The Front Lines of Media Change

Working closely with the media every day at Tanner Friedman, we have a front row view of the changes rapidly affecting news organizations. One trend that is abundantly clear heading into 2008 – good people are embroiled in tough situations.

Two of those people are out of jobs as of this posting. These are two well-respected professionals we know well. And both are symptomatic of the environments inside media companies that are filled with more pressure than ever before.

Steve Wasserman is now out as General Manager of Detroit’s NBC affiliate WDIV-TV (where I once worked as a news producer). Former Detroit Free Press Publisher Carole Leigh Hutton is now no longer the person in charge of transforming the daily newspaper of Silicon Valley. Both “resigned” on Friday. The quotation marks are there because we don’t yet know what specifically happened.

But, here’s the summary that we can say with certainty… revenues for tradtional platforms are plunging. New ideas for revenue streams can’t keep up fast enough. Corporate ownership is running out of patience. Even the best professionals are running out of money-making ideas. No end is in sight.

In this time of unprecedented change and uncertainty, once thing we’ll be seeing more of is this trend of respected, experienced professionals unable to survive their jobs because of the seemingly impossible feats required to “save” traditional media or even transform it quickly enough.