Journalism and innovation: “Never outsource your future”
Piechota quotes Clayton Christensen, the esteemed chronicler of corporate change, saying: “Never outsource the future.”
Ken Doctor does a great summary of a report by Grzegorz Piechota for the INMA. I met Grzegorz Piechota in Prague years ago now, probably 2007. We were both presenting at a small workshop for journalists hosted by the Transitions Online.
Rather than doing a full-blown summary of a summary, I’ll just highlight this because it is so relevant and important.
Greg doesn’t pull punches, and he is saying something that needs to be said but that almost no staffer or senior manager who wants to keep their job can say:
Today we pay the price for the sins of the past. Users are destroying publishers’ revenues with adblockers. Internet giants have sniffed the opportunity to drag us into their walled gardens and eat us alive. It’s high time for news publishers to give strategic priority to mobile and improve the user experience…Can we stop discussing in our newsrooms whether every reporter should be on Facebook or Twitter and move the debate on social media to the boardroom?
I know of a major news company in which the staff have to use ad blockers so that they can simply do their jobs and manage their sites. If your staff cannot use your own site without destroying your business model, does that take anyone even a second to realise how ridiculously broken your user experience and ultimately your business is?
The time for half measures is long past. This is a senior board level discussion, and the leadership and managers need to start listening to people on staff who are saying these uncomfortable things. I’m making quite a tidy living at the moment telling companies things they need to hear, that many of their staffs are telling but that they wouldn’t countenance from a staff member or members of their management team.
We didn’t need to get to this moment when major companies are going to go to the wall because they couldn’t deal with the reality that was so clearly before them. Instead, they chose to listen to the people who whispered that it would all be OK in their ears. To steal one more line from Greg. He quotes a Polish proverb:
When someone tells you that you’re drunk, she might be wrong. When three different people tell you, you’d better shut up and go to bed.
The industry is drunk. It needs to wake up and come back with a plan to deal with 21st Century realities. Build a digital business or get ready for the deadpool.
Originally published at charman-anderson.com on April 30, 2016.