Editor’s note: In this ongoing series, INMA is profiling our most engaged members — our super fans. At a time when we have less face-to-face time, we hope this gives members a chance to learn more about each other. Today we profile Ezra Eeman, change director news for Mediahuis NV in Antwerp, Belgium.
Mediahuis is quickly scaling from a national publisher to an important European media organisation. Ezra Eeman, change director news for Mediahuis NV in Antwerp, Belgium, is proud that Mediahuis NV is able to do that and keep journalism at the core of what it does.
One of his greatest adventures (and learning experiences) came in 2005, when all flights and boats were banned during the terrorist bombing in Sharm el-Sheik. Eeman found someone to drive him and his camera crew through the Sinai desert to get to Sharm el-Sheik.
“We had to stop every hour to pass military roadblocks. At first, I thought that was the end of it, but they quickly made it clear I could bribe my way out of it,” he said. “I guess you can say that I learned to consider alternative solutions.”
That same kind of fast thinking helps him today in a time of great change in the industry. And when he’s not out on exciting adventures, Eeman spends time with his wife and daughter enjoying good food.
INMA recently caught up with him to get to know him better.
INMA: What big lesson have you learned over the past couple of years that helped shape your plans for 2022?
Eeman: The importance of identity, focus, and relevance for news brands to stand out in the overcrowded media landscape.
INMA: If you had your career to do over again, what would you want to know in the beginning?
Eeman: That it’s OK to try and fail at things. And also how to learn from experiments. Only after 10 years as a journalist did I discover the whole concept of iterative development and design thinking, which opened up a whole new way of approaching work.
INMA: What makes you excited to get out of bed in the morning?
Eeman: Travel. See new places, meet new people.
INMA: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned in your career?
Eeman: People matter. Over the years I have been fortunate to meet amazing colleagues, inspiring, enthusiastic, and critical, and all of them have helped me grow.
INMA: If you hadn’t gone into news media, what was your back-up plan?
Eeman: I’ve worked in film, TV, fashion, strategy, and innovation. I like to move sideways. Anything is possible as long as it has a mix of creativity and strategy.
INMA: What is your favourite thing to read?
Eeman: Books. I really enjoyed, What You Do Is Who You Are by Ben Horowitz. Great book on company culture.
INMA: What do you find the most challenging/interesting about the news media industry right now?
Eeman: That’s a big question. I would say serving a fragmented society. Some sense of shared reality is necessary for a healthy democracy and the news media industry has a role to play.
INMA: What are you most excited about right now?
Eeman: Mediahuis just ventured into the German markets. I’m very excited to start working with our new colleagues from the Aachner Zeitung & Aachner Nachrichten.