Student - May 29, 2008

Resource to go to a different publisher

Wageningen UR has decided to award the production of the weekly newspaper Resource and quarterly magazine Wageningen Update to Hemels Publishers in Hilversum. This is the outcome of the recent European procurement by tender procedure. Cereales Uitgeverij, the current makers of the publications, scored 91.9 points from the judging committee, Hemels 95.4.

The tender procedure was open to publishers interested in producing the Wageningen UR newspapers from September 2008. The candidates were judged and given points for a written presentation in which they demonstrated that they fulfilled the criteria listed in a statement of requirements. Points were also awarded for the price estimate and an oral presentation. Cereales and Hemels were the two candidates that reached the last round. Although the Cereales estimate was fifteen percent lower than that of Hemels, the latter was judged by Wageningen UR to have the best price-quality ratio. Hemels scored 21 percent higher on the presentation.

Hemels makes sponsored magazines, websites, e-newsletters and annual reports. The publisher has 60 employees and produces 35 publications. Its clients include Mercedes, Van Lanschot Bankers, KLM, Philips and the Dutch social security organisation UWV. Cereales has four publications in its portfolio, three of which are for Wageningen UR. As the contract for Resource and Wageningen Update ends on 1 August, the survival of Cereales now hangs in the balance.

Director of Cereales Henk Prevaes says the outcome is incomprehensible: ‘A recent readers’ survey shows a high appreciation of Cereales’ newspapers among the target group, and we were considerably cheaper than the competitor. But still the publications have been awarded to another company.’

General director of Hemels Publishers, Jeroen Hemels is very pleased with their success. ‘Like Cereales, we were surprised at the news that we have been chosen to produce the Wageningen newspapers. Hemels is very enthusiastic about Wageningen, but we are aware that we need to be modest. Cereales has already been producing the Wageningen UR weekly newspaper for thirty years. That says a lot about the position of the publishers in the Wageningen community, and we have a lot of respect for that.’

Hemels has no experience in making a weekly newspaper for a knowledge institution, agrees the director. ‘That would have been impossible: Wageningen is the first university to put its newspaper out to tender.’ But Hemels is more than just a publisher of glossy magazines for Mercedes and KLM, Hemels contends. ‘We also make publications for the Telematica Instituut, Akzo, the Vrije Universiteit and the UWV. Take UWV – we produce the internal magazine for this social security organisation which is currently making big personnel cuts. Credibility and skilled journalism are crucial for this. It’s a different ballgame than making customer magazines that increase a company’s branding.’

Will Hemels be setting up an office in Wageningen? Hemels: ‘That would seem to be a logical step, but first we are going to put together an editorial team. And depending on that, we’ll decide where we can best produce the newspapers.’

Re:act