Principles for responsible media moguls
If you run a media company (and you do--you publish regularly on all sorts of social media, don't you?) then it's worth two minutes to consider some basic groundrules, listed here for you to embrace or reject:
- Establish your standard for truth, and don't vary it. Are you okay reporting rumor or innuendo in order to get attention? How about rushing to judgment so you can beat everyone else to the punch? People will put up with a lot as long as you don't become inconsistent.
- What's your content to noise ratio? Will you choose to fill 'air time' by vamping, interviewing irrelevant passers by and generally wasting minutes merely because you have minutes or paper or bits to spare? (I heard a podcast last week that took 14 minutes to get a fifteen-second point across).
- How will you honor, protect or expose those that give you money? Do your bosses, advertisers and customers benefit or suffer because of their relationship with you?
- Will you amplify fear? If your readers eat it up, will you make more of it?
- How often are you comfortable saying, "ditto"?
- Will you raise the bar or lower it? If a crank yells "fire" in the crowded moviehouse, will you loudly report that there might just be a fire, will you ignore the troll or will you call him out and push us back to some standard of normalcy?
- Is it more important to you to have ever more readers/watchers, or would you prefer to have a deeper interaction with those you've already got? Hard to do both at the same time.
- Is your work designed to stand the test of time, or is it only for right here and right now?
- Who, precisely, are you trying to please? They don't offer a Pulitzer for most of what we do, so if not the judges, then who?
- When you get to the point where you're merely saying it because it's your job or because it's expected, will you stop?