Friday, May 21, 2010

The Media Magazine: The biggest threat to the African news industry - change-averse company executives

The Media magazine in South Africa recently asked me to write a piece on challenges to the news industry.

Drawing on the findings of the last World Newspaper Future & Changes Study, I argue that the biggest threats to the local news business are change-adverse company executives:
The global economic recession couldn't have come at a better time for some media executives.

It has provided a convenient scapegoat for those top managers who hanker for the days when profits flowed like ink and who believe it'll be business as usual when the economy recovers. Declining audiences and adspend, they argue, will bounce back as fast as you can say "economic cycle". All this talk about the business opportunities that the advances in new technologies are bringing is malarkey, they say. Just look at what happened to those in the digitally dedicated, but decimated, newspaper industries in America, Britain and elsewhere.

In some ways, I wish they were right. But they're not. And those change-averse company executives are the biggest threat to the local news industry.

The rest of the article from the May 2010 edition of the magazine has been posted here.

Results from the 2010 World Newspaper Future & Change Study, which I conduct in partnership with colleagues at the Shaping the Future of the Newspaper project of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the Norwegian School of Management, will be published in the Autumn.

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