We will champion talent, sustainability and trust in media
Opinion: 100% Media 0% Nonsense
We expect some tough conversations ahead as we champion three important issues in 2023 to bring about a better media industry.
With winter and the festive season around the corner, it will soon be time to start thinking about the New Year and how we can be better people. Or, in my case, just trying to survive the daunting task of welcoming our second child (due on Boxing Day!) with a very energetic two-year-old running around.
In the spirit of kindness, I’m choosing to spare kind thoughts for Liz Truss, the UK’s soon-to-be ex-Prime Minister. Her time in office has been as chaotic as it has been brief and, whatever your politics, this must have been a horrendous public ordeal that would crush anyone. Within the space of six weeks she managed to crash the economy and lose the support of her party. We didn’t even get time to see if my prediction turned out to be correct that she would become more aggressive with her attacks on the media as she continued to lurch from one mistake to another.
But, as our new regular columnist and media futurist Phil Rowley explained on Friday, predictions are not just about being prescient. Imagining the future can sharpen our understanding of the present and give us the impetus to influence the factors at play.
Or, in short, “be the change you want to be”.
So what changes do you want to make? What changes do we collectively need to make so that media becomes more prosperous, fairer and more effective?
Three big issues to tackle
We created a forum at our recent Future of Media event in London to help The Media Leader answer exactly those questions. We held a debate among many of the industry’s most senior media owner executives, media agency C-suite, and trade body leaders, and came up with three crucial issues The Media Leader should champion in 2023.
And we held another debate at the same time with rising stars and future leaders in the industry, to make sure the views of the wider media industry was being taken into account.
Then we held a final vote, led by our Media Leader columnists Jan Gooding and Nick Manning, with help from the former CNBC executive Mick Buckley, to find out what the ultimate three issues should be after taking everyone’s view into account.
The results are in. The top issues are: talent, sustainability and trust in media. These are the challenges that The Media Leader will champion as a voice for a better media industry.
This does not mean we are junking our pledge to stand up for inclusion, courage and excellence in media, which we published in 2021 under our former brand Mediatel News. It simply means we are holding ourselves to that standard by trying to be inclusive in the way we champion issues, having the courage to take a stand on important issues and risk alienating those who may disagree, and taking the time to celebrate those in our industry that are showing excellence in the values we champion.
They will play a central role in our coverage, our events, and our awards. Our editorial team will spend the next few weeks planning on how we will specifically do this in meaningful and effective ways.
But, for now, it’s important to understand how and why we’ve arrived at these three topics.
The talent crisis
This was not a surprise. I’ve written extensively for more than a year about the hiring and retention problems that media owners and media agencies have faced after the huge negative economic shock that came with the first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020.
We were already sensitive to how much of a struggle businesses are facing in trying to recover from that shock. Too many companies were looking for too few specialist candidates, which forced salaries up. Many people don’t want to return to the office with anything like the same regularity as in the ‘before times’. And yet people are feeling burned out by the increased work load that has come with working from home.
We launched Career Leaders, a weekly resource on our Tuesday edition of the Daily bulletin, to curate thought leadership, analysis, opinion, and news about jobs, training, development, and wellbeing. We are not pretending to run a sideline for HR professionals, but we know that readers want practical advice and quality information about how to succeed and thrive in media while being happy at work and at home. We have just begun this journey.
This was the number-one issue highlighted by the ‘future leaders’ and, notably, did not make the top three of the senior leaders’ debate.
As Gooding persuasively argued during the final debate, there is no more important issue that affects all of us than how we continue to live without wrecking the environment beyond repair. We know how much carbon is created by media production and advertising and this problem only becomes more problematic as more media goes online.
Cross-industry initiatives like Ad Net Zero are important, and many media agencies and advertisers have made pledges. But there is so much more we can demand of ourselves.
Trust in media
This ranked in the top three among both senior and future leaders. Many of our writers have warned about the damaging impact on society and advertisers’ reputations by media platforms that are poorly regulated and traditional media owners that have descended into irresponsible and, frankly, hateful practices.
This is going to be tough for a media industry publication, but we have to get real about what it means to be a trusted media owner and this will lead to some difficult conversations with many of you. Some of you have already given me a piece of your mind privately about pieces we’ve written lately.
Please do contact me with ideas and thoughts about how The Media Leader should champion these three values through our articles, videos, live events and our podcast (more on that very soon…)