Metaphors: Bill Clinton, Julius Caesar and Mothra

Janet Coats’ Changes at TBD show Godzilla just keeps winning

Apologies for blockquoting 50 percent of the original post, but there were so many media metaphors I couldn’t help it. — Nick

Bill Clinton

I don’t envy the folks at, especially those in leadership positions.

I’ve been in that awkward position of trying to balance my journalistic obligation to truth-telling with my fiduciary responsibilities as a company manager. Even when you hew strictly to the facts in those situations, the nuance comes out as a painful parsing. You feel like Bill Clinton, clinging to the definition of “is’’ as your last line of defense.

Julius Caesar

Take it from those of us who’ve been on the front line of that culture war: Old media won. While TBD the Product may survive for a while, TBD the Culture is as dead as Julius Caesar.

Mating Godzilla and Mothra

A decade ago, when I was about the business of trying to integrate print and television newsrooms, I kept saying that the effort was a lot like trying to get Godzilla and Mothra to mate. These two beasts just weren’t destined to come together and form a common culture. The best you could hope for was cooperation.

An immune system

I think we can claim some very limited success at shifting the culture in those hybrid print/television/online newsrooms in Sarasota and Tampa. But the truth is that every time we started to push the organization around the next turn, those powerful legacy media cultures fought back. Triggered like an immune system, the impulse to timidity would kick in. And usually, we’d actually lose a little ground in the process.

Fragile shoots

So the green shoots get stepped on and ground out. And the leadership keeps clinging to models that creak and groan and show every sign of giving out.

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