Study Tours

The best way to learn is to talk to those who have been through the experience

GEN Study Tours 

The Global Editors Network (GEN) organises yearly study tours for editors and senior media executives to help them make the best use of latest media innovations and technology. GEN study tours keep the industry professionals in the vanguard of the field. We organise meetings with both industry giants and up-and-coming actors, provide opportunities for hands-on experiences and peer-learning. Each study tour runs for four days and is limited to 12 participants to allow for exhaustive discussions with the startups, the news suppliers and the newsrooms.

Time to change your CMS! 

New York City | 7–10 October 2019

Current Content Management Systems are not adapted to mobile first news consumption, social media and new ways to monetise content and diversify revenue streams. The goal of the study tour is to discover new CMS and how they answer to the challenges of tomorrow’s news industry. We will meet proprietary systems as well as the latest open source systems in order to offer a real choice to participants.

The study tour is limited to a dozen of participants for allowing exhaustive discussions with the startups, the news suppliers and the newsrooms visited during the week. The registration is now closed.

The study tour will allow participants to:

  1. understand why current CMS are potentially outdated in terms of monetisation
  2. offer solutions and partnerships based on news consumption and users’ needs
  3. find better ways to personalize news content and to monetise it
  4. balance the advantages of proprietary versus open source systems
  5. visit startups focusing on AI, blockchain solutions and the voice economy

Publishing platforms of the future will help build new consumer revenue streams and will provide:

  • Revenue management system including programmatic advertising
  • A monetisation platform for subscriptions, memberships and metered content
  • Community-building tools and audience development tools for social media
  • A customer service portal linked to email campaigns and push notifications
  • A page builder tool including mobile-optimized layouts
  • Possibility to test your content across channels, websites and mobile apps
  • An in-house dashboard featuring customized analytics
  • Tools for smart speakers and the internet-of-things devices
  • A multi-platform video center

Schedule overview

Monday, 7 October: First working dinner - Jay Rosen
Tuesday, 8 October: ARC / Washington Post - Wall Street Journal / Newsgrid – The News Project – Civil – Brightspot / Los Angeles Times – Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY (Anita Zielina)

Wednesday, 9 October: Piano – Chartbeat – Hearken – The City – The Markup
Thursday, 10 October: Wordpress / Newspack – Vox Media / Chorus – Laterpay – Los Angeles Times (tbc)  


Detailed Schedule

Monday, 7 October

7pm: meeting at hotel lobby (The New Yorker)

7.30pm: Welcome dinner with Jay Rosenmedia critic, writer, professor of journalism at New York University and contributor to De Correspondent.

His personal, influential blog: PressThink


Tuesday, 8 October

9:00am: ARC Publishing / Washington Post with Alexander Remington, Account Executive.

Arc offers a comprehensive suite of tools that meet a wide range of digital publishing needs. It allows newsrooms to manage their digital assets, deploy and test their content across channels, websites and mobile apps, and track performance within a single, easy-to-navigate interface. Arc helps content teams power their businesses through innovation, better customer experiences, storytelling and streamlined workflows.

“We are working on customising tools for story publication, photo management and workflow, aiming to streamline the ways in which we create stories.” - Greg Barber, Director of Newsroom Product at The Washington Post about ARC Publishing and its tool-suite, including Ellipsis, a collaborative story-authoring tool, Anglerfish, Arc’s photo-management tool, Webdesk for centralizing the workflow, Bandito for testing headlines and Clavis, ARC’s personalization engine.

11:00am: Wall Street Journal / Newsgrid with Tyler Chance, Product Director

The Wall Street Journal is a U.S. business-focused, international daily newspaper. The Journal, along with its Asian and European editions, is published by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corp. The newspaper is known for its award-winning news coverage, and has won 37 Pulitzer Prizes (as of 2019). We will discuss the new challenges of CMS and how news monetization is impacted by the choice of the publishing platform.

12:30: Working lunch with Merrill Brown, The News Project CEO and Founder

The News Project has created a world-class suite of technology and tailored services to address the critical need for sustainable business models in the news marketplace. Its motto: “To empower journalists, philanthropists, entrepreneurs and investors to launch high-impact news properties rapidly and operate them successfully”. The News Project solution integrates best-of-breed content, audience and revenue tools that a typical news venture would assemble separately at far greater cost in time, effort and money. 

“As the news ecosystem evolves and we move to a world of smaller newsrooms, they need to have the same capabilities large newsrooms have, at a price point that makes sense for their business models.” -Merrill Brown, CEO, The News Project (TNP) working with CalMatters,the independent news organization that covers California politics and policy.

3:00pm: Civil with Matthew Iles, CEO 

Civil is a community-owned journalism network based on transparency and trust and using the blockchain technology. Civil has a constitution that describes the social contract it is creating. As part of that, each Newsroom creates a charter, identifying what it will cover, how it will make money, etc. By joining the registry, the newsroom commits to upholding certain standards.

4:30pm: Brightspot CMS with David Gang, CEO, Perfect Sense

For National Geographic, “Brightspot is a Ferrari of a system. It has an incredibly fast, sleek front end, and the back end is intuitive, simple and effective. Basically, it helps us publish faster”. The heasless CMS defined itself as a “high-speed, low-stress content management for media and brand publishers”. Brightspot / Perfect Sense was chosen by the Los Angeles Times as the main element of its CMS and the company was recently chosen by NPR for its new developments.

