NEWS published on 06 Feb 2014

EBU to annualize WEM forum for media’s leading women

An EBU networking forum for the media world’s leading women executives is to become an annual fixture after the inaugural summit was declared a runaway success.

Hosted by EBU Director General Ingrid Deltenre and organized by the EBU’s professional training unit, Eurovision ACADEMY, the first EBU Women Executives in the Media (WEM) summit took place in Brussels on Wednesday (5 February).

Around 30 senior executives attended the meeting, from EBU Members such as the BBC (UK), RTVE (Spain) and SVT (Sweden), to commercial broadcaster Mediaset (Italy) and EGTA, the trade association for audiovisual advertisers.

In offering some welcoming remarks, Cilla Benkö, who is both Director General of Swedish Radio and a member of the EBU Executive Board, said gender was irrelevant to assessing a manager's performance.

"A good manager is built on personality,” she said. “There is no female or male leadership; just good leadership or bad leadership."

She added: “Of course there are differences between men and women, but the important thing is that women are paid the same for doing the same job as men.”

Moderating the discussions was French political journalist Michèle Cotta, who was formerly president of Radio France, director general of France 2 and news director at TF1.

Contemplating the question “Is there a future for quality journalism?” she asserted that the role of journalists was growing more important.

“While there is a clear decline in the written press, social networks pose a real problem for the truth,” she said, adding: “People who were previously not so interested in news are now forever bent over their phones to get at the flow of information. The existence of journalists is even more necessary now to classify that information, and this classification can only come from editors and journalists.”

In tandem with the WEM initiative, the EBU has launched a LinkedIn group for participants to move the discussion forward and maintain regular contact.

The first WEM took place at the EBU’s Brussels offices, but future editions will be hosted by EBU Members, after various participants offered to stage the next meeting.