Our pledge to stand up for excellence and inclusion
The Media Leader editor Omar Oakes reveals our editorial mission to stand up for excellence, courage and inclusion in media.
Words matters in journalism, so much so that pedantry becomes an occupational hazard.
If you’ve ever worked at a publisher and seen the editorial team in action, you’ll have seen for yourself how often good journalists will pore over individual words to make sure the meaning is correct, both literally and figuratively.
I’m relatively new to the team, having joined in May, but I believe it’s important now to set out how things are going to change and what we want to achieve. We can only properly hold the media industry to account if we are willing to say what we believe in.
So, our mission statement is: to stand up for excellence, courage and inclusion in media.
These words were chosen carefully, so let me explain what this will mean in practice for our news output.
Through our news, features, analysis and opinion pieces, we will strive to explain and challenge how a story fits (or doesn’t fit) into the ideals of excellence and inclusion.
This will apply to whether we’re writing about ad campaigns, or agencies competing for advertiser accounts, or people moves.
In our news, we will be regularly asking media companies the same two questions again and again about excellence, courage and inclusivity.
In our opinion pieces, media excellence and inclusivity will be our columnists’ focus.
Excellence and courage
Over the last decade, many media commentators have created lots of noise by saying traditional media owners and their agencies are doomed because of the rise of digital monopolies, or the threat of automation, or brands wanting to “do media” and “in-house” media services themselves.
It’s easy to overlook all the innovative and creative work that happens behind the scenes in media.
We, as in the trade press, need to work harder to tell this story. Not just write about the big numbers and big deals, but the bits of magic in between.
This means more than just encouraging companies to enter an award, but also inviting them to be more confident in telling us and the industry how they are experimenting and being brave in media.
In my first column for this publication in May, I wrote: “[Diverse partnerships in media] means going beyond hiring more diverse talent and working with more diverse suppliers: it means internalising a diversity of thought and attitude.
“As a new editor with big ambitions for Mediatel News, I will be working hard in my first few weeks and months to ensure our content reflects an open mind with diversity at its core.”
Regular readers will hopefully have seen how we have already been doing this in recent weeks, through our coverage of the industry All-in Census, the harsh reality of how online advertising contributes to our carbon footprint, or how the industry has lost the argument over the HFSS TV watershed.
But we understand that being inclusive takes effort and perhaps doing things outside of our comfort zone. We need to be willing to seek out new voices with different stories to tell about what this industry is really like for them and how it can be better.
In the coming weeks and months, we will expand our formidable roster of thought leaders and contributors to bring you the most diverse, challenging and informative commentary on commercial media industry.
Please do contact me for your thoughts on our mission and how we can work together to make our exciting industry even stronger, creative and confident.
Note (April 2022): This article has been updated to reflect the The Media Leader’s new branding from Mediatel News. Read more about the rebrand here.