Asia transformation project sessions set to go virtual

Ten Asian news publishers have signed up for a five-month transformation programme organised by WAN-Ifra and underwritten by Facebook.

Taking part are the Bangkok Post, Bisnis Indonesia, Kompas Media Nusantara, Philippine Daily Inquirer, Sin Chew Media Corporation, Singapore Press Holdings, The Edge Communications, the Jakarta Post, the Manila Bulletin and United Daily News.

The inaugural Newsroom and Business Transformation 2020 programme is a first-of-its-kind programme for Asian news organisations which brings one senior editorial and one senior commercial executive from each publisher together for five months of training and coaching to equip them with the insights, know-how and tools to execute a transformation strategy in their organisations.

The curriculum covers Journalism, Operations, Design Thinking, Organisational Culture and Audience Engagement.

"Our goal is to help Asian media companies become agile and responsive to the changing consumer needs in the digital age," says WAN-Ifra chief operating officer Thomas Jacob.

"With the close guidance and mentorship from experts, the programme will accelerate the transformation process and equip the media companies with the skills needed to navigate the increasingly complex media landscape."

Participants - whose job titles include COO, VP of Convergence, GM of Marketing, Editor-in-Chief, Executive Editor and Deputy Editor-in-Chief - will now meet online every fortnight from June to October 2020 for lectures by the programme leads, talks by guest speakers, group sharing and brainstorming sessions.

The WAN-Ifra programme, supported by the Facebook Journalism Project, was originally designed to begin in March 2020 and take place in four cities over six months. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, WAN-Ifra has worked with the coaches to revise the programme with the additional urgent needs of the news industry in mind: how to lead during the crisis, accelerate digital transformation, diversify revenue sources and adopt agile work methods.

Anjali Kapoor, Facebook's Asia Pacific director of news partnerships, says they recognise that news organisations are under pressure to transform and build digital publishing businesses, a task made more complex with the additional challenges during COVID-19. "We hope that through our partnership with WAN-Ifra, the programme will assist newsroom leaders with business transformation while continuing to produce important, meaningful journalism that serves and informs our region."

Media consultant and researcher Grzegorz Piechota, and 28-year news veteran and former managing editor of The Times (UK) George Brock helm the programme, while global digital creative business school Hyper Island will teach the Design Thinking modules.

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