Don’t experiment with Graphic MD post – Prof. Omane-Antwi
A new Board of Directors for the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), was on Monday inaugurated with a call on the National Media Commission to appoint a visionary and strategist to lead the company as its Managing Director.
The immediate past Board Chairman of GCGL, Prof. Omane Antwi who proffered the advice as his humble appeal, said it would be dangerous for the appointing authority to experiment with the position especially in this uncertain era of newspaper publishing.
“Graphic Communications Group needs strong leadership. Someone with vision and strategic intelligence to succeed and achieve, an achiever willing to take calculated risks, a person with an enlightened stewardship character, one that values authentic journalism, believes in public service, and above all understands technology and can drive technology. In fact, Graphic Communications Group MD should be a strategic thinker, action-oriented, an achiever who knows and understand business, period!”
Mr Kenneth Ashigbey, the current MD, steps down at the end of October following his resignation.
The Chairman of the NMC, Mr Kwesi Gyan-Appenteng, readily indicated that the Commission would be guided by the outgoing Board Chairman’s prescriptions when it advertises the vacancy.
Prof. Omane Antwi pointed out that in spite of GCGL’s great performance, it faces threats from so many industry indicators, including non-payment of subscriptions and advertisements by state institutions, declining circulation owing to poor reading culture in Ghana, the challenge of new media, increasing press and circulation costs, lack of community engagement and inaccurate media reportage.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, traditional mainstream media organizations like Graphic Communications Group are indeed under threat and may not survive and thrive in the face of digital revolution unless we act and become innovative and creative. It is vividly clear that the Group would need multiple revenue sources to survive”, he said.
On behalf of the outgoing board, Prof. Omane Antwi recommended that the new board take on and sustain a number of ongoing strategic initiatives, including an aggressive digital media strategy with strong engagement of the youth and aggressive diversification of strategy and new business models.
He also cautioned against calls for state-owned media organisations to focus solely on their core mandate, saying while it sounds good and perfect, it is unprofitable and should be considered only if the national media will have support from government.
“Remember that paper is expensive and every square inch of the paper, if it is not filled wholly by the highest and the best uses, such as authentic journalism and adverts for money, I am afraid publication of the paper will grind to a halt. Again, if we do not diversify advertising dependent revenue portfolio by diversification of the lines of business, the publication is likely to suffer. Graphic Communications Group will have to stay in business, and in this connection, I will like to share with the incoming board the following crusades (in) which they have to play a core role";
• Encourage long-standing association of Graphic Communications Group with high quality information, i.e. the reputation for delivering credible and accurate information that would attract major consumers – the rebirth of original journalism which is bolder in their coverage of news and always seeking truth and balance; journalists that are arbiters of truth who want to produce measured and thoughtful news coverage
• Reward investigative and analytical journalism that offer unique content which are found to be the key to long-term survival of the newspaper industry
• Graphic main website to cater for completely, the interest of the young ones, to feed them with completely new set of values, news that is important to their age group
• Continue to push for the hybrid of the newspaper print and online presence providing most of the volume of content that serves the youth. Can you imagine a media company without a mobile-first strategy or no presence online or no social media platforms? And finally,
• Leverage on technology.