Thursday, 30 October 2008

The Resignation of Lesley Douglas

The resignation of Lesley Douglas is a salutary warning to any manager about the real power and social influence of the 21st century digitally connected social media.

The surge of complaints that surrounded the Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross saga reminded me of the speed at which a news story can be Dugg or Stumbled. Opinions can be expressed and posted at the speed of light, and a digital lynching party can be called together in a moment.

In the past we would have heard the story and muttered displeasure over breakfast left it at that. Today sitting in front of TV wirelessly connected to your laptop the opportunity to 'fire' off a retort is very very easy.

It seems that people are focussing on the 'systems' and 'checks' which create an endemic and misplaced concern with bureaucracy in the Beeb. Lesley Douglas has resigned because of her gullibility and over reliance on 'remote control' management rather than managing live productions in the moment and actively participating in what is broadcast. It also reveals the complete lack of realisation and attention that is paid to the fully integrated nature of today's media by the broadcaster. This is a strategic lack of senior BBC management.

I agree entirely with the recent sentiments of Steve Hewlett who says active management of talent and smart editorial judgements is the name of the game, NOT stultifying creativity by introducing more bureaucracy and pandering to appartatchiks.

Lesley had to go. Jonathan was let down.

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