The 60th World Newspaper Congress, 14th World Editors Forum and Info Services Expo came to an end in Cape Town on Wednesday with an optimistic look toward the future of newspapers.
With more than 1,600 newspaper professionals from 109 countries attending, the three-day meeting of the world's press repeatedly demonstrated the vitality and innovation that characterises the industry today.
With circulations on the rise, a record number of paid-for titles in existence, capital investment in excess of 6-billion dollars last year, the aggressive marketing of brands and the launch of a plethora of brand extensions, the demise of newspapers had been greatly exaggerated, said Gavin O'Reilly, President of the World Association of Newspapers, which
organised the events.
"It's too easy to be negative about newspapers and many commentators are profoundly bearish," Mr O'Reilly said.
Full coverage of the proceedings, including summaries of presentations, video interviews with speakers and delegates, and much more, can be found at http://www.capetown2007.co.za
Next year, the 61st World Newspaper Congress, 15th World Editors Forum and Info Services Expo 2008 will be held from 1 to 4 June 2008 in the south-western Swedish maritime city of Göteborg. The events will be hosted by the Swedish Newspaper Publishers Association, which represents Sweden's daily newspapers and other media companies. More about the events can be found at http://www.wangoteborg2008.com
Here's what they were saying at Cape Town 2007, which was hosted by the Newspaper Association of South Africa:
"There is lots of talk of gadgets and online, but there's one wonderful ingredient that is often left out: passion. Passion to serve people, to listen to people, to give them what they want".
Fergus Sampson, General Manager, Daily Sun, South Africa
'Courage is an important word for us. Old successful companies very often get lazy resting on historic successes. That is why it takes courage to do things sometimes differently and to invent new ways."
Tomas Brunegard, CEO, Stampen Group, Sweden
"Newspapers in developing markets continue to increase circulation by leaps and bounds, and in mature markets are showing remarkable resilience against the onslaught of digital media. Even in many developed nations the industry
is maintaining or even increasing sales. At the same time, newspapers are exploiting to the full all the new opportunities provided by the digital distribution channels to increase their audiences. As the digital tide gathers strength, it is remarkable that the press in print continues to be the media of preference for the majority of readers who want to remain informed."
Timothy Balding, CEO, World Association of Newspapers
"Much has always been said about how one medium's emergence would eliminate those that came before: first books would eliminate the sermon, then newspapers would eliminate the books, radio would eliminate newspapers, and
television would kill all other news media. It has not happened. But we must continue to deal with the one important factor: time. How many things can a normal person attend to during the course of 24 hours. That is our challenge."
Mario Garcia, CEO, Garcia Media Group, United States
"Norwegians spent 125 million euros on mobile content in 2006. More than 70 percent of this revenue went back to content providers, including newspapers."
Erik Nord, Deputy CEO, Telenor, Norway
"While there is some indication that print circulation is dropping in some areas, the percentage of people who look for their news on both the net and in their newspapers is increasing rapidly, and more than makes up for the loss of circulation in print media."
Martha Stone, Director of the Shaping the Future of the Newspaper project,
World Association of Newspapers
"The first brand young people adopt is television, then the internet. They view newspapers as an inspirational kind of romantic, aspirational ideal. They see newspapers as a different kind of media."
Robert Barnard, Partner, D-Code, Canada
"Tell the African story in as much depth and context as possible, physically get around the continent so as to reflect what is really happening on the ground."
Thabo Mbeki, President, Republic of South Africa
Full conference coverage, including video, debates, summaries of presentations and much more, can be found at http://www.capetown2007.co.za
The Paris-based WAN, the global organisation for the newspaper industry, represents 18,000 newspapers; its membership includes 77 national newspaper associations, newspaper companies and individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 12 news agencies and 10 regional and world-wide press groups.
Inquiries to: Larry Kilman, Director of Communications, WAN, 7 rue Geoffroy St Hilaire, 75005 Paris France. Tel: +33 1 47 42 85 00. Fax: +33 1 47 42 49 48. Mobile: +33 6 10 28 97 36. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org