In publishing, we’re all firefighters at heart, forever putting out the blaze in front of us, unable to look beyond the smoke.
The fact is, everyone’s busy all of the time, whether that be with looming deadlines, problems to fix, or, simply, those dreaded back-to-back meetings.
This means that two very important things that need doing often don’t get done, namely addressing the diversity and inclusion challenges facing the sector and working out what the future of our industry looks like and taking steps to prepare for it.
This was brought home to me by two articles in the July / August issue of InPublishing magazine (being mailed out this week, reader registration here).
The first, by Alan Geere, looked at how it is academics, rather than front line publishers, that are doing the heavy lifting when it comes to imagining the future of news media and planning for it.
Indeed, it has to be academia where the original thinking is done because you can’t expect publishers to do it – they haven’t got the time.
Alan quotes Ian Wylie of the Civic Journalism Lab at Newcastle University in reflecting the view from the newsroom: “We need to get tomorrow’s paper out. That’s all we care about. We say, oh, next week we’ll look at that, or next week we’ll try to do a bit of training, or really, next month we ought to sit down and think about what we’re going to do in five years’ time. But we never do it because there’s always a page to fill. There’s always a story to write.”
The second article is a Ciar Byrne interview with Ridhi Radia, head of equality, diversity and inclusion at Immediate Media. Ridhi has developed a successful multipronged approach to ED&I that helped Immediate win ‘Employer of the Year’ at this summer’s PPA Awards. The initiatives include, setting up and empowering seven network groups (for example, ‘IM Proud’ and ‘IM Woman’), setting up a programme of education and training, encouraging editorial initiatives to make sure content is more reflective of society, and work centred around making recruitment a more equitable process.
Ridhi clearly has a passion for the task at hand, but without being given the responsibility and time to do it by Immediate, such progress would have been impossible to achieve.
If you want something doing, you need to make it part of someone’s job and give them the time and space to do it.
You can catch James Evelegh’s regular column in the InPubWeekly newsletter, which you can register to receive here.