Industry acknowledges INMA 'juggernaut' in industry of change

So what does the 'J' stand for in Earl J. Wilkinson, the INMA chief executive and executive director who is celebrating 30 years with the organisation?

According to Robert Whitehead, digital platforms guru and director of Australia's McPherson Media Group, it's 'Juggernaut'.

This and other recollections and intimacies come in an anniversary tribute from colleague and senior editor Dawn McMullan, who claims to have known him since 1987.

"I was 20 and an intern; he was 21, the business editor of the Tyler Morning Telegraph, and a college student," she says.

"Back then he was just as intense, just as smart, just as funny, just as passionate about media. But he had hair and old-school East Texas glasses."

She credits INMA's retired European division manager Inge Van Gaal for the introduction to European style, and presumably the glasses. Both those on his face and in his hand have changed since the early picture (above).

INMA had planned to celebrate the milestone and INMA's 90th year in Paris last April during the annual World Congress - cancelled because of COVID-19 - although the actual anniversary was July 1.

In 1990, Wilkinson had been in charge of content, "such that it was three decades ago," she says.

Good wishes have been collated in a 35-minute video, presented to him as a gift - from which this is an extract - accompanied by "many raised glasses of bourbon, Belgian beer, wine, one fake glass of champagne, a red solo cup of Olympia beer, German schnaps from an INMA shot glass, and a margarita from Arizona".

INMA president Damian Eales - now global head of transformation at News Corp, following a career with the group in Australia - says Wilkinson's contribution to the organisation has been unmatched. "You embody INMA, indeed you are the backbone that binds us, you are the beating heart whose rhythm we resonate, you are the conscience that ensures we are never complacent. You have been in this for the long haul, demonstrating both resilience and reinvention. You've demonstrated the wisdom of the ages and the energy of youth."

Among others, McPherson Media executive chairman Ross McPherson praised his "fantastic contribution to INMA, our companies and understanding of what's happening in the world".

Sanjay Gupta, editor-in-chief and chief executive of India's Jagran Prakashan said he had "seen the transformation of the newsroom coming from print only to now nearly digital'.

Chief digital and publishing officer at Nine Australia, Chris Janz commented, "We may not be the same industry as we were in 1990, but your contribution to our sustainable future has never been more important."

Pictured: A young Earl Wilkinson and more recently with INMA's international board of directors.

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