This continues my series on advice for new Digital First editors.
One of an editor’s most important jobs is developing other leaders in your newsroom. A top editor should:
Understand your staff’s aspirations. Except at the largest newsrooms, an editor should take the time to learn what everyone on your staff wants from their careers. Not everyone wants to be an editor, but if someone wants to be an editor (and shows potential), you should know that and watch for opportunities to develop and show their leadership skills. On a bigger staff, you should know the aspirations of your mid-level editors, and perhaps a few other stars, and expect the mid-level managers to know the aspirations of their staffs. You can’t always control whether you hang onto your best people, but your odds are better if you know what they want from their careers and are helping them pursue those goals.
Provide opportunities. Weekend or holiday editing slots or late-night and early-morning shifts give some budding staff members their shots at running the show (as I did on Sundays as a young assistant city editor at the Des Moines Register). Give some authority (and some clear guidance) to potential leaders and see how they perform in these positions.
Know when to let others lead. Some big news stories require all hands on deck and require leadership from the top. But sometimes a top leader can show leadership by stepping back and letting the budding leaders lead. You put people in key leadership positions to do a particular job. Remember to let them do that job.
I remember hearing Libby Averyt, then the editor of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, describe her staff’s coverage of the big national story that broke in their back yard when Vice President Dick Cheney shot a hunting buddy in the face by accident. That broke on a weekend and Libby checked in by phone but resisted the urge to bigfoot the weekend editor by rushing in to run the show. If someone’s not getting the job done, you can often direct from home. Or you might need to come in if someone’s in over his head (then follow up with some coaching). Continue Reading »
Posted in Advice for new Digital First editors | Tagged Bob Moore, Brad McElhinny, Dave Witke, Frank Scandale, Greg Moore, Jim Brady, Jim McClure, John Paton, leadership, Libby Averyt, Matt DeRienzo, Michelle Karas, Nancy March, Nanya Friend, Robyn Tomlin, Sylvia Ulloa | Leave a Comment »
Martin Reynolds (in the doorway) shows off the News MoJo to Northern California Digital First colleagues.
This week I led engagement workshops at The Reporter in Vacaville, Calif., and at the Santa Cruz Sentinel for Digital First Media newsrooms in Northern California.
I’m posting the links and slides here for the benefit of people attending the workshops.
Martin Reynolds led sessions on Oakland Voices (particularly discussing a post by Adimu Madyun) and on the forums and workshops he leads for the Bay Area News Group, including forums on asthma, Trayvon Martin and diversity in San Mateo and a workshop on public records. Martin also showed the News MoJo van and discussed how it can help in community engagement and news coverage.
Lanz Christian Bañes led a session on photo engagement (assisted by Chris Riley in the Vacaville workshop), discussing their Our Town and Generation Snaps projects. (Watch for more on those projects soon on the Inside Thunderdome blog.)
Here are Lanz’s slides: Continue Reading »
Posted in community engagement | Tagged Chris Riley, engagement workshops, Jason Halley, Lanz Christian Bañes, liveblogging, Martin Reynolds, News MoJo, photo engagement, Tout, Travis Souders, Vern Fisher | Leave a Comment »
Winter holidays present ample engagement opportunities for newsrooms.
Let’s explore some of those opportunities in a contest.
For the next week or so, I’m going to collect nominations from Digital First newsrooms, explaining your engagement projects. Sometime after I gather all the nominations, I’ll post them here and voting will begin. The winning newsroom (or two) will receive a Priority Mail box stuffed with candy.
Your engagement project needs to be something that’s conducted at least in part between Veterans Day and New Year’s Day. It doesn’t have to be tied to a holiday, but obviously holidays present lots of opportunities: Continue Reading »
Posted in community engagement | Tagged Christmas, engagement, New Year's, Thanksgiving, winter | 5 Comments »
Few people had more impact on my career than Rick Tapscott, who died Sunday.
Rick hired me twice and by leaving the first time and agreeing to extra duties the second time, he really gave me three or four great opportunities. He lured me away from the Des Moines Register in 1985 with an offer to be assistant national/mid-America editor for the Kansas City Times. Then he left to join the Washington Post, giving me the opportunity to run a newsroom department for the first time in my career. Thirteen years later, he brought me back to the Register as religion editor (really a reporting role) and writing coach.
We became good friends, visiting in his homes Kansas City, Washington and Des Moines and our home in the Kansas City suburbs, socializing as couples and with our kids, who were about the same age. We shared with a couple other colleagues in season tickets to the Royals, going to the games together several times. Continue Reading »
Posted in Journalist profiles | Tagged Des Moines Register, Drake University, Kansas City Times, Rick Tapscott, Washington Post | 5 Comments »
Tom Kent, linked from his Twitter avatar
I called yesterday for detailed practical advice on making ethical decisions in today’s journalism. After I posted, I emailed the people I mentioned in the post, inviting them to respond. This is the response from Associated Press Standards Editor Tom Kent, who is leading an ethics initiative of the Online News Association:
Steve, you raise some excellent points about where we stand in the ethics conversation. Sometimes, as you suggest, we’re a little too philosophique, thinking big thoughts without the concrete examples that would make them immediately useful. Meanwhile, we’re trying to write ethical codes for a profession that’s in the process of splitting into some distinctly different philosophies.
However much we agree on certain unifying concepts (tell the truth, don’t plagiarize, don’t take money to skew your stories), after that we start to differ widely. You referred to the contrast between those who think it’s fine to write from a certain political point of view (as long as you’re transparent about it) and those who favor an updated version of objectivity and neutrality (find my defense of that here). There are disparate points on view on many other questions. Continue Reading »
Posted in Ethics | Tagged Associated Press, journalism ethics, objectivity, Online News Association, Tom Kent | 8 Comments »
Someone should compile detailed ethical guidance for journalists in the difficult decisions we face in doing our jobs today.
The journalism conversation about ethics has been more robust this year than at any time I remember in my career, and I’ve been fortunate to be involved in much of it. But I think we need still more.
Two notable collaborations have re-examined the most important statements of journalism ethics:
Continue Reading »
Posted in Ethics | Tagged Kelly McBride, Society of Professional Journalists, SPJ Code of Ethics, Telling the Truth and Nothing But, The New Ethics of Journalism, Tom Rosenstiel | 7 Comments »
I am under no illusion that my thoughts or memories of the Kennedy assassination are any more insightful than all the others you’ve already read and heard for the last month or so.
But I do think the front pages my father saved from November 1963 are pretty interesting.
We lived in Sunset, Utah, at the time. I was a fourth-grader at Doxey Elementary School. My father saved the front page above from the evening edition of the Ogden Standard-Examiner, the daily paper delivered to our home. It apparently started Dad (and then me) on a couple lifetimes of saving historic front pages. This is the oldest of dozens of papers Dad saved over the next 15 years before his death. As the journalist in the family, I got his collection and added dozens (maybe hundreds) more.
Take a look at the front page above. Kennedy was shot at 12:30
a.m. p.m. Central time, 11:30 a.m., right on (or perhaps after) deadline for an evening paper. Clearly they just had enough time and material for one wire story (from UPI) and a file mug shot of the president. There isn’t even a wire photo from Dallas. Continue Reading »
Posted in Historic front pages, Journalism | Tagged JFK, JFK assassination, John F. Kennedy, Kennedy assassination, Look magazine, Lyndon B. Johnson, Merriman Smith, Ogden Standard-Examiner | 1 Comment »