Seven European newspapers, including Switzerland’s Tages-Anzeiger and Tribune de Genève, have launched the Leading European Newspaper Alliance (LENA) in order to combine their journalistic skills and “promote quality journalism in Europe”.
The five other founding members of the Swiss-inspired scheme are Die Welt from Germany, El País from Spain, La Repubblica from Italy, Le Figaro from France and Le Soir from Belgium. No English-language media are involved.
In a statement published on Tuesday, LENA said one of the main focuses of the cooperation would be the creation and exchange of editorial content.
“Each newspaper will provide selected articles to a joint platform from which the Alliance members will be able to draw on according to their needs,” it said.
“In addition, interviews, features and comments will be especially commissioned for simultaneous publication in all LENA partners. The Alliance will also undertake joint digital developments. A program for the exchange of personnel will allow journalists and other employees to spend time in other newspapers of the Alliance and thus widen their fields of expertise.”
It added that in addition to publishing articles, interviews or features, LENA would contribute to the exchange of ideas at the continental level by means of getting experts, business leaders and political figures to participate in events about key issues for the development of Europe.
The publishers of the founding newspapers have appointed Javier Moreno, editor-in-chief of El País between 2006 and 2014, as director of the alliance. The creation of LENA is subject to customary approvals by the relevant competition authorities.
‘We are Europeans’
The idea for LENA originated in December 2013 as the result of a meeting, called by Zurich’s Tages-Anzeiger, between the editors of the newspapers involved.
“Over dinner, we got enthusiastic about investing not just in existing journalistic cooperation but also in research and development,” said Pietro Supino, chairman of Tamedia, the publisher of Tages-Anzeiger and Tribune de Genève.
“I’m proud that of all the partners, it was the smallest country that drove the merger forward.”
Asked whether LENA was a “European Union of publishing”, Supino maintained that regardless of whether Switzerland joined the EU or not, “we are Europeans”.
“We benefit from being located within Europe and we contribute to the welfare of the continent. This European networking is a plus. It contributes to better mutual understanding and leads to a broadening of horizons,” he said.
swissinfo.ch and agencies