7:30pm: Dinner with Anita ZielinaDirector of News Innovation and Leadership, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY (formerly digital editor at NZZ, Neue Zürcher Zeitung and Der Standard)



Wednesday, 9 October

9:00am: Piano with Allison Muro and Michael Silberman, SVP, Strategy

Piano is the largest provider of metered paywalls worldwide with more than 1200 news and media providers globally using their platforms. Piano is used by the world’s leading media and content companies to drive engagement, loyalty, and revenue. During the visit, predicting conversion issues will be discussed. 

11:00am: Chartbeat with John Saroff, CEO

As an alternative to Google Analytics for real-time data, Chartbeat is a technology company that provides data and analytics to global publishers. The company integrates code into the CMS of news organizations to track audience engagement and loyalty metrics so they can make decisions about the content to publish and the way to monetize it.

12:30: Working lunch with Jennifer Brandel, Hearken co-founder

Hearken’s proprietary technology platform is called the Engagement Management System. It helps newsrooms generate actionable insights from the public to create more relevant, representative and original content. It helps editorial staff keep engagement organized, and helps revenue-focused staff generate qualified email leads and connect to newsletters and CRMs.

2:30pm: THE CITY with John WotowiczPublisher and Jere Hester, Editor-in-Chief

Launched in April 2019, THE CITY is an independent, nonprofit news outlet dedicated to hard-hitting reporting that serves New York citizens. The organization also launched a year-long project with the Brooklyn Public Library called The Open Newsroom to explore how to make local news more collaborative. THE CITY is based on Clay, the McClatchy CMS. 

4:00pm: Visit to be confirmed (Los Angeles Times TBC)


Thursday, 10 0ctober

9:00am: Newspack / Wordpress – Automattic with Jefferson Rab and Kinsey Wilson, president

Wordpress already host sites for some of the most trusted names in journalism — from Time.com and CNN to FiveThirtyEight and Quartz, but Newspack is a new platform aimed at small and medium-sized news organizations. It defines itself as “an inexpensive platform that provides the technology and support that lets news organizations build their businesses and focus on what they do best — providing critical reporting for their communities.”

“It’s not simply a CMS for a newsroom, but a full business system that enables publishing and monetization at the same time.” -Kinsey Wilson, President, WordPress.com / Newspack

“It’s not rocket science to put a CMS together. It is a bit of rocket science to figure out how to make the most effective use of it and create a sustainable business model.” - Mary Walter-Brown, CEO, News Revenue Hub / Newspack

11:00am – Vox Media / Chorus with Jamie Silverstein, Director, Business Operation Katrina Barlow, VP of Chorus

Chorus defines itself as “the only all-in-one publishing, audience, and revenue platform built for modern media companies”, powering more than 350 sites. In the last year, the team has grown to more than 150 full-time employees and will continue to increase investment in the core platform, growing the team by 50% by the end of 2019.

“This is a platform built by publishers, for publishers.” -Trei Brundrett, Vox chief operating officer about the three tool-suite provided by Vox Media: Chorus, the publishing platform, Concert, the ad network (used by Quarz and Buzzfeed) and thecollaborative Coral Project, the community tool-suite. Vox defines Chorus as a “all-in-one publishing, audience and revenue platform”. 

12:45pm – Working lunch at Laterpay with Hal Bailey, CRO

Laterpay offers a new software product that influences and changes the way people consume paid content on the Internet with a user-centric approach and a secure way to buy digital goods. Its motto: “We hope to change the way people regard paid content, turning it into a great experience on both sides of the bill”. The software makes it possible to buy digital content, ad-free experiences and make even the smallest contributions without having to pay for them right away.

2:15pm – The Markup with Julia Angwin, Editor-in-Chief

The Markup is a new non-profit newsroom aiming to begin publishing later this year. Its mission: “rigorous evidence-based tech accountability journalism. Its motto: “we know how to investigate the uses of new technologies and make their effects understandable to non-experts.” Julia Angwin is an award-winning investigative journalist, formerly of the independent news organization ProPublica and The Wall Street Journal. She has twice led investigative teams that were Finalists for a Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Reporting. Her book, Dragnet Nation: A Quest for Privacy, Security and Freedom in a World of Relentless Surveillance, was published by Times Books in 2014.

3:30pm – Visit to an advertising Agency (TBC) 

Topic: how programmatic advertising work with existing CMS and what are the challenges for monetization of news.


Practical information

  • Working language will be English
  • Some of the companies visited will present sensitive or private material that is not meant to be shared publicly

How much does it cost?

GEN Summit participants and former participants of a GEN study tour: €4,900

Full price: €5,800

(Early-bird offer ran until 31 August: €5,200)

The ticket price covers all expenses (the welcome dinner, accommodation and meals), except the travel costs to and from the city.

Interested in coming with a colleague? Receive a 30% discount on the price of the second ticket.

Cancelation policy: GEN will reimburse 50 percent of the fee if a participant cancels three weeks before the study tour (6 September). Any participant can be replaced by another member of the same media group.   


Paul de Villepin

Tel: (+1) 646-331-3274 

WhatsApp: +33 7 68 00 10 28

Email: pg2609@columbia.edu