In case you missed it, I recommend reading Ron Nixon's story about the new the Chief Executive Officer for the Broadcasting Board of Governors in The New York Times.
While he is not as well known as Mr. Lack, members of the board of governors say Mr. Lansing is the right choice to lead the agency, which has struggled to find its footing in a changing media environment. Former staff members and members of Congress have criticized the agency for failing to counter the propaganda of countries like Russia and stateless actors such as the Islamic State.
The criticism is unfair and mired primarily in the past, fails to recognize the changes that have taken place over the past nearly two years, and the time it takes to break down and get beyond the organizational and cultural stove pipes baked into the agency over decades, especially the past fifteen years. Further, there are challenges any federal agency faces that set criteria and restraints on availability and allocation of funds, challenges that are ignored by most of the critics, especially those that are the most vociferous.
The agency needs a manager to not just 'find its footing', but to continue the move ahead, to help redefine the purpose and value of the agency in today's information environment. Today's information flows are getting more restricted and when they are free moving, they are increasingly cluttered. The audiences the BBG serves operates in generally do not have freedom nor democracy nor do they have functional media. The regimes that dominate these markets are becoming more media savvy as they pass laws to quash the freedom to speak and to listen. These regimes threaten or kill those who exercise those universal rights while also flooding the market with lies and distortions. The importance of the BBG's unique mission -- unlike any other broadcaster and without peer -- is greater now than it has been for fifty years.
Despite the attacks and rehash of issues from years past that deliberately ignore the past nearly two years, the agency has moved forward considerably. Acting CEO Andre Mendes has done a tremendous job in exercising creativity and vigor in conceiving and implementing plans getting at the problems to reinvigorate the agency. He has received little outside recognition for his talent and effectiveness. There is more to be done and John is the right person for the years ahead.
I personally, like all of my colleagues on the Board, are excited by what lays ahead and look forward to working with John.
The BBG's announcement is here.