Lack of journalistic talent in magazine business emerged as a huge challenge during the discussions of the final session of day two of the Indian Magazine Congress (IMC) 2007, underway in Mumbai. The panelists were of the opinion that since the magazine business was more content driven, there was need to attract superior journalistic talent.
While discussing on ‘The Magazine Professional - Who they are and how we need to prepare’, panelists unanimously agreed that there was a lacunae so far as magazine journalists were concerned.
Mahendra Swaroop, CEO of Paprika Media, said, “It all depends on how the industry creates an environment to attract skill sets. The young want to associate with an industry that is growing and as publishers we need to be ambassadors of the industry, portraying a positive image. While the HR’s role also plays an important role to create such an environment, the promoters also need to show that they are passionate about the whole affair. That is how young talents see the business today.”
Avdesh Mittal of Heidrick and Struggles said that talent followed leadership, and young talent today wanted to join leaders and learn from them. “There is a new war for talent and innovation and talent spawning new initiatives. The key differentiator in the industry by 2020 would be this talent pool,” he said.
Another issue that was discussed at length was whether to track and retain talent that could put the effort and energy and make a difference, or those that were with defined skill sets. To this Ashish Bagga, CEO, Living Media India, said, “To go for potential or for people putting efforts doesn’t make much of a difference. We look for leadership skills and a mix of effort and potential. Few years ago, the industry was not so much open to this idea, but now the case is different. We need a right blend of experience as well as news sense.”
The challenge is to get content specific talent as magazines are getting customised. Each media house has to have a strong culture. The situation can be handled with efforts like reaching out to the talent pool right at the college level. “There should be internship and training programmes at the journalism school level. The fresh talents should be groomed accordingly,” added Swaroop.