As you might expect, it elicited some pretty strong responses in the comments from a number of readers, with many pointing out that this might not have been the most considerate way to make the point.
I understand the sentiments of those who believe I was too harsh, but I don’t agree. I wrote the column because I really care about TV advertising and the amazing people I know who work in the industry. Just as I cared about those who worked in newspapers, the industry where I worked 25 years ago, and which has seen better days.
I believe that people need to confront impending realities no matter how scary they are. People need to prepare for an inevitable future that they often cannot control, but must adapt to if they want to stay in the same field.
In fact, what should be comforting to folks who work in TV advertising is that there is a pretty clear path forward — for those who want to take it.
The world of the TV ad business is changing because all advertising and marketing is becoming increasingly digital, data-driven and software-managed.People with skills in those areas are in demand. The number of open jobs far exceeds qualified applicants. Just look at postings on LinkedIn.
That’s not the case for people with legacy media channel skills. For sure, it’s not easy to learn digital skills. It takes an open mind and hard work. But the quality, diversity and affordability of educational resources in these areas is extraordinary, whether someone wants to learn on a service like Skillshare, take a class from the Interactive Advertising Bureau, get an online degree from a community college or just read books on these subjects.
No one who truly wants to grow their knowledge and skills in digital communications, data analytics, decision systems, artificial intelligence, software development or product management can blame a lack of resources.
Why do I care? Like so many of you, I’ve seen this movie before. Too few in the newspaper business acted fast enough, and too many found themselves laid off and out of a job without a plan or appropriate preparation.
Even closer to home, but further in my past, I grew up in a small coal town in western Pennsylvania where so few of those working in the coal, steel or in heavy manufacturing in the 1970s were able to proactively retrain for new jobs before the mines, furnaces and factories closed. A generation and a half were lost — and all because they held onto unwarranted hope and a lack of the kinds of educational and retraining resources available today.
What do you think?