This continues a series on advice for new top editors in Digital First Media newsrooms.
A Digital First editor leads a lot of change in a newsroom. So you need to be sure that your staff receives the training to execute the changes you are leading.
I help with this in my visits to the newsrooms of new editors for Digital First Media, but the need for training continues and the editor should make training part of the newsroom’s culture and routines:
- Join the Digital First Media Journalism Careers Facebook group, and encourage staff members to join, so you and they will know about opportunities for webinars or regional training.
- When staff members master skills you want their colleagues to learn, ask them to lead workshops and/or coach their colleagues in developing those skills.
- Lead some workshops yourself, where you have mastered the skills your staff needs to learn. When the busy editor takes the time to prepare and deliver training, that underscores the importance of that particular skill and of training in general. I made the time to lead workshops for the newsrooms I led in Minot and Cedar Rapids.
- If no one on your staff has a particular skill, invite a colleague from a nearby newsroom to lead a workshop for your staff. Or perhaps someone from your community who is not a journalist might be able to teach a skill that would be helpful. For instance, a local librarian might be able to teach some digital research skills your staff needs.
- Check out the training resources at the Digital Ninja School and pass the appropriate links along to staff members who are trying to develop new skills (or need to start trying).
- Make sure that your staff members working in engagement, data or video belong to the DFM engagement groups on each of those topics. These are great resources for learning from colleagues, either by asking your own questions or just by reading discussions among your colleagues. (These are internal DFM discussion groups, but I encourage developing similar groups among your colleagues if you’re a non-DFM staffer reading this.)
- Give some staff members time to learn new digital tools and then to teach their colleagues. Tools such as Storify, Tout and RebelMouse are fairly easy to use. If you encourage an interested staff member to spend a few hours exploring a tool and to use it in a few upcoming stories, you quickly develop a staff expert who can teach colleagues pretty quickly.
- Seek out other opportunities for your staff to learn from colleagues, such as the NICAR-L or IRE-L email discussion lists and services offered by beat-focused organizations such as the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, Society of Environmental Journalists, Education Writers Association or Religion Newswriters Association.
- Watch for low-cost online or regional training opportunities through News University, the Reynolds Center for Business Journalism, Online News Association, state press associations and journalism organizations.
- In planning your budgets in coming years, advocate for increased money for training, so you can send staff members to such important training opportunities as Poynter seminars, IRE and NICAR conferences and Knight Digital Media Center programs. When staff members return from such seminars, they should lead workshops back in your newsroom for their colleagues to spread the learning.
How have you (or an editor you worked for) provided effective training opportunities for the newsroom staff?
Earlier posts with advice for editors
Here are topics I am planning on covering in this series (the order is tentative). What other topics should I cover?
- The power of questions
- Respecting authorship
- Face-to-face communication
- Personal life
- Time management
- Developing new leaders
- The editor’s blog
- Role models
The posts probably will run daily Monday-Friday for the next few weeks. If you’re another Digital First editor (or a leader or former leader in another organization) and would like to propose a guest post as part of the series (as Sue Burzynski Bullard did), email me at sbuttry (at) digitalfirstmedia (dot) com and we’ll discuss. I’m not interested in a post of general leadership tips. I’d rather have a post on a particular leadership topic. Feel free to suggest a post that might address a topic I’ve already covered, but from a different perspective. I welcome posts that disagree with my advice. I will invite a few editors I respect to write posts.