Media management: Boldly go where no one has gone before

Are you the editor-in-chief or CEO of your media operations? Congratulations! You hold a thrilling position in a world that breathes change, transformation, and innovation.

One thing to be sure of: Your media house, your product, and your organisation don’t have very much in common with what they all looked like a year ago. And what they will look like tomorrow – well that is a whole new story.

To be a successful leader in the media business of 2014, you have to love change. You have to love roller coasters – ups and downs, sudden unknown twists, butterflies in the stomach.

And more than that: You have to love spaceships. You have to love the feeling of exploring whole new worlds where no CEO or editor-in-chief of your media house has gone before.

So it’s time to get into character.

You are Captain Jean-Luc Picard, and your mission is to lead your troops and your spaceship on its continuing mission, to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life (viral sites, new Web television channels, new native solutions) and new civilisations (new social media opportunities, new platforms, wearables … you name it).

You have to. Because, frankly, the media world as we know it today will be history by the end of the evening.

In one episode you will probably focus on the new officers that will stand beside you on the commando bridge. And, after that, the build-up of your new fleet.

You will, of course, have to recruit the best new programmers, the top data analysts, and social media experts up-to-date on Facebook’s latest algorithm changes.

You will have to train your existing editorial and commercial fleet in your new digital academy, probably also introducing new social media policies for all employees.

And yes, many of us Picards also have to deal with tough decisions regarding adjusting our staff costs to a new reality, with a new level of income.

A tricky equation? Yes, to say the least.

In the next episode you will have to focus on technical improvements and innovation. You are likely to launch a new tablet site, take new steps to improve your new Big Data department, and probably also launch a brand new native solution to your customers, unheard of in your market.

Focusing on new technical innovation – improving relevance to your readers and your advertisers – is the way forward.

All this development spins in warp speed, and your way to success depend on how fast you move. Phrases like “fail fast,” “fail cheap,” and “just do it” are key factors crucial to win the battle.

However, some things remain the same. Our hearts and souls as publicists. Our passion to tell important stories. Our urge to reveal injustice, to investigate foul play. Our aim to tell news, to amuse, or whatever publicist ideal is the core and heart of your news organisation – that is still the foundation we stand upon.

Yes, there is no question the leadership of tomorrow demands the best of the best. And yes, it demands tons of courage and passion.

And, in the heat of the warp speed, don’t forget to take a few moments to celebrate each new victory. And more importantly, don’t forget it’s not all about technology.

Yes, robots are trying to copy the human way when it comes to telling a news story. As we all know, The Los Angeles Times was the first newspaper to publish a story about an earthquake in October this year. However, the algorithms aren’t that fine-tuned, yet. The story was correct, yes, but that was all. The text lacked what I would call rhythm and soul.

So far, robots are still easily outmaneuvered by the human mind and the human heart. Keep that in mind when you make all those big decisions in future technology. Don’t lose your heart, soul, and passion. Investments in new technology are definitely crucial and basically your new line of distribution.

The core and heart of our business is still the same. The best journalists, the best story tellers, the brightest minds are as essential as ever in the news business.

Lead the way. Show them the new world. Make them fall in love with all new opportunities. And, most importantly, involve them in the idea process.

Make it your journey, together, to the world of tomorrow. Probably the best idea for the future will pop up in one of your coworkers’ brains. Be there to catch it.

No matter what new worlds we meet, you will need loads of positive energy and the brilliance of the human mind in the new world, too.

About Frida Boisen

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