KOREA: World's press invades Seoul

Seoul hosts convention for international newspapers organized by Paris-based World Association Newspapers

The Korea Herald
Sunday, May 29, 2005
Seoul -- Seoul is the "shop window" this week of the world's newspaper industry as publishers, editors and other top-line newspaper executives try to refashion the business and create new products to fit evolving demands in the ever-changing IT world.

More than 1,000 publishers, CEOs, editors and executives in the industry from 80 countries are attending the 58th World Newspaper Congress and the 12th World Editors Forum and Info Services Expo organized by the Paris-based World Association of Newspapers at the COEX Inter-Continental from today through June 1.

This year's conference will hear the different philosophies being espoused and developed by the industry's movers and shakers and examine new innovations, practices and opportunities.

"New newspapers are emerging, with new formats, new pricing models, new readers and new markets," said Timothy Balding, Director General of WAN. "At the same time, the Internet and wireless communication are at last delivering profitability for the new media ventures of press companies. What better to examine and discuss these issues than in Seoul, which has emerged as a world leader in media innovation and exploitation of new digital opportunities?"

WAN, the global organization for the newspaper industry, represents 18,000 newspapers worldwide. Its membership includes 72 national newspaper associations, individual newspaper executives in 102 countries, 10 news agencies and 10 regional and worldwide press groups.

It was founded in 1948 to promote world press freedom and to defend the interests of the newspaper industry, and can rightly be called "the U.N. General Assembly of the press."

The Editor's forum, Info Services Expo, and World Press Photo Exhibition will be held alongside the Congress. A plethora of cultural events in and around Seoul will allow participants to get a taste of the culture and tradition of the host nation, the Land of the Morning Calm.

Both the editors forum and the newspaper congress will examine the state of the newspaper business, with guest speakers discussing how their news organizations have benefited from new trends that have been driving a renaissance of newspapers.

Among the list of speakers will be Arthur O. Sulzberger, chairman of The New York Times Company; Shinichi Hakoshima, president of Japan's Asahi Shimbun; Pelle Tornberg, president and CEO of Metro International; Michael Grabner, deputy chairman of the Georg von Hiltzbrinck Group in Germany; Bengt Braun, president & CEO of Bonnier in Sweden; Sandy Romualdez, president of the Philippine Daily Inquirer; and Alejandro Junco de la Vega, president & CEO of Mexico's Reforma Group.

Participants in the Seoul 2005 WAN Congress will include not only press-related personalities but also newspaper-service providers and related industries.

They will explore success strategies and see how they can mesh with each other.

Striking the theme "Exploring Innovation and Seizing Opportunity: The Keys to Success," the Congress will focus on such issues as new formats, new price models, new readership and new markets.

Alongside the Congress, the World Editors Forum will focus on issues pertaining to readers and editing with the theme, "Your Readers are Changing? Change your Newspaper!"

The 12th WEF in Seoul will discuss ways to seek and implement new strategies to respond flexibly to changing relationships between newspapers and readers due to the rapidly growing influence of the Internet.

One significant highlight will be a look at enhancing the value of Korea's national brand by examining Korea's time-honored historical traditions and cultural heritage as well as its rapid development of advanced IT technology and digital culture.

To heighten Korea's international standing, there will be pan-national events supported by the government and supported by the Korean and international media community.

Seeking to promote Korea's image overseas and enhance the nation's competitiveness in international business, the Congress will look at securing direct channels of communication with the world's leading newspapers. Participants in this endeavor are from The New York Times, the Washington Post, Le Monde, Asahi, Nikkei and 50 Chinese publishers.

Regarding East Asia, the conference will look into establishing a foundation for promoting press exchanges in East Asia and cooperation in Northeast Asia through the participation of a large number of non-member country publications in China and Southeast Asia.

Korea is ranked as one of the most representative countries in merging traditional printing techniques with the new digital information technology. Forums will look at advancing Korea's press industry and providing an opportunity to gain new insights into Korea's newspaper market.

With 400 years under its belt, the newspaper industry has not faced such a threat as it does now to circulation and the bottom line - since television became a force.

The Internet is changing how people read the news. It's changing layouts and, more important for the owners, how newspapers will make money in the future.

The Congress hopes to find at least some answers.

Expo shows new tech, products

For any Congress participant who gets exhausted by the flurry of words and other activity at the Congress and Forum and wants a break, there are two places on the third floor of COEX that provide a change of scenery and atmosphere.

The Info Services Expo 2005 and World Press Photo Exhibition will open tomorrow and will run through June 1. They are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Expo showcases new services and technologies which promote all major operational and strategic developments for the press industry.

Representatives of newspaper industries and suppliers will have the chance to meet and discuss how to exploit new business possibilities.

"We have found the WAN Info Services Expo, year in and year out, to be the best place in the world for us to meet clients and market our various syndicated products," said Kerry Slagle, president of Atlantic Syndication, a division of Universal Press Syndicate.

The exhibition will provide an opportunity to expand the company’s market and have a strategic and direct impact on delegates through advertising and sponsorship.

Companies will have the opportunity to present their products and services to an international, high-profile audience of newspaper executives, to network, and make new contacts.

Each company will have a basic booth composed of three walls, name panel and basic furniture. There will be 40 booths exhibiting at the Expo this year.

"WAN allows us the invaluable opportunity to access hundreds of potential customers from all around the world, in one location. Our participation in WAN has definitely enhanced our sales success," said Diana M. Backland, sales manager of Newscom, which is exhibiting this year. Participants will also be able to experience new technological applications.

DIGIX will show ways to digitalize and commercialize historical archives and Plastic Logic, a leading developer of plastic electronics, will present their unique approach to printing electronics which enables flexible high resolution displays in ways never before possible. They will thus provide an ideal platform for e-newspapers for both the ordinary consumer and business reader.

The Expo will be an active ground for exchanging creative ideas between journalists and syndicates. "Our presence at WAN enables us to spend quality time with many partners and prospects, to listen to and understand their editorial projects, and to offer the most creative solutions," said Philippe Hertzberg, Director of EMEA, The New York Times News Service/Syndicate.

"The exchange of information, indepth discussions and exposure for our syndicated features to so many editors and publishers in one venue is invaluable," said Mary Fleming Svensson, international sales manager of The Washington Post Writers Group.

Other exhibitors include Agence France-Presse, EditorialSol90, Goss International, Norske Skog, Reuters, Satellite Newspapers, Tribune Media Services International, and The Russian Guild of Press Publishers.

The World Press Photo Exhibition, the world’s most authoritative exhibition alongside the Pulitzer Prize, displays 199 photographs selected from 69,190 submitted to the World Press Foundation by 4,266 photographers.

The exhibition will be shown in 80 cities of 40 nations. The "Photo of the Year" goes to Arko Datta, who captured an Indian woman sobbing in the face of the tsunami disaster.

Other notable photos in the "Spot News Singles" category depict war scenes from Sudan, Iraq, Russia, and South Africa.

There are a variety of pictures in different categories such as art & entertainment, daily life, contemporary issues, nature, sports, and general news.

The exhibition presents a valuable opportunity for journalists and the general public to relive the dramatic moments of the past year through the vivid scenes captured on film by international news photographers.

While the exhibition at the COEX is only open to participants in the Newspaper Congress and Forum, it will be on display to the general public from June 8 to July 3 at the Seoul Gallery. For more information, go to www.donga.com/wpp.