Key board members of the World Editors Forum (WEF) have resigned their posts and re-grouped to form a new international network for editors from all mediums in response to the rapid acceleration of media convergence. The Global Editors Network (GEN), to be headed by former WEF president Xavier Vidal-Folch, deputy director of the Spanish daily newspaper El Pais, will be launched on March 23.
Both Vidal-Folch and former vice-president Harald Stanghelle, political editor of the Norway’s Aftenposten, will hold the same positions as they previously held in the newly-formed GEN. Vidal-Folch and Stanghelle resigned their posts from WEF on February 14. Roman Gallo, founder of the defunct hyperlocal newspaper project Naše Adresa in the Czech Republic, resigned the same day. WEF director Bertrand Pecquerie also stepped down this month.
GEN is a spin-off from the World Editors Forum. A majority of WEF board members who attended the last WEF Board meeting (8 on 14) decided to set up the new organisation. "Our goal is to gather editors from all platforms (print, broadcast, pure players) and to create an Editors’ Lab for new editorial services and new applications," a source told Newswatch.
Editors-in-chief and senior news executives from around the world and working on different platforms - print, digital or broadcast - will soon be able to gather, share information and create new services within this new professional network (GEN, www.globaleditorsnetwork.org).
"Because digitalisation and broadband access accelerate media convergence and because editors are facing the same challenges in the production of news, it is more obvious every day that they are members of the same community, all driven by a journalistic imperative and a common goal: how to invent tomorrow journalism and to make it sustainable," the source said.
According to Xavier Vidal-Folch, “quality journalism is at risk and we consider that the only solution to define a sustainable news model is to gather editors with a different knowledge and to start a dialog with engineers, developers and start-up managers. It is because we will break down traditional barriers that we will be innovative and relevant for our community”.
Founded by editors from both developed and emerging countries, the purpose of GEN is to empower colleagues looking for the preservation of editorial quality when working with publishers, media owners and news suppliers.
Apart from organising international and national conferences or events focused on editorial strategies, the new association is based on the concepts of mutualisation and cooperation between different media. For the president of GEN, “We are no longer competitors, but potential partners and if we manage to work together we'll be able to create new tools for our newsrooms. That’s the goal of the Global Editors Network.”
GEN will also foster the creation of national associations or guilds of editors-in-chief in countries that do not have these structures (association building activity), as for instance in the Arab world or in Asia. GEN will set up a range of new services for editors to be introduced very shortly: the Editors’ Lab, the Editors’ institute and the Editors’ marketplace.
Based in Paris, the Global Editors Network is a non-profit organization. Details of GEN activities will be released soon.
GEN board members want to share their vision of quality journalism with their colleagues. This is why they would like to offer them to improve the first draft of their manifesto (http://www.globaleditorsnetwork.org). This cooperative process is very symbolic of the relationship GEN would like to establish with its future members.
In its manifesto, the new organisation says that it seeks to: