World Association of News Publishers

WAN-IFRA Media Development Projects

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WAN-IFRA Media Development Projects

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WAN-IFRA is convinced that newspapers need to be economically viable, and therefore commercially successful, if they are to be truly free and independent and able to play their essential role in developing political, economic and social progress and stability. As a result, WAN-IFRA's Media Development projects run parallel to its Press Freedom work, promoting sound business practices, applying cutting edge development techniques and delivering successful support projects in coordination with local experts, journalists, editors and media owners around the world.

Women In News Programme - WIN

The Women in News Programme seeks to benefit the newspaper industries of Botswana, Namibia and Zambia by equipping future leaders with the skills and capabilities required to promote the longevity of their respective companies. The programme also specifically aims to foster female empowerment by enabling female middle managers from newspapers in the three selected countries to acquire the strategies, tools and support systems they need in order to excel in their careers. The programme will pioneer the concept of career coaching in media development and establish a precedent of mentoring among women in the newspaper industries in WIN target countries.

Extensive research has shown a positive correlation between having women in top management positions and businesses thriving overall. In addition, women in leading positions often pave the way for women lower down in the hierarchy to climb the career ladder. Supporting women who wish to strengthen their positions and advance professionally is crucial for the functioning of media businesses and also creates opportunities for women aspiring to senior positions at media companies, thus fostering female empowerment. In Africa, women are generally absent from newspaper management teams. WAN-IFRA identified the need to establish a programme in Africa to help female middle managers acquire the strategies, tools and support systems necessary to excel in their careers.

Media Professionals Programme - MPP

The WAN-IFRA Media Professionals Programme (MPP) provides media professionals with personalised, high-impact leadership development opportunities, supported by local and regional experts. It equips them with sustainable strategies, skills and support networks to advance their careers and contribute to the growth of strong local media enterprises.

The Media Professionals Programme has welcomed participants from Southeast Asia and the Middle East and North Africa.

Executive Twinning Programme

As an integral element of WAN-IFRA’s pioneering Media Development programme, executive twinning – the partnering of senior media professionals from news organisations in non-competing markets – has produced a number of successful business and development opportunities across Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Challenging the traditional approach of north-south partnerships, WAN-IFRA’s Executive Twinning Programme is turning the notion of development support to media in emerging markets on its head.

Mobile News for Africa Project

Mobile telephony is rapidly developing as the major communications platform in the developing world; this growth has been dramatic in Africa, with mobile penetration growing at rate of more that 70% per year. A mobile is not just a telephone; it is a global address, a transaction device, and an identity marker for hundreds of millions of poor people. Online access via mobile platforms is also spreading very quickly. This holds unprecedented opportunity for media in Africa to engage with citizens and provide interactive and customised news services.

WAN-IFRA's Mobile News for Africa project will test, implement and promote innovative content production and delivery models through new technologies, accompanied with new business models for newspapers in emerging markets and developing democracies. An intrinsic wider objective is to enable more Africans to access news, meeting the need for information on critical public issues. The WAN-IFRA project team, together with the selected newspaper partners as well as international and local experts, will develop mobile news delivery platforms by combining existing technology and applicable software, supported by a long-term and sustainable business model.

Developing Financially Viable Media In Emerging Media Markets

International media development strategies are not uniform and differ depending on specific objectives and on the context, but all aim to establish the free flow of information and a sustainable system of independent, free media. While business knowledge and skills are essential to the sustainability of any media enterprise, they are often overlooked in the promotion of independent media. WAN-IFRA's unique position as a trade organisation with a human rights mandate is reflected in its conviction that financially healthy media outlets are an essential condition for the existence of a free press. Unlike the political, social, educational, or judicial sectors of society that are essential for good governance and development, but mainly funded from fiscal revenues, the independent media sector carries out its public good role while at the same time responding to commercial imperatives.

WAN-IFRA is currently conducting a comprehensive research project looking at the factors that are crucial for the financial sustainability and economic development of media in emerging markets. The project aims to create guidance for media development assistance in the field of business and financial viability of media that will be used by media development agencies and media investors in emerging markets to assist newspapers in asserting and maintaining editorial freedom and financial independence, liberate them from corrupt practices, government influence and dependence on donor assistance.

Social Investment as a Capital Financing Model for Developing Newspapers

WAN-IFRA is exploring opportunities for tapping into social investment capital for investing in media development. WAN-IFRA aims to cooperate with donors, investors and social investment funds to enhance and promote the development of new models for capital financing that lead to financially viable print media and support services in developing countries and emerging markets. With this initiative, WAN-IFRA is not only assisting the business development of newspapers in emerging markets, but is also connecting investors and suppliers to newspaper businesses and markets in developing countries.

Arab Newspaper Development Programme

The Arab Newspaper Development Programme (ANDP) is a ground-breaking project in which newspapers throughout the Middle East and North Africa region learn from each other's experiences and exchange information on commercial and editorial strategies. As part of the programme, the participating newspapers receive exclusive training from WAN-IFRA and our project partners. The overall aim of the ANDP is to strengthen the viability of the independent press in the region. Experiences generated through the project are shared with others through this website.

Vietnam Media Partnership

WAN-IFRA aims to build the professional, managerial and technical capacity of the Vietnamese media by providing support, strategic guidance and best-practice advice for the Vietnam Journalists' Association's existing media training center (VJTC). The training centre itself will be developed by bringing in external, international expertise and know-how in order to improve the quality of training being offered to Vietnam's media professionals. The Vietnamese press has undergone a phase of change and limited liberalisation over the past 20 years, with the government allowing the media a level of self-determination that encourages the introduction of more pluralistic journalism and new forms of revenue generation. At the same time, there has been a significant change in audience behaviour with the emergence of new ways of consuming news.

Zimbabwe Media Support Project

The Zimbabwean Media Support Project acts to support the development of professional and independent media in Zimbabwe through a number of different channels. WAN-IFRA recognises that a great deal of its strength lies in the breadth and depth of its membership and the corresponding resources that can be mobilised to promote media development and defend press freedom wherever possible. In countries such as Zimbabwe there is a lack of such representative bodies. WAN-IFRA intervenes to redress the status quo and assist in the creation of associations that can defend the interests of a free and independent media at a national and regional level.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2011-01-14 16:56

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In its media development work, the WAN-IFRA strategy focuses on bringing a new way of thinking to the sector. WAN-IFRA has become a key player in the field of financial independence and management capacity building, conducting groundbreaking research and developing subsequent media development policies. Read more ...