Nice profile of Abby Phillip in the NYTimes. It doesn’t take audiences very long to realize she is bright with a brighter future ahead of her.
Diversity & Inclusion…
There isn’t much to add to the NYT article and ensuing observations, but I did want to touch on one thing from management’s perspective. I would say most people in an organization support diversity and understand that without an inclusive mindset, it’s hard to showcase and spotlight new voices and faces. But feeling that way is really just half the equation, the bigger, tougher decisions require pulling a new seat at the table, making the delicate decision to tell someone that they have to give up their seat. This was CNN’s coverage desk in 2016:
This was it in 2020. Spot a difference?
Hypothetically speaking: as the CEO of a company, I wouldn’t ask someone from a privileged group to give up their seat to someone overlooked. I also don’t expect anyone to volunteer to give up their seat – despite their good intentions when they embrace such movements. I think the onus is on management to create more seats, build more desks, and so on. Of course, in a streaming universe, you can always “create more seats” by way of new shows, new channels, etc. But in linear – on TV – it’s a bit more complicated.
Here with CNN, someone has to make that tough decision. As I like to say, management is the creation of systems, processes, rules; leadership is knowing when to break that mould.
As side note, I like CNN’s Jake Tapper and I thought it was a very classy move for him to thank the team that was following the campaign trail. Yes, those roving gigs are great opportunities, but they’re also gruelling in normal times when they take you away from your family; covering a candidate during a pandemic requires a whole other level of dedication, sacrifice and professionalism.