Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

The Gandhi Proposition

Be the change you want to see in your industry
Try new strategies at whatever your level and innovate new solutions to current problems, you will set an example for others, not only at your paper, but the entire industry.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

These famous words from Mahatma Gandhi, although not intended for newspapers, hold water when we apply them to the current state of the industry. Gandhi’s statement places responsibility on the individual to decide between right and wrong, and encourages one to unsubscribe from the status quo and to begin redefining the norm for the better. No, the newspaper industry is not facing tyranny under an oppressive dictator, and the last time I checked, a hunger strike is an unnecessary action for this situation. However, this industry is facing fierce competition from multiple sources, and although not for lack of trying, it has been unsuccessful in meeting the opposition head on.

How do we use Gandhi’s words and intentions to help better the newspaper industry’s chance of survival? Well, like this famous quote, it all points to you. You must change for the better; you must redefine your practices so that they do the most for the industry; and you must not sit back and wait for the next order from the top.

What does this mean for you and the industry? It means that if you change for the better — try new strategies at whatever your level and innovate new solutions to current problems — you will set an example for others, not only at your paper, but the entire industry.

Yes, there’s a lot to do. How do you start becoming the change that you want to see in the industry? Here are a couple of ideas:

Fill holes in advertisers

Is there a client that everyone else has had a hard time selling? Or is there a potential client or even old client that nobody has contacted in a while? Call them. Pay them a visit. Do something to show that advertiser you are still interested in them and that you haven’t forgotten about them.

Be kind

I know this sounds a little soft, but likability is a strong characteristic in this industry. Kindness will go a long way, not just with your clients, but with everybody. Have you ever felt that you should be very nice to food servers because they handle your food? We should apply this rule to everybody, not just the people who can give you a “sneeze-wich.”

If you have an idea, speak up

So you aren’t in a position to make big decisions, speak your mind anyway. Even if your peers don’t think your idea is worth its salt, tell your superiors, or go higher. The point is to make sure you get heard, because your ideas matter, wherever you sit on the company ladder. In fact, sometimes the best ideas are ones that are “think outside the box” so to speak. The newspaper industry has some indoctrinated ideas and practices, so if you have something fresh to say, don’t be scared. Say it.

Do it

It is much easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission. For the big stuff, you might want to get it cleared with your supervisor, but for many smaller things, take the initiative to find out the best way to get things done on your own and do them. You will not only solve a problem, but will look like a risk taker that is proactive and gets results.