World Association of News Publishers

Latin American newspaper share experiences in twinning program

Latin American newspaper share experiences in twinning program

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Six newspapers in Mexico and Ecuador concluded an exchange program to share experiences and learn about their operations from each other, as part of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers Media and Society Strengthening Program launched in 2016.

The twinning program was designed to couple newspapers so that teams from each one would make mutual visits. One exchange was between Mexican newspapers, Vanguardia de Saltillo and Noroeste de Sinaloa, while the other two involved news organizations In Mexico and Ecuador: El Informador de Guadalajara with El Universo de Guayaquil, and El Diario de Yucatán and Medios Ediasa in Portoviejo.

The visits were conducted by editors but also by members from advertising and commercial staff because the themes were diverse, from newsroom operation to audience engagement, commercial strategies and distribution channels. The agenda included meetings with teams from digital sales, new media, audiovisual production, web production and advertisement.

The main focus was on digital innovation. Participants were interested in learning about new digital products, journalistic as well as commercial; newsroom integration; the use of multimedia tools and audience targeting and engagement.

Participants pointed out that the visits allowed them to see other forms of organization to carry out journalism projects and different ways to face and solve the challenges that newspapers face in the digital age. Many of the challenges discussed are similar but each participant has its own way of facing them and these exchanges has produced a good learning experience.

In an evaluation of the program, journalists from Noroeste de Sinaloa said the twinning program made it possible for them to see other ways to tackle digital projects, in advertisement, innovation, narrative platforms and investigative journalism.

Participants said they found many things in common with the newspapers they visited, which was useful to have a richer experience. “There were similarities in the efforts of audiovisual production and digital content strategies and we recognized a lot to learn in engaging readers and advertising strategies”, said participants from El Informador de Guadalajara about their visit to El Universo de Guayaquil.

Journalists from Medios Ediasa, which publishes EL Diario de Manabí in Ecuador, visited El Diario de Yucatán (México) and said that the exercise allowed them to see “other ways of working within a newsroom team”. They went back to Ecuador with a project to update their newsroom management system along the lines of what they learned in México.

These exchanges are part of WAN-IFRA’s Society and Media Strengthening Program, a two-year project aimed at helping news organizations around the world develop strategies to become more sustainable in the face of diverse challenges in journalism’s business models and to press freedom around the world. In Latin America the project involves 22 news organizations from México, Colombia and Ecuador. The program is funded by Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and also works with journalists in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

“The great challenges that news organizations face in the digital age make these exchanges a necessary exercise”, said Rodrigo Bonilla, WAN-IFRA’s manager for Latin America. “Today more than ever, it’s necessary to learn from others’ experiences, share successful practices and failed projects. Not collaborating or exchanging with other news media is, in the medium and long run, a fatal error”.

"This experience has been one of the most useful of the SMS program because it allows participating journalists to see they are not alone in their challenges and now they can have partners to face them together", said Javier Garza, SMS manager for Latin America.


Adrian Montemayor


2017-05-25 17:27

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WAN-IFRA's activities in Latin America focus in promoting innovation amongst the region's news media industry, in helping media companies lead a successful digital transition and in advocating for a free and independent press. Read more ...