, PARIS, Jun 26 – Two leading global organisations representing the interests of newspapers, WAN in Paris and IFRA in Darmstadt, Germany, have announced they will merge to create WAN-IFRA from July 1.
The two associations are deeply involved in researching into, and advising members on, the exceptional upheaval in the industry driven by the digital revolution.
The World Association of Newspapers (WAN) and IFRA said in a statement on Thursday that together they would represent more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and more than 3,000 companies in more than 120 countries.
The newspaper industry in general is struggling hard to find business models which can sustain established titles while also replacing lost print advertising revenue by developing profitable on-line activities.
WAN-IFRA said it intended to be the "indispensable partner of newspapers and the entire news publishing industry worldwide."
It said that it would focus on the defence and promotion of press freedom, editorial integrity "and the development of prosperous businesses and technology."
The president of the new body will be Gavin O\’Reilly, the president of WAN and chief executive of the Irish group Independent News and Media.
Both existing bodies "are strong organisations providing key services to our industry," he said.
The merger "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."
The two existing chief executives, Timothy Balding at WAN and Reiner Mittelbach at IFRA will be joint managers of the new association, the statement said.
WAN was founded in 1948 and was instrumental in the creation of IFRA in 1961 when it was called the International Newspaper Colour Association (INCA) with a mission to help newspapers to develop the use of new colour printing technologies.
In 1971, IFRA became a separate entity to focus on the rapid development of technology in the industry.