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Bertrand Pecquerie, Director of the World Editors Forum (WEF)


Frequently Asked Questions on the Editors Weblog.
By Bertrand Pecquerie, Director, World Editors Forum

- Is the blog officially launched?
The first posting was done on January 12, 2004. But it is still a pilot edition until April 1st. The Editors Weblog is a cooperative blog: it implies the participation of the World Editors Forum Board members. All of them are editors or deputy editors of major daily newspapers in the world: New York Times, The Times, El Pais, La Stampa, Aftenposten, Yomiuri Shimbun…

- Who had the idea to establish the blog? Was it inspired by any other publications?
The World Editors Forum is the organisation for Editors within the World Association of Newspapers, the unique worldwide association for publishers. Ten years ago, the WAN decided to expand its activities towards editors, for the sole reason that editorial quality is the main asset of newspapers and media groups. The Forum was born to improve the newsroom management and make easier brain-storming sessions among editors from around the world. When I took my duties as WEF Director in October 2003, it was obvious that a cooperative weblog will help the community of our members: the working editors.

- What are the main aims of the site? To inform, or initiate discussion?
Who knows? When you launch this kind of blog, you never can anticipate the real feedback. But clearly, in my view, it is a cooperative weblog and a real international forum. You would be surprised at the dynamism of the Northen Europe press! To me, Turun Sanomat, Savon Sanomat or Helsingin Sanomat in Finland are models for the rest of the world: they already integrate mobile phones revenues into their business plans.

- Is there an online focus to the content of the blog, or is the subject about all aspects of editorship and publishing?
The answer is in the weblog’s baseline: “practical issues and real solutions for working editors and senior newsroom executives”. We can consider that our main concerns are newsroom management and editorial quality, including editorial measurement, a very controversial topic in the profession…

- Are you the main contributor at the moment? Are there any plans to invite other editors to contribute?
The more, the merrier. Even if, at the moment, I’m the main content provider. There will be three circles: me, Bertrand Pecquerie with my personal tone, the World Editors Forum Board members and the international community of “blogging editors”!

- How are you promoting the blog?
Within our network, in the coming weeks. The World Editors Forum works with a database of 5,000 editors all around the world. It’s unique and we want to develop this network through the weblog. There will be also some barter agreements with editorial sites. For instance we are in contact with the Media Center of the American Press Institute.

- Can you tell me how much traffic the blog has had since launch and how many subscribers the newsletter has?
The answer will come after March 1st when the site is really promoted.

- What will this blog provide to your readers and members that the standard site does not?
Every day, an editor has several issues to manage. If our blog can only solve one of his issues, we’ve done it! I take two examples: first, with our section “new sources for editors”, we alert them where they can find new contributors or new angles; second, when The New York Times published an article on how the newspaper manage its Op-Ed page, it’ a very instructive paper for other editors.
What I want to add is that our blog still has a drawback: our sources are North American and English oriented for 70% of the feed. So, when we get relevant information from other countries, it can be very helpful. In Mexico, the cooperation within three newspapers of the MILENIO group is an example that other groups can follow… Thanks to the consulting group Cases I Associats (Barcelona, Spain) to give us an up to date and exclusive information regarding this initiative.

- What do you think blogs can offer to traditional news sites? Are they an effective tool to act as a column or commentary?
“Tool” is the important word in your question. Editors don’t need columns but practical answers. I consider the Editors Weblog as an intranet in the editors’ community. Every day, we have to provide them real solutions on how to manage their newsroom.

- Do you think more news sites will offer blogs?
I’m not sure. Today, it’s “in the air”, everybody want to have his own weblog. At the end, how many will survive? I’m not so worried about the Editors Weblog because it is a professional tool, an answer to very practical issues. I also believe in “events weblogs” for covering big events during a certain period of time. To me, what The Guardian is doing with its weblog called “Hutton Inquiry” is a good example of good journalism on the web.

- Are you planning to initiate any chat room style discussions through the blog site?
Not in the premises of the blog. Editors are so busy that an exchange of comments is enough.

Bertrand Pecquerie, WEF Director

Note: the World Editors Forum is the organisation for Editors within the World Association of Newspapers.

Bertrand Pecquerie, an expert in newspaper syndication and press networks, has been appointed Director of the World Editors Forum in October 2003.

Mr Pecquerie, who is French, is the founder and former Director of World Media Network, a press syndicate that linked more than 20 major dailies around the world, including El Pais, La Stampa, Libération, Irish Times, Tages Anzeiger, La Nacion, Al Ahram, Yomiuri Shimbun and others.

He was also the Director of the syndication and special events service of the French daily Libération and, most recently, he was General Secretary of the French government’s Best Practices Agency (Agence des Bonnes Pratiques) which promoted good administrative and public service practices in local and national government.

Mr Pecquerie, 47, also brings an extensive background in online publishing to the WEF. He was Director of World Media Live, a subsidiary of Vivendi Universal specialising in cultural websites. He has also been a professor of history and communication at the University of Paris and was an adviser to the President of the French National Assembly on educational and cultural matters.