Why Mushroom Media?



We think there’s a lot to learn from the humble mushroom. They grow abundantly as an integral part of their ecosystem, never damaging the environment they grow in. Like humans and animals – but unlike plants – they can’t physically make their own food, so they rely on their habitat, thriving on waste products like dead wood. They are anarchic and swift, making unplanned appearances after a heavy flush of rain.

Mushroom Media has spent the last 20 years listening to media and content businesses. As independent publicists, we’ve helped numerous clients large and small to move those businesses onwards, upwards and outwards. One of the things we’ve learned on the way is that the relentless pursuit of growth for its own sake is unsustainable.

The media industry, like every other, has bought into the traditional view that people do not want, and don’t have the time, money or motivation to contribute to environmental or social change. But that’s yesterday’s philosophy.

It’s becoming clearer by the year that we can’t continue to consume human and natural resources at our present rate. In a world that’s changing at warp speed, where we now know about things the moment they happen — sometimes even before they happen, as with the consequences of climate change or extreme wealth inequality — there’s growing global awareness that sustainability is no longer an option but a necessity.

Sustainability can mean any number of things – greener production methods, better working conditions for staff, more equality, diversity and inclusion. But it doesn’t have to mean dropping the ball commercially, even for cash-strapped, time-poor media companies. In fact, the opposite is true.

Recent research* has revealed that around 20% of senior managers are psychopaths, motivated by a cocktail of money, power and influence. But that means that 80% of industry leaders are driven by other considerations — and in the media industries, the chances are it’s the pleasure and satisfaction of creation. We want to make beautiful films or powerful TV shows or thought-provoking art. We want to entertain, educate and inspire. We want — forgive the cliché — to make a difference.

James Featherby, chair of the Church of England Ethical Investment Advisory Group, summed it up perfectly when he wrote: “Sometimes we need to readjust our social architecture so that it better enables us to make habit patterns out of our good intentions.”

This has never been truer. The media industry’s very existence depends on creating ideas and delivering them to mass markets. That makes it — and all of us who work within it —uniquely positioned to change hearts, minds and habits.

So let’s start doing it differently. Together.

*Nathan Brooks & Katarina Fritzon (2016) - Psychopathic personality characteristics amongst high functioning populations, Crime Psychology Review, 2:1, 22-44, DOI: 10.1080/23744006.2016.1232537