Bono and Ahern lined up for world congress

Opening address: U2’s Bono

Rock star Bono and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern have been lined up to speak at the World Newspaper Congress and World Editors Forum to be held in Dublin in June.

Organised by the Paris-based World Association of Newspapers and National Newspapers of Ireland, the event runs from 8 to 11 of June.

Opening session addresses will be given by Ahern and U2 frontman Bono. The congress and forum aims to provide a comprehensive look at the newspaper industry and where it is going.

Chairman of NNI, Gavin O’Reilly, said it was the biggest and most prestigious newspaper event ever to take place in Ireland. “We’re expecting more than 1,000 publishers, chief executives and editors from newspapers all around the world.”

The Iraqi war and other conflicts and their impact on journalism will be discussed with such experts as Nik Gowing of the BBC and Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for The Independent.

Expert view: The Independent’s Fisk

Other issues to be discussed include: an overview of world trends in the newspaper industry, with an examination of circulation, readership, advertising revenue and internet usage; the latest innovations in the industry, including the new distribution channels.

Dr Seok Hyun Hong, president of the WAN, told the Dublin media launch that the global economic recession had torn into the advertising revenues of newspaper companies in much of the industrialised world.

Newspaper circulations continue to come under pressure in nearly all mature markets. “Despite its passing difficulties, however, the paper remains a tremendously important and influential force and we certainly don’t expect or intend to let that change.”

Dr Hong said that according to WAN estimates one billion people on our planet read a newspaper every day and that figures increases every year as nations develop, improve literacy and seek prosperity.”

The Dublin Congress, the 56th annual event, focuses on newspaper business issues under the theme, “Winning Strategies for the New Business Environment”. The 10th anniversary forum is concerned with newsroom issues and has the theme, “Editorial Excellence in Hard Times”.

The WAN annual press freedom award will be presented to the Belarusian Association of Journalists for its courageous resistance to the repression of the media.

By Des Cryan in Dublin

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