The first Daily Newspaper Forum in Mongolia kicked off on September 21, with nearly 100 media representatives in attendance to discuss the status and challenges faced by Mongolian daily newspapers and exchange opinions on future approaches to development.

The forum, organized by the Association of Daily Newspapers (ADN) with support from daily newspaper publishers in Mongolia, is considered a major step forward for raising the reputation and quality of newspapers, supporting daily newspaper publishers, and brainstorming new and innovative approaches to the development of newspapers.

S.Gantogoo

“It’s time for newspaper publishers to address how we can continue sustainable business now that the digital world is continuing to grow at a fast rate. Television and social media are doing an excellent job at delivering the real-time news. Daily newspapers, on the other hand, lack in this area. Today, we will talk about how newspapers can compete against these new and fast forms of information distribution,” commented S.Gantogoo, the executive director of ADN.

S.Gantogoo suggested strengthening work ethics and responsibility of journalists as a potential way to keep up newspaper readership. She believes that this will boost the quality of articles and public trust in journalists.

“It’s time for journalists and pressrooms to bring their attention back to their key role as the fourth state,” she noted.

ADN president and CEO of the National News Corporation LLC, E.Dolgion, delivered an opening speech underlining newspapers as the most important source of information.

E.Dolgion

“Some people might be disappointed with the current condition of daily newspapers. This type of feedback might have been a big shock for the media sector as newspapers have always been the most important medium for delivering new information. However, a wise man once said that the true measure of success is the number of times you can bounce back from failure. Therefore, we have gathered here to discuss not only the current situation but future goals and give strength to one another so that we can move forward towards a single goal.”

After talking about the hard working conditions of journalists and their work ethics, discipline and credibility, CEO E.Dolgion shared an interesting data about the number of people who read the newspaper.

“According to a readership survey conducted by an international audit organization, nearly half of the world’s population read newspapers on a daily basis, 2.5 billion newspapers are printed every day, and six million online subscriptions are delivered. This means that a total of 3.1 billion people read the newspaper each day. Figures show that readership of newspapers increased by 20 percent over the last five years,” he said.

Z.Enkhtur

Following his speech, Z.Enkhtur, the executive director of Slide LLC that founded UB Info mobile application gave a presentation about technological challenges and global trends of the newspaper. The main reasons people read print media are because they are “comfortable” to read, “some people like the texture and scent” of newspapers, and the fact that they can be archived. On the other hand, some people prefer digital media over print media because they can be read anytime anywhere, provides real-time news, and saves paper, according to Z.Enkhtur.

He emphasized that publishing advertisements isn’t a good survival strategy for the newspaper business. Instead, he recommended increasing subscriptions by producing targeted content of high quality like most newspaper publishers across the globe.

“Around 40 to 50 percent of news published on our website and application, UB Info, are not read according to our statistics. For example, if 30 articles are published on one day, 10 to 15 of them are not read at all. This shows that pressrooms are producing too much content that readers aren’t interested in.” Z.Enkhtur said that Slide LLC is working on a new project to create an application that allows users to access and make optional subscriptions for all newspapers, has a quick and easy payment system, enables users to give feedback, make requests for specific news or review, and provides demographic data. The application is set to be tested from October 1 and if results are good, it will launch on January 1, 2018.

The Daily Newspaper Forum consisted of four presentations and two panel discussions. The first panel discussion focused on the present situation of daily newspapers, while the second delved into the sector’s future trends.

ADN executive director S.Gantogoo, Mongolian Unen newspaper’s editor-in-chief B.Ganbold, head of Daily News’ Domestic, Economic and Cognitive Information Department P.Khashchuluun, and executive director Slide LLC Z.Enkhtur took part in the first panel discussion. Participants debated about ways to make print and digital media work together, boosting the credibility and value of daily newspapers, and more.

A journalist in the audience also made a noteworthy suggestion to improve the infrastructure for newspaper distribution, in particular the postal service, to promote the sale of newspapers.

The second part of the forum, focused on the future, featured an “Investigative Journalism and Newspaper Leadership” presentation by D.Mungundalai, the head of Investigative Journalism Department of Daily News.

“Nowadays, many people are talking as if investigative journalism is flourishing in Mongolia only now. In reality, Mongolians have been engaging in investigative journalism for a long time, even during Mongolia’s one-party communist era (1921-1990). Thanks to journalists’ investigation, many victims of false charges were released from prison, including the victims of political persecution,” she said.

D.Munkhdalai noted that lawmakers have “discreetly” put articles that restrict and bind the rights of journalists into legislation and that this is limiting the scope of investigative journalism. She urged everyone to pay more attention to this and work together to correct this.

At the end of the forum, representatives from daily newspaper publishers signed two declarations, “Daily Newspapers’ Declaration to Support Investigative Journalism Aimed to Create a Fair and Just Society” and “Declaration of Professional Ethics of Daily Newspapers”.

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