“There’s Nothing Like a Hanging in the Morning…”

February 12, 2010

Vivian SchillerIn a talk last year, Vivian Schiller, CEO of NPR, opened with a quote from Samuel Johnson that she believes captures some of the feelings in the journalism and media industry today, “There’s nothing like a hanging in the morning to clear a man’s thoughts.”

With a background in television (CNN & Discovery) and digital media (NYTimes.com), Schiller has a breadth of experience to talk about the uncertain future of media and journalism. In fact some of her insights could be applied to the management of any organization in these changing times.

At a lot of legacy media companies, there is a tradition from the past — you take months to develop a new idea or program…. If it’s a failure, you’ve taken up so much time to do it. What I learned at the New York Times is to be much more nimble — it’s a test-and-learn philosophy. If something doesn’t work — okay, we tried it, no big deal, get it off the site, move on.

As the executive who “killed” the TimesSelect and the head of NPR with its memebership donation model, Schiller is also at the forefront of the current debate on establishing micropayments or paywalls for news media sites. It’s no surprise where she stands so far, “My gut is, no, the micropayment system doesn’t make sense; on the other hand, I don’t have a solution for how to save newspapers.”

To hear Vivian Schiller speak at BRITE ’10, register now.

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