Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Reflecting Global Newspaper Woes, WAN and IFRA Announce Merger

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Reflecting Global Newspaper Woes, WAN and IFRA Announce Merger

Article excerpt

The relentless economic pressures on the newspaper industry that have led to the downsizing of professional associations in the United States played out on a global scale Thursday as two giant organizations, the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) and IFRA announced they were merging.

The consolidated industry association encompassing both print and digital products launches July 1 under the name World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers and the acronym WAN-IFRA.

WAN-IFRA combines the impressive reach of the two organizations. It will represent 18,000 publications and 15,000 online sites from more than 3,000 separate companies in more than 120 countries.

In a joint statement, WAN and IFRA said they had been discussing a merger off and on for the past half-decade. Both provide extensive industry research, and they said their membership increasingly overlaps.

"This is a necessary merger which,indeed, has been on the cards for some time," said Gavin O'Reilly, the Group CEO of Dublin-based Independent News and the current president of WAN. He will serve as the new association's president through 2010.

IFRA President Horst Pirker, who will serve as first vice president through 2010 and become president in 2011, said that "like the whole news publishing industry, WAN and IFRA are currently facing serious challenges."

Concentrating resources is the best way to support members, added Pirker, CEO of Styria Medien AG in Austria.

In the United States, the largest newspaper publishers group, the Newspaper Association of America, has significantly downsized in recent months, saying it intended to concentrate on public policy and helping papers grow revenue. …

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