Columbia Journalism Review

Wicked Problem: Sinclair Broadcasting and the high price of innovation

[Commentary] University of California-Berkeley's Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber coined the term “wicked problem” to refer to problems that had reached a level of complexity that made them impossible to define, let alone solve. Every solution to a wicked problem is a one-shot operation: There are no second chances, because any change you make will have affected the whole system. The story of Sinclair’s rise from local TV station to major propaganda machine is a case study in Rittel and Webber’s “one-shot operation” warning.