2017 – Lucy Küng

emma Award 2017

Laudatory Speech by emma President Ulrike Rohn in Ghent, Belgium, on May 12, 2017:


The recipient of the 2017 emma Award is well known to everyone interested in the field of media management.

It is unlikely that there is a single course on media management at university level that does not have at least one of the recipient’s key writings on the compulsory reading list.

Ladies and Gentlemen, on behalf of the European Media Management Association, I am very happy to announce the 2017 recipient of the emma Award:


Lucy Küng

Lucy Küng is a central figure in the community of media management scholars. It is difficult to imagine where our scholarship would stand today without her.

Her main research interest lies in the strategic and organizational challenges posed by digital disruption, a topic of central interest and a defining one for our scholarship.

She is adept at simplifying complex situations and explains strategic theory and concepts both with insight and clarity. She is a clear analytical thinker, whose accessible writings have helped so many scholars, educators, and industry actors better understand processes of change and current challenges that need to be addressed.

Her award-winning book, Strategic Management in the Media: Theory to Practice, is widely used as a textbook in media management education and serves as an invaluable introduction to the field for many students around the world. An updated second edition was published earlier this year.

Other books through which she has significantly contributed to our scholarship include Innovators in the Digital News(2015); The Internet and the Mass Media (2008, co-edited with Robert Picard and Ruth Towse); When Innovations Fail to Disrupt, the Case of BBC News Online (2007); and Inside the BBC and CNN – Managing Media Organisations (2000).

Lucy Küng not only significantly contributes to our scholarship by writing about topics that are central to the management of media, she also is one of the key scholars reflecting and writing about media management as an area of academic study. In 2007, she published an article in the Journal of Media Business Studies in which she asked: Does media management matter? With this, she kicked off a much-needed discussion about the identity of our scholarship. Many others then joined her in this reflection asking: Who are we? What do we need to do to improve? That this self-reflection has not come to an end is a topic she addressed in an article last year in the same journal: Why is media management so difficult – and what can scholars do to overcome the field’s intrinsic challenges?

Lucy Küng holds up a mirror to us: She encourages us to become better, and she helps us to set priorities.

In particular, she encourages us to engage more in dialogue with the industry. Industry representatives are usually much more in touch with the latest developments than academics. A dialogue will help detect crucial research questions and ensure our relevance and the reliability of the research findings.

Lucy Küng herself excels in bridging these worlds – academia and the industry. She is an advisor on strategy, innovation, and leadership to media organizations worldwide, including the BBC and Ericsson. She is a member of the SRG, the Swiss public broadcaster, and she is on the content advisory board of the NZZ Media group. She also has extensive experience in the publishing industry and for many years served as Publishing Director at Random House in the UK.

Her firsthand knowledge of the industry’s challenges enrich her writings and keynotes with relevant data and insight – something both academia and industry benefit from.

Last year, Lucy Küng became the first Google Digital News Senior Research Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University, where she had been a visiting fellow before. Her appointment there has created new understanding of how leadership influences digital strategy and change and the lack thereof.

Since 2015, Lucy Küng also serves as a Visiting Professor of Media Innovation at the University of Oslo in Norway. Before this, she was Professor of Media Economics and Media Management at the Media Management and Transformation Centre in Jönköping, Sweden. And prior to that, she was Professor at the Institute for Media and Entertainment in New York.

Lucy Küng has contributed significantly not only to our scholarship in general, but also to our association in particular. She herself was President of emma between 2008 and 2010. During this period she successfully contributed to the development of emma as the leading academic association of media management scholars. Under her presidency, the growth of this relatively young association really took off.

Lucy Küng is a truly international citizen. Born in the UK, she holds an MBA from Cass Business School / Ashridge in the UK as well as a PhD and a Habilitation from the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland. She is based in Switzerland, but her expertise and work span many geographic regions. Lucy frequently delivers keynotes at international conferences and guest lectures to senior executives, MBAs, and MA students around the world.

This year’s recipient of the emma Award goes to someone who has a unique ability to bridge academic life with practice and to connect critical emerging insights from research with business practices worldwide. Someone who matters profoundly to our field.


Ulrike Rohn
emma President