BBC Director General Mark Thompson announces his big reorganization for “360-degree, multiplatform content creation,” dismantling walls between broadcast and digital. This is not at all unlike newspaper newsrooms merging with online newsrooms; the media doesn’t define the content anymore. “Much of what we call new media,” Thompson said, “is really present media.”
Note in this chart from the Guardian how future media and technology — Ashley Highfield’s domain — wraps around everything else. Note also how they are not separate blobs for journalism on TV and journalism online. It’s all journalism.
Here‘s how the BBC used to look.
This is a big cultural change for the BBC — and any media organization. Different tribes are being thrown in together and told they’d better get along to survive on the island. So Thompson lectures his staff:
I want to end with a different thought. New structures can be part of the answer but we know that – no matter how pretty they look on the chart! – they can never be a complete solution. Behaviours and values are vital too. Some of the biggest problems we face – the often poor and sometimes really bitter relationships between commissioning and in-house production for instance – are often blamed on structure but actually come down to the way we treat and respect each other and the extent to which we’re prepared to act as partners rather than rivals. In a converging 360 world, this isn’t just a question of being nice, it’s a question of survival. . . .
Now [if] this doesn’t sound like your kind of place, then it’s time for you to decide if the BBC is right for you. People – and I include senior managers and leaders in this – people who ignore the BBC Values and who would rather fight old battles or just sit on their hands won’t prosper anymore. They won’t get bonuses, they won’t get promoted, and if they won’t or can’t change their ways, we’ll ask them to go. Life’s too short and the challenges we face are too big for all of that.
Give that speech in every newspaper in America.
Note that Thompson’s reorganization tackles the inward network. I think the bigger challenge and opportunity is the outward network: the relationship with content and creators elsewhere.
I’m including this in the Guardian column I’m writing now; so more on this later.