On 7 November, the Global Editors Network (GEN) announced that after 9 years of supporting journalists and fostering cooperation across the media it will close as a result of its terminal financial difficulties.
GEN, the worldwide association of editors-in-chief and senior news executives, was founded in 2011 as an NGO to support news media overcome the challenges and seize the opportunities presented by the digital revolution. In these past years it has scored many successes, foremost amongst those was the creation of the ‘Startup for News programme’ which provided a space and platform for media start-ups to connect with a wider network of media professionals and organisations. Many of the start-ups are now prominent in the media such as Storyful, Wibbitz, Trint, Valossa, JYC, Laterpay, Croma and Coda Story.
The Network sought to keep afloat through three financial streams: platforms, foundations and news organizations — the latter through tickets sales for the GEN Summit, the organization’s leading yearly event. The GEN admits that “In the past years, it has become increasingly difficult to maintain a balance between GEN’s three main sources of funding and to further diversify them, particularly given the many pressures on the news industry.” These factors led the GEN board to conclude that the organisation was no longer financially viable and therefore had to close.
The President of the GEN, Jim Roberts, wrote of his sadness of the closure but also his pride in what has been achieved: “Despite the disappointment of the moment, members of the board and myself all feel distinct pride in what GEN has accomplished, from fostering news startups to supporting independent journalistic voices to celebrating the best of data journalism. We believe that the community of editors that GEN has helped promote will continue the fight for a better future of journalism. We are very grateful to them and to all GEN supporters.”
Please find a video here produced by GEN showcasing some of the organisation’s finest moments.