Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Done for whose sake and to what end

The word "Mission" came up during the Dead Trees workshop. How it was important for a publication to be Mission driven.
Cause, y'know publishing is no walk in the park. And some days, you ask yourself why you do it.

Do you run a newspaper to serve your mission or for the sake of putting out a newspaper?

The way certain news agencies answer this question might actually explain why some of the mainstream press looks more like entertainment and less like news these days. They have ceased to be about anything besides staying in business. Which means attracting attention to sell ads and make money. Thus excessive coverage of Britney Spears' shaved head.

The word "Community" came up. The point was made that "the ethnic press" covers issues relevant to immigrant communities all over the country. In this case the "ethnic press" might have more to do with whether you speak english and how long you and yours have been in the States ... not just about the color of your skin.

Do you run a newspaper that supports, reflects, and meets the needs of a community?

The word "Institution" came up. Do you support, serve, and protect an institution because it exists and has stability or do you do so because of its mission, because of the vital role that it plays in a community?

It was here where someone expressed the sentiment that institutions only have a value, can only justify their existence in relation to a mission or a community (perhaps both.) And when they demonstrate an irrelevance to their target community or their mission is acheived, they should be disbanded.

Imagine if you were to take the word institution and replace it with the word "Corporation."

I wonder how many corporations essentially have outlived their usefulness but continue to carry on through collusion, corruption, bribery, through the application of power and money and influence gained by becoming a big nasty corporation.

Surely, if you have a goal and you achieve it, you'd want a round of high fives, a trip to Disney World, and a brief respite before picking up a new goal.

Why go out and try to snow everyone into helping you propagate your existance? (as a company or organization.)

If you pick a really big or impossible goal maybe you won't achieve it, you'll fight and fight to get there and then stop.
And give someone the opportunity to pick it up and continue.

A clever young man I know used to talk about how an organization ought to have the kind of structure where anyone could be put in charge and things would run smoothly - with the right structure and culture, authority could decentralize and devolve to its entire membership and everyone could get on with doing their collective thing.

How's that for living the dream?

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