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Strategic alliance between Communications and Education

November 15, 2010

Strategic alliance between Communications and Education Strategic alliance between Communications and Education Strategic alliance between Communications and Education

NYC School Chancellor, resigning to become executive VP of News Corporation, is replaced by chairwoman of Hearst Magazines. Why are Mass Media Communication and Education worlds exchanging managers and why should we care?


Last week the news became official, one of the most important school districts in the United States and one which has rapidly turned into what the Obama administration hails as a national model will be switching managers. Joel I. Klein is resigning as the New York City School Chancellor to become an executive vice president of Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate- News Corporation. He is being replaced by Catheleen P. Black currently chairwoman of Hearst Magazines which publishes Esquire, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen and Good Housekeeping among other titles.

At first sight, this type of bureaucratic news might not strike you as having a great deal of interest. Or it might even strike you as a scheming political move. Yet, leaving politics aside, we here at MG-i think of it as food for thought and would like to take a few minutes to analyze it. As we see it, communication is an important tool to educate, and through education we are able to efficiently communicate. To us these two fields are vastly interconnected.
So what is the strategic importance of this management exchange for the future of education?

Well, here we have the mayor of New York City who is looking for and betting on someone with experience in the vast and powerful world of media communications to guide what will be a “model” system of education for the next decade, as Mr. Bloomberg puts it: “a superstar manager who has succeeded spectacularly in the private sector...There’s no one who knows more about the skills our children will need to succeed in the 21st century economy.” On the other side we have the biggest and probably most important media conglomerate in the world who is looking for and betting on someone with an education background to guide important corporate decisions and develop strategy to put them in the education marketplace.

Let’s take a closer look. There is no doubt today's students are increasingly media savvy at an exponential rate. Not only do they eat up media content at a vertiginous pace, they chew, swallow, digest and then regurgitate it to create new content at an almost unconscious level. For someone who has grown up and is constantly surrounded with media content in all of its shapes and forms, it's only natural. Being able to manage this information obtained through varying and transferable types of media will be one of the most important tools for education in the next decade.

In the marketing world, a business has to know where their customers are and what they are doing. In the education system, educators also have to know where their “customers” (students) are and what they are doing. They have to be able to create engagement, not lag behind and most importantly, co-create tools that will facilitate the improvement of culture and education.

More than ever media communication is shaping the cultural atmosphere we live in and thus influencing the future of education. Communication tools hand in hand with educators can facilitate the creation of elements such as interactive-learning games or the participation of students in the creation of content and knowledge.
The idea that collaboration and co-creation can exist between the communication and education worlds, the way that collaboration and co-creation with the consumer is reviving the marketing world, has the possibility to lead the evolution of a more efficient educational system as well as more socially responsible media content.