News organisations from Colombia, Mexico, Panama and Uruguay will be part of the first "Newsroom & Business Transformation Program" in Latin America. After the successful launches in Asia and the Middle East last year, WAN-IFRA is expanding the programme to the Latin American region, with the support of the Facebook Journalism Project.
The following news organisations will participate in the 2021 LATAM Newsroom Business Transformation Program: Am de León, El Diario de Yucatán, Noroeste de Sinaloa and Vanguardia de Saltillo from Mexico; La Opinión de Cúcuta from Colombia; El Universo de Guayaquil from Ecuador; La Prensa from Panama; and La Diaria from Uruguay.
The program is aimed at Latin American news organisations that are in the process of launching their first products or paid content strategies. It will bring together executives from the editorial and business areas of each participating company during 4 months of training.
The topics—organized around 4 key pillars and taught through 6 sessions—are focused on the opportunities and challenges faced by the launching of a reader revenue strategy. Each topic is especially aimed at those publishers that have recently launched their paid content strategy, or are close to do so. Two mentors, Gregor Waller, WAN-IFRA Principal Consultant and Lead Trainer for the program, and Penny Riordan, Director of Business Strategy and Partnerships for the local media association, will guide participants with their experience and industry knowledge. Waller and Riordan will also welcome a series of guest speakers.
The four modules of the programme will cover: Strategy and culture. Understanding the disruption waves and transformation patterns of the news media. Planning and leading a change management program that includes initiatives that support building an innovation culture within cross-functional teams.
Journalism and business. Developing an editorial vision for the news organisation and its departments. Auditing the current content’s performance and planning a new content portfolio that will address the requirements and needs of different revenue streams such as digital advertising and subscriptions.
Audience. Defining target audiences for their content. Planning digital audience development that includes acquisition, activation, engagement and retention. Creating and building new editorial products and services in collaboration with Product/ Technology, Marketing, Research, Data and Sales teams. Operations. Defining new skills and capabilities needed to deliver on an editorial and business strategy. Planning new workflows and KPIs to meet the strategic objectives. Planning how to adjust resources in the newsroom to execute a new strategy.
Participants will also carry out practical projects made possible through Facebook grants of $10,000 and a series of mentoring sessions. Participants will be able to use the grant for several purposes, including purchasing technology or software, experimenting with content, prototype development, launching newsletters and implementing marketing campaigns.
Penny Riordan said, “I am delighted to be a part of this WAN-IFRA and Facebook program. As we have seen in North America, the path to reader revenue involves not only getting the strategy right, but also improving the company culture. Our program will address both initiatives through a combination of presentations, guest speakers, breakout meetings and individual coaching sessions. We hope everyone learns as much from each other as from us.”
“The idea of WAN-IFRA and Facebook to focus on publishers who plan to launch their subscription strategy soon or who have just launched it immediately captivated me. This program tries to provide the necessary global knowledge at this stage where small Strategic or operational adjustments have a great impact. We would love for those key learnings and triumphs to motivate newsrooms and company staff to continue transforming themselves, to offer such valuable journalism that an increasing number of people are willing to pay for.” Said Gregor Waller, Principal Consultant at for WAN-IFRA and lead trainer of the programme.
Julieta Shama, Facebook head of news partnerships, panish-speaking markets, Latin America, explained, “With this program, our goal is to give the region’s media the necessary tools to continue their business model transformation process, whether they are national or local media. But above all, to support them to continue deepening their relationship with their readers and have a greater impact.”
“The news sector in Latin America has clearly integrated paid content strategies as an avenue worth exploring in its quest for new digital revenues,” said Rodrigo Bonilla, Director for the Americas at WAN-IFRA. “But for most media outlets, technical hurdles and uncertainty about the viability of the investment still abound. This programme is unique in that it aims to address these challenges and thus help our partners ‘leapfrog’ to greater sustainability in the digital age of their businesses.”