Media Management


What kind of management styles is the media taking on a industry wide level? Before 2004, lines of communication in the media were clear and delineated, with individuals like Rupert Murdoch and Michael Bloomberg leading the helm, with others such as David Frost and David Dimbleby providing a second line of leadership. This leadership structure seems to have disappeared, and replaced instead by a mixture of democratic management styles, whereby everything needs to be agreed by the majority, with the consequence that decision making is slowed down and the need for a consensus may avoid taking the best decision for the media; and laissez faire leadership, where there is very little communication between companies, there is a general lack of focus and sense of direction, leading to a poor coprorate image. Laissez faire management styles are not real management at all as they involve avoiding the real duties of management, duties which may involve denying the pleasure principle of a large number of people and instead focusing on the less popular reality principle and serving the best interests of the industry. The best interests of the industry may not necessarily be what the large majority of people want to do, and it requires managers who have the ability to sternly make unpopular decision in the best interests of the group – managers such as these are few and far between in the media.

I suspect that these styles of management occurred in the media due to a sense that there were tens of millions of people demanding entertainment from the media, whose thirst for pleasure had to be slaked, and no one indivual felt strong enough to look that mass of humanity in the eye and deny them their entertainment. Perhaps media managers could be reminded of the 90-9-1 rule, and could have intelligently dissected the large mass of people and found the (possibly only four or five) individuals that all the rest were looking to. Certainly I myself have no problem dealing with large groups of people and see no reason why the media should differ.

My management style is more autocratic, which has the advantage that it projects the image of a confident, well run organisation. Having been the subject of apotheosis at various points in my life I can often direct people within my organisation using their deference to and respect of my personality. I have interests in economics, social media (on which I have written a book), geopolitics and celebrity, and debate these subjects regularly online. If I were in charge of the media, it would be a literate, erudite, cultured place. The media being run by Mark Thompson and people like him seems to me to be a shambolic place with poor rationales for its behaviour and judgements, which somehow wants something for the media which sells it short and does not fulfil the potential I see in it, rather like a cinematic genius earning a living as a projectionist in an XXX movie theatre.

There is a management idea that became popular in the 1990’s, which works by recognising that formation of the business policy and the business rasion d’etre is one of the main functions of management. It is the mission statement. The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a sense of direction, and guide decision-making. It is the source of inspiration and guide for future action for an organisation. It is important for organisations to put a good deal of thought into their mission statement, as it defines their goals and values.

What would the media say their mission statement is? Knowing the jaded iconoclasts that have pervaded society since 2004, one can hardly imagine a current media mission statement that doesn’t involve a reference to damning someone or masturbating. In its current state, the media are like a pothole in the surface of wider society, incapable of making public statements or accepting them from other organisations.

I’m not certain what my mission statement is. I work in IT and have studied software engineering, and so am aware of a number of manegement strategies for controlling projects and formulating plans of action, such as PRINCE2, which I would almost certainly apply in some watered down form.

An organisation can be defined as a social arrangement which pursues collective goals, controls its own performance, and has a boundary separating it from its environment (don’t we know it – we are not animals). With the definition of an organisation comes organisation theory, part of which studies how the organisation achieves its goals as defined by the mission statement. In many if not most organisations, leaders are employed to influence the organisation towards achieveing its goals.

The media needs leaders who have authority and who can make unpopular decision that are in the best interests of the organisation. The media needs a mission statement that ‘bombs it up to the Stone Age’, and sets itself some semi-professional standards relating to the service it provides. It needs to have institutional authority, which cannot be gained by a basis in immoral motivation or inethical treatment of others.

It is quite possible that if wider society understood what the media actually should be offering them by way of information, education and entertainemnt, they would no longer be quite so easily frothed up into a sort of jaded hysteria over what they are currently getting.


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