Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Diverse panel and audience agree: 'It's still about the audience'

The panellists and the audience of the inaugural Journalism Leaders Forum could not have been much more diverse.

But they all agreed on one point.

Perhaps the greatest question journalism leaders should be asking in the 21st Century is simply this: How are audiences best served?

That should still be the key concern whether journalism leaders are tackling the challenges of reporting and disseminating news under an oppressive political regime, such as Wilf Mbanga of The Zimbabwean is. Or straining under the relentless demands of profit-hungry shareholders, which pressurises regional newspaper editors such as UK Society President Keith Sutton. Or grappling with the uncertainties of making journalism in a context of technological-savvy audiences, which concerns Mary Glick and others at the American Press Institute in Virginia, UK.

You can watch an edited version of the lively discussion here.

Want to know even more? Check out Journalism Leaders Programme course leader François Nel’s in-depth interview with Wilf Mbanga. The first in a series of 'Conversations with Journalism Leaders' is available for viewing* here [recommended for broadband connections] and here [recommended for dial-up connections].

Amongst the questions Mbanga answers is this: Why, as the then-head of the Zimbabwe International News Agency, did he not report on the 1980s massacre of tens of thousands of civilians by President Robert Mugabe's North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade?

Of course, don’t hesitate to post your comments on this blog, too.

Mark your calendar : The next Journalism Leaders Forum at 6:30pm GMT on Tuesday, 31 January 2006, will be chaired by Nigel Kay, who has been a BBC journalist for more than 30 years. When he left the corporation in October 2005 he was the professional line manager for 3000 television, radio and online journalists working in the BBC’s Nations and Regions. We hope you can join us in Preston, or online.

* These videos require RealPlayer software, which can be downloaded for free here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Which questions should we be asking?

There has been much talk of late about crises in the media. Crises of trust. Crises of competence. Crises of confidence. And, as may be expected, there has also been a great deal said about what the solutions are.

But, perhaps, those concerned about the state and future of journalism would do well to pause and consider the advice of management sage Peter Drucker: In the 20th century, great leaders gave great answers. In the 21st century, however, great leaders will ask great questions.

If that is so, what are the great questions that journalism leaders should be asking?

That is the question we will explore during the first Journalism Leaders Forum, 7-9pm British Summer Time (GMT+1) on Tuesday, 11 October 2005, in Greenbank Auditorium, Lancashire Business School, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK.

Keith Sutton (far left), president of the UK Society of Editors, Mary Glick, associate director of the American Press Institute, and Wilf Mbanga (above right), editor of The Zimbabwean, are amongst those on the panel. François Nel, course leader for the Journalism Leaders Programme, will chair the session.

To attend this free programme on the day - as well as the reception from 6:30p - please RSVP to . If you can't be there in person, there are other ways to join the discussion. You can post your questions and comments on this site, or you can view the live Webcast at:

Better still, do both. And let's get the discussion going.