World Association of News Publishers

Travel, Exchange, Enhancement: Latin American Newspapers Participate in “Twinning Programme”

Travel, Exchange, Enhancement: Latin American Newspapers Participate in “Twinning Programme”

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Six newspapers in Mexico and Ecuador concluded an exchange program to share experiences and learn about their operations from one other, as part of WAN-IFRA’s Media and Society Programme, funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

By Colette Davidson

The “twinning programme” saw exchanges between Mexican newspapers Vanguardia de Saltillo and Noroeste de Sinaloa, as well as between news organizations In Mexico and Ecuador: El Informador de Guadalajara with El Universo de Guayaquil, and El Diario de Yucatán with Medios Ediasa in Portoviejo.

The programme’s main focus was on digital innovation. Participants learned about new digital products – journalistic as well as commercial – as well as newsroom integration, the use of multimedia tools, and audience targeting and engagement.

Visits were conducted by editors but also by members of the advertising and commercial staff, to meet the demands of the diversity of subjects – from newsroom operation and audience engagement to commercial strategies and distribution channels. The agenda included meetings with teams from digital sales, new media, audiovisual production, web production and advertisement.

As participants looked back on their experience, journalists from Noroeste de Sinaloa said the twinning programme made it possible for them to see other ways of tackling digital projects in advertisement, innovation, narrative platforms and investigative journalism.

Participants also said they found many things in common with the newspapers they visited, which made for a richer experience. Following a visit to El Universo de Guayaquil, journalists from El Informador de Guadalajara found similarities in the efforts of audiovisual production and digital content strategies, and recognised the importance of engaging readers and working on advertisement strategies.

Others said the visits allowed them to see the various ways of carrying out journalism projects as well as the different ways of solving the growing challenges that newspapers face in the digital age. While many of these challenges were similar, the exchanges proved to be an excellent learning experience since the methods for facing them varied greatly.

Journalists from Medios Ediasa, which publishes El Diario de Manabí in Ecuador, visited El Diario de Yucatán in Mexico and said that the exercise allowed them to see “other ways of working within a newsroom team.” They headed back to Ecuador with a project to update their newsroom management system.

"This experience has been one of the most useful of the SMS program,” says Javier Garza, SMS manager for Latin America, “because it allows participating journalists to see they are not alone in their challenges and now they can have partners to face them together."

And the programme, says Rodrigo Bonilla, WAN-IFRA’s manager for Latin America, is a way to tackle an ever more complicated media landscape.

“Today more than ever, it’s necessary to learn from others’ experiences, share successful practices and failed projects,” says Bonilla. “Not collaborating or exchanging with other news media is, in the medium and long run, a fatal error.”


These exchanges are part of WAN-IFRA’s Strengthening Media and Society Program, a two-year project aimed at helping news organizations around the world develop strategies to become more sustainable in the face of diverse challenges in journalism’s business models and to press freedom around the world. In Latin America, the project involves 22 news organizations from Mexico, Colombia and Ecuador. The program is funded by Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and also works with editors and the media in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.


Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2017-05-31 10:29

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Hedvig Lundstrom's picture

Hedvig Lundstrom


2016-06-30 12:06

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