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Ideathon: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) has kicked off a series of innovation initiatives with its first "Ideathon," which lays the foundation for upcoming hackathons in Berlin, Singapore and Bangalore, India.

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By pooling talent from WAN-IFRA's international members network and the open tech community, this series will offer participants an opportunity to create platforms for tomorrow's needs, changing the way media are created, configured, serviced and consumed.

Part of the Tech Open Air Festival held in Berlin earlier this month, the Ideathon assembled tech-minded journalists and media professionals to brainstorm ideas for a WAN-IFRA Hackathon to be held in Berlin on 5 and 6 October next. The Hackathon, part of the 2013 World Publishing Expo, will call on the expertise of developers, designers and journalists to solve a specific challenge facing the news industry. Previous hackathons have resulted in the development of many quick apps and software now used by journalists and newsrooms.

"I am proud to launch this initiative in some of the most inspiring and innovative cities in Europe and Asia," said Vincent Peyrègne, Chief Executive Officer of WAN-IFRA. "The fundamental mission of WAN-IFRA is to connect innovators and media professionals, supporting the transformation of the news industry. These hackathons, together with the Innovation Days organized around the World Publishing Expo, and other initiatives to be announced in Berlin in October, help establish a renewed international network of multidisciplinary experts, a group of visionary practitioners, open innovators. There is a need for our industry to take the lead on innovation, encourage the development of user-driven solutions that make optimal use of news media, adapt to new consumer behaviors and address an increased competition.

"This series of international hackathons launched in Berlin will help companies to partner, identify funding opportunities, fuel new projects, evaluate potential," Mr Peyrègne said. "Our aim is to stimulate innovation in the media sector, foster human capital, attract new talents, develop skills through knowledge sharing and finally, to encourage technology transfer by facilitating the emergence of new technology providers in the media environment."

WAN-IFRA will announce the winners of the Berlin Hackathon on 7 October at the opening of the World Publishing Expo, the largest global trade exhibition for the news publishing and media industry. The World Publishing Expo brings together suppliers to the industry with its thought leaders and decision makers. In addition to the exhibition, which showcases the latest technologies, the event features 200 speakers sharing their success stories, four Media Port stages focusing on developments in print, workflow efficiency, social-local-mobile and revenue generation, and five strategic conferences focused on future business models.

Subsequent hackathons will take place in Bagalore on 13 September, as part of the Publish Asia conference, and in Singapore on 12 October, on the final day of the Newsplex Asia's News App Challenge. The results of the latter will be announced at WAN-IFRA's Digital Media Asia conference in Singapore on 14 October.

www.wan-ifra.org

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