23 June 2016
The GEN Summit 2016, that took place in Vienna last week, has seen the GEN Board acquire three new members and a new Vice President. The three new members all are prominent figures of today’s news media landscape: Matt Kelly, CCO of Archant Group, Lara Setrakian, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of News Deeply and Maria Ressa, CEO and Founder of Rappler. During the general assembly that saw the election of the new board members, Gerold Riedmann, already a GEN Board member since 2011, was appointed as GEN’s new Vice President, replacing Harald Stanghelle from Aftenposten (Norway).
"I have been involved with GEN since Bertrand came to me to discuss the idea before it was even a thing”, remembered Matt Kelly. “We sat in a cafe in London and he explained to me his vision for bringing together journalists across all disciplines in one place, to celebrate journalism, but also to grow, to challenge and to ask questions to find new models.”
Matt Kelly has played a leading role in newspaper publishing innovation for two decades. As publisher of the UK's Daily Mirror portfolio of websites, he launched a string of successful new digital brands and products, including MirrorFootball.co.uk and 3am.co.uk, across a wide range of platforms. “The idea that we can bring together brilliant minds to discuss this challenge as an organisation is something I’m very passionate about”, he said.
“What will I bring? I will go out and evangelise about GEN and I will hopefully play a role in seeing how we can open the organisation up even further so that more people feel enfranchised by the work that GEN does."
Just as passionate, Lara Setrakian is the Founder and CEO of News Deeply. She’s spent more than five years as a foreign correspondent, covering the Middle East, reporting for ABC News, Bloomberg Television, the International Herald Tribune, Business Insider and Monocle Magazine. Her first platform, Syria Deeply, launched in December 2012 to wide acclaim.She commented on her election to the GEN Board:
"I believe so much in what GEN is doing in the world of media innovation. Joining the board is an honour and an opportunity. Personally, I am most excited about keeping this conversation, from the conference, going the other 362 days of the year. I’m bringing those ideas to the table and, most crucially, notions of how to execute it efficiently and in lean, startup style. I think it’s really valuable to have a combination of incumbent media practitioners and startups because everything looks different from the trenches."
Maria Ressa has been a journalist in Asia for more than 25 years, most of them spent as CNN’s bureau chief in Manila and then Jakarta. As she recalled: “I spent most of my career working for large corporations and then four-and-a-half years ago, shifted to a startup. Part of it is trying to move from that space where you have these processes that made you successful, but now those processes are the exact same thing that is preventing you from pivoting.”
Maria’s startup is Rappler, an independent social news website tailored for the Southeast Asian market that features content in Indonesian and English, which she launched in 2013.
“Growth is going to come from Asia. In general, we’re under-represented at GEN. And yet, this is where Western news organisations are going to have to move because the majority of the population in emerging economies are going online. It’s a voice for us, our interests. For example, something like Snapchat is just starting [in Asia], but here [in Europe], the news groups have already used it. I’m looking forward to working with this amazing, amazing group of people", said Maria.
Gerold Riedmann is heading the digital transition of Austrian-based publishing company Russmedia. With an emphasis on journalism, mobile devices and a services strategy he has led the regional news portal VOL.AT (Vorarlberg Online) into the top five Austrian news websites.
He is the editor-in-chief of Vorarlberger Nachrichten (VN), the largest newspaper of Austria’s westernmost province Vorarlberg, known for its digital innovations.
“It is a special honour that GEN’s board members — all from globally admired media organisations — trust my work,” Gerold said when asked about his new appointment as Vice President of the GEN Board. “Together with GEN President Peter Bale and Co-Vice President Wolfgang Blau I will support our founder and CEO Bertrand Pecquerie in building the world’s largest journalism network. I will especially work on enabling cooperations between small and medium newsrooms and the large technology companies.”
Quotes gathered by Conor McMahon and Marianne Bouchart