Rapid-Round Congress Q&A: Charlotte Ricca

It isn’t just media companies that have had to negotiate the constant treadmill of innovation and reinvention of recent years. Journalists have also had to evolve too.

Charlotte Ricca, who hosts the FIPP Media Unscripted podcast and who will be a key interviewer at FIPP Congress in June, attributes her long media career to being able to spot trends and to respond quickly to them.

She is fascinated by the emergence of the creator economy, where fellow journalists have taken their skills into new platforms such as email, newsletters, video and podcasting.

Charlotte also works as a performance psychologist aiding those in leadership positions in the media to understand their workforce and to work out more efficient and effective ways of managing them.

In this interview Charlotte talks about:

  • How changing attitudes in the workplace have propelled issues like psychological safety to the fore.
  • Why media companies need to adopt a new approach to diversity and inclusion

At FIPP World Media Congress in Cascais, Portugal, on 6-8 June, Charlotte will be one of the event’s presenters, exploring themes that both she and her guests are passionate about.

For specially discounted tickets click here.

Here Charlotte responds to our three rapid-round questions.

Who are you? And what is your role in the media/publishing?

My name is Charlotte Ricca and I am the presenter/producer of FIPP’s Media Unscripted podcast, which takes an up-close and personal look at leaders and disruptors in media and publishing.

What have been the highlights of your career in media/publishing so far?

Honestly? My greatest success? Still working in publishing, after nearly 30 years as a freelance content creator and consultant. Being successful in the media is all about being resilient, nimble, innovative, brave and driven. I have consistently reinvented myself as the industry has evolved, to ensure I am not only embracing the latest trends, but often one step ahead.

This was how I first got into podcasting. I realised this new medium was an exciting opportunity for media brands to engage with their audience.

Another career highlight – and the catalyst for Media Unscripted – was FIPP Congress 2020. With most of the world in lockdown all content was created online. The month-long virtual event opened up new opportunities for interesting interviews, with media experts from all around the globe. Speaking from the comfort of their own home, enabled frank and open conversations, revealing a different side to the corporate and often closed world of publishing.

Congress 2020 also led to another direction in my career and a new string to my bow. One of the key themes of Congress was innovation in leadership, which was particularly important during the pandemic. And it remains a key factor in surviving the ongoing challenging climate. But what makes a good leader? I decided to find out. I have since taken two masters in psychology and am now a performance psychologist, specialising in leadership and team identity.

What do you see as the three key trends in the media?

  • Rise of the creator economy: With the boom in newsletters, podcasts and platforms, such as Substack, creator-led media is the fastest-growing type of small business in publishing. Creators are gaining power as fans seek to connect with individual personalities rather than faceless publishers. This is disrupting traditional publishing, by putting more power and revenue in the hands of content creators. The solution is to work with these innovative creators, rather than against them. By decentralising their R&D and content production, publishers can tap into this new revenue stream and meet the demand for authentic, autonomous content, while giving content creators the business support they need to scale.
  • A new approach to diversity and inclusion: To achieve real DE&I publishers need to do much more than diversify their talent pool, in order to tick boxes. It’s about the psychology of diversity and inclusion. And this means creating inclusive mindsets – from the top down. An inclusive mindset is the ability to be curious about people and not to make assumptions because if you allow stereotypes to dominate your responses you miss people’s full potential. You also miss the opportunity to truly engage with your audience.Practising ways to operate from this mindset is crucial for all aspects of publishing, from creating content to writing company policies, which support diversity and inclusion. Bringing more intrinsically inclusive people into leadership positions has the potential to transform our workplaces, our content and our society.
  • Creating psychological safety in the workplace: Psychological safety is when an individual believes they won’t be punished or humiliated for asking questions, voicing concerns or making mistakes. Does this sound like a newsroom or pressurised publishing environment? No. But times have changed. Thank God. With the rise of the millennial, comes new demands and expectations in the workplace in terms of mental and emotional well-being. They are less concerned with hierarchy and more concerned with autonomy and authenticity. Psychological safety has also been shown to play a key role in mediating the performance of teams, by creating a safe communication climate that can help strengthen social ties. And healthy social ties reduce stress and promote mental well-being. In the current post-Covid climate of hybrid working, creating an effective, engaged team is more challenging than ever. As a result, psychological safety has never been more important. Creating a psychologically safe environment has been empirically proven to enhance job satisfaction and team performance, while reducing the risk of burnout. This could be the answer to your talent retention nightmares.

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About Congress

The FIPP World Media Congress is a must-attend event for anyone in leadership positions in the media. Delegates can hear from an incredible range of media thought leaders and influencers while networking with their peers in the resort’s stunning venues and hotels.

For specially discounted tickets click here.


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