The Innovate Local programme is designed to empower local news organisations and journalists with the tools, resources, and support they need to thrive in an ever-evolving digital landscape. By providing a platform for knowledge exchange and networking opportunities, this program will enable participants to develop cutting-edge strategies that address the challenges faced by local media outlets.

Innovate Local will deliver two case webinars a month and a website of resources. Moreover, through a dedicated and curated Slack channel, WAN-IFRA is building a community of local publishers exchanging ideas, concepts and experiences. The program is aimed at anyone working in a news media company which operates in its geographical community. In other words, anyone involved in the business of journalism close to where people live and work. Innovate Local is free for WAN-IFRA members but open to everyone.

We are thrilled to introduce the Innovate Local programme,” said Vincent Peyrègne , CEO of WAN-IFRA. “This initiative reflects our commitment towards supporting local journalism and a free and independent press worldwide. We believe that by empowering local news organisations with innovative tools and ideas we can ensure their long-term sustainability and their fundamental role in open society.”

The programme will cover topics like product development around community interests, serving readers through geo segmentation, AI and automation, newsletters, new story-telling techniques, local impact journalism, new products like events and B2B, branding, marketing and community outreach, inclusivity, programmatic advertising and self-service, print distribution and many more.

Scandinavian media back the programme

Local media in Scandinavia have been particularly successful in building close relationships with their readers and local advertisers and several Scandinavian local media groups have signed up as Founding Members of Innovate Local, including Swedish Bonnier News Local, NWT, Gota Media, VK Media as well as Amedia and Schibsted title Bergens Tidende in Norway.

We very much welcome a programme focusing specifically on the challenges and opportunities of local journalism. We’re always looking for new ideas and inspiration, and we look forward to sharing our learnings with peers worldwide,” explains Markus Rask Jensen, Chief News Officer, Amedia, Norway. Mats Ehnbom, CEO of Swedish GotaMedia, comments:” We support Innovate Local. Our organisation, and myself as a CEO, look forward to being inspired by practical examples of excellence and best cases.”

Launch on February 7

The Innovate Local launch webinar will take place on February 7 at 3 p.m. CET and will headline Schibsted title Stavanger Aftenblad in Norway. Project Leader AI Elin Stueland will present their case: Reaching Young Readers: How Stavanger Aftenblad covers junior football like it’s the Premier League.

Registration to Innovate Local / access to webinars are open on the Innovate Local website.

WAN-IFRA is partnering with Swedish media experts Niklas Jonason, Program Director and Cecilia Campbell, Program Editor, to curate and run Innovate Local. Both have extensive experience in digital media transformation, with Jonason focusing on business development and ad tech, and Campbell on newsroom development and reader revenues. Both have worked closely with WAN-IFRA during their career.

Martin Fröhlich, Director of the Digital Revenue Network at WAN-IFRA, is WAN-IFRA’s manager on the Innovate Local team.

Contact and Inquiries

For more information about the Innovate Local programme and how to get involved, please visit the Innovate Local, or contact Martin Fröhlich, Director Digital revenue Network at WAN-IFRA,, Niklas Jonason, Innovate Local Programme Director,, or Cecilia Campbell, Innovate Local Programme Editor,


Niklas Jonason has 35 years of experience of business development, tech and digital transformation particularly for local news media, in roles such as CEO, board member and management consultant. Early in his career he worked at IFRA in Germany and in France, and for the past 30 years he’s had key positions in developing and running services in ed and ad tech for Swedish local media.

Cecilia Campbell is a journalist and has spent 25 years covering the digital transformation in news media from Sweden and the UK. She co-led WAN-IFRA’s executive programmes for 10+ years, writing reports and running workshops and study tours internationally on topics from reader revenues to editorial development and innovation in digital advertising.

WAN-IFRA, the World Association of News Publishers, is the global organisation of the world’s press. Its mission is to protect the rights of journalists and publishers around the world to operate independent media. We provide our members with expertise and services to innovate and prosper in a digital world and perform their crucial role in society. It derives its authority from its global network of 3,000 news publishing companies and technology entrepreneurs, and its legitimacy from its 60 member publisher associations representing 18,000 publications in 120 countries.

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