I’m helping my Digital First colleagues recruit for several newsroom leadership positions.
I also know that hundreds of journalists — including, I suspect, some strong leaders — have recently lost their jobs with Patch, Gannett and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Other good journalists are still looking for work after earlier cutbacks elsewhere. Still others fear for their companies’ future and are looking for a better company to work for.
So here’s my offer to journalists who think they have what it takes to lead a Digital First newsroom (including Digital First colleagues who think they are ready to lead a newsroom or a larger newsroom): Make your pitch.
Then tell and/or show me why you would be an outstanding leader for a Digital First newsroom (or a regional leader with responsibilities for multiple newsrooms). Some things you could do (you don’t necessarily have to do all of them; doing one or two really well might be enough):
- Our CEO, John Paton, says we need to “put the digital people in charge.” Tell me why you’re a digital person. If you started out a print person (as I did), tell me about your journey to becoming a digital person: how far you’ve come, how far you still need to go and where you’re headed next.
- What digital skills and tools do you excel with? Which ones are you learning? (If the answers to both questions are “none,” don’t waste your time or mine making your pitch.)
- What leadership experience do you have? If the answer is “none,” tell me why you would make a good leader.
- Brag about your journalism experience: How has your work made a difference in your community(ies)?
- Give me a detailed vision of a single slice of your vision for how a newsroom should operate.
- Tell me about your career (a résumé is fine, but I favor using digital tools to show me about your career).
You can write your pitch (writing is obviously my preferred form of communication), but at least include some links (as I have here), so you show some understanding of things digital. It might help your pitch if you want to use digital skills in your pitch, such as social media, mapping, data visualization or video. If you need to make a pitch private (to evade the attention of a current boss), that’s fine. You can email me or protect your pitch with privacy settings or a password (as long as you let me in).
You can pitch me through social media, in