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Brain Drain: Are newspapers losing to other media the very people they need to survive? 10/16/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in HumanResources.

According to former SF Chronicle executive Alan Mutter, newspapers may be undervaluing the technical skills and youth-market-knowledge of their 20-30 year-old workers, causing a brain drain of the talent they need to survive. Accustomed to operating in non-competitive business environments using technology that has changed very little over decades, newspaper organizations continue to operate in a top-down, bureaucratic manner. Seniority is prized. Those with online experience are second-class citizens. A talented young designer/programmer asks, “What am I doing here?…These guys don’t get it. I’ve got to get out. I’m just wasting my time.”

Microsoft executive Steve Ballmer last week predicted that within 10 years all media — print, TV, and the Internet — will be delivered over the Internet, which means that those with online skills are not the long-term future of newspapers, they are the short– and mid-term future. And when this convergence to the Internet is complete, newspapers will be competing head-to-head online with the local TV stations in their market — news outlets that already have in-house talent that is comfortable with electronic technology and not unaccustomed to competing for audiences. For newspapers seeking to configure their organizations to survive this sea change, there is one burning question. If not now, when? (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll)


1. Lucas Grindley - 10/16/07

Alan Mutter has it exactly right. I talked about the same sort of thing here.

2. knackeredhack - 10/17/07

I wonder too whether news media attract their historical share of the brightest and best any more. In the past, if you were enterprising and wanted an audience, the media was the place you would go. There are myriad other options now, and some of them are scaleable in ways much journalism is not.

As you say, newsrooms are clearly not good places to meet other techno-savvy people. So you will not progress your understanding quickly in that environment or meet people who will help you solve your creative problems. That knowledge and collaborative ability would seem essential for professional survival.

3. newspaper » Brain Drain: Are newspapers losing to other media the very people … - 10/17/07

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