Anna Kirah: Every news org CEO needs a mentor aged 18-22 (audio)

Last week at the WAN-IFRA ‘Managing the Crisis’ conference, Anna Kirah, design anthropologist and vice-president of CPH Design, argued that reader/user habit surveys were useless (unsurprisingly, she advocated an ethnographic approach) and suggested that every newspaper exec get themselves a young mentor, aged 18-22…

Here she is talking to

“I think we are living in a revolution gap; it’s not a generation gap. We’ve always had generation gaps where the older people think differently from the younger people and there are all sorts of tensions there.

“This is a revolution gap: it’s between the industrial revolution way of thinking, and a new way of thinking that has developed through interconnectivity.

“Whether we call them the net generation, or digital natives, or Gen Y, it doesn’t matter. But these people think differently, act differently, behave differently, experience the world in completely different ways and newspapers have taken far too long to realise the potential there.

“I think the best way to do that as a CEO is hiring a mentor who is between the ages of 18 and 22, who sits with them and explains what they are doing.

“It will require the CEO to be humble and not put value judgement on it. But learn what the excitement is about; what it gives to these people. What it gives them has filtered into other generations now.”

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