural Media Network Pakistan Ehsan Ahmed Sehar and other two Pakistani editors Imitiaz Alam General Secretary South Asia Freemedia Association and PRO SAFMA Ms Mehmal Sarfraz congratulated Director World Editors Forum for managing a dedicated team and organizing biggest editors moot in Germany. They thanked WEF for sponsoring 35 editors who gathered in Hamburg from developing countries.


Mayor Hamburg Mr Christoph Ahlhaus hosted a reception and flying buffet at the town hall, one of the most beautiful and historical building in Hamburg while all the participants also attended a dinner hosted by the Axel Springer Newspaper Division at the Hamburger Abendblatt newsroom, the most widely read daily paper and the leading medium in and around Hamburg. It was told that the Axel Springer Newspaper is one of Germany’s most successful regional subscription papers presents its’ newsroom, the most modern in Europe. Visits of the newsroom were organized in small groups. Apart from it, different social events were arranged by the management of the World Editors Forum for the delegates.

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