Media viability is an important yet underestimated part of media development. Daniel Blank, DW Akademie’s Country Representative in Ghana, shares his suggestions on how to promote viable media.
1) The question of the financial viability of media outlets should be an integral part of each and every media development activity and should be taken into consideration right at the beginning of the project.
2) Media development organisations should work together with their local partners to develop a strategy to secure financial security for the time after governmental or sponsor support comes to an end.
3) Media development agencies should be concerned not only about high-level management training, but also about training marketing and sales employees at the middle and lower levels of media houses.
4) Marketing and sales work in media houses should be acknowledged as vital for every media outlet. In Germany, for example, this function is an officially recognized profession that is also certified by the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
5) Marketing and sales employees in crisis regions ought to be trained, just as journalists, in being sensitized to the conflict so as to maintain the financial independence of their media ventures.
6) Marketing and sales staff in media houses must assure that revenue from marketing and sales activities are used to ensure journalists’ financial safety and independence.
7) Journalists should also have a better understanding of the work and problems that their colleagues in marketing and sales departments are facing. After all, both sides depend on each other.
8) Workshops on media financing and business development can be an entry point into new countries where journalist training is not yet possible.
9) Media development organisations should also support the creation of an independent advertising council that can hear the complaints of media consumers.
10) The creation of independent audit boards of circulation and reach would enable media ventures to prepare sound media kits that satisfy the growing demands of professional advertisers.
Daniel Blank is DW Akademie’s Country Representative for Ghana.