WAN and Ifra merge to form global group

THE World Association of Newspapers and IFRA – the leading international associations for print and digital news publishing – have merged into a new organisation.

The new body is called the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).

The combined new organisation will represent more than 18,000 publications, 15,000 online sites and over 3000 companies in more than 120 countries. PANPA is a member of WAN.

WAN-IFRA is dedicated to be the “indispensable partner of newspapers and the entire news publishing industry worldwide, particularly our members, in the defence and promotion of press freedom, quality journalism and editorial integrity, and the development of prosperous businesses and technology”.

The mission statement of the organisation can be found at here.

The merger, which becomes effective on July 1, has been approved by the membership of the two organisations. The new organisation will maintain the two current headquarters in Paris, France, and Darmstadt, Germany.

The two organisations have been discussing a merger, on and off, for more than five years.

Gavin O¹Reilly, the President of WAN and Group CEO of Dublin-based Independent News and Media, will serve as President of the new organisation through 2010.

“IFRA and WAN are strong organisations providing key services,” he said. “We believe that combining their strengths 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. This is a necessary merger which, indeed, has been on the cards for some time.”

Horst Pirker, President of IFRA and CEO of Styria Medien AG in Austria, will serve as First Vice President, and become President in 2011.

“We need to concentrate our resources to support our members in the best possible way,” he said.

The new organisation will appoint a Chief Executive Officer shortly. In the meantime, the current CEOs of WAN and IFRA, Timothy Balding and Reiner Mittelbach, will jointly manage the merged association.

WAN, founded in 1948, groups 78 national newspaper associations, individual newspaper executives and companies in more than 120 countries, 13 news agencies and nine regional press organisations. It is based in Paris, France.

IFRA, founded in 1961, groups more than 3,000 publishing companies and suppliers to the publishing industry from more than 70 countries. It is based in Darmstadt, Germany, with regional offices in the United States, Asia and Europe.

The two organisations have a long common history: WAN was instrumental in the creation of IFRA, which emerged in 1961 under the name of INCA (International Newspaper Colour Association), an organisation to aid newspapers in their widening use of colour printing in newspaper production.

In 1971, IFRA was established as a separate entity to treat the rapidly developing technical side of the industry. The acronym stands for INCA-FIEJ Research Association ­ FIEJ, the French acronym for the International Federation of Newspaper Publishers, is the organisation now known as WAN.

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