Broadcasters urged to back challenger to News World

News World: Dublin conference will go ahead a month after News Exchange

Major broadcasters in the UK are being asked to support a breakaway conference that is being launched in in a bid to rival News World as the highlight of the TV news industry’s calendar.

News chiefs from the BBC and ITN have been invited to sit on the editorial board of the two-day news conference, called the News Exchange, that is due to take place in the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, in October this year.

CNN, which has been a big supporter of News World, is also discussing joining the board with the event’s organiser, Jim Gold, of Gold Media Services, who is launching the new event after leaving News World late last year.

Agencies APTN and Reuters have also been approached.

The launch of a new conference will cause waves in the news industry where News World has become an essential date in the broadcast calendar since it launched in Berlin in 1995.

The company behind News World is understood to have been put on the market recently. But a spokesman stressed that this year’s conference would still go ahead in Dublin from November 19 to 22.

News World is thought to have experienced problems last year following September 11 as numbers able to attend dropped dramatically in the aftermath of the attacks. But sources said the conference, which ran alongside an industry exhibition, had suffered from "not really deciding which one of the two it was".

The seven-strong team who worked for News World, which has been held in Berlin and Barcelona, has been halved in recent months and managing director Sue Phillips left the organisation earlier this year.

Gold has won the backing of the European Broadcasting Union for the new non-profit making conference.

The EBU is holding its own meeting immediately before the beginning of the conference.

Gold said that he hoped that lower costs would enable more delegates from Eastern Europe to attend, as well as younger people.

"The aim of the News Exchange would be to examine the most important and the most pressing issues of the day, but we will make sure that it is not Anglo-centric or American in its focus, which is something that has been said of News world," said Gold.

"By making it affordable we are also hoping to attract a good cross section of people."

By Julie Tomlin

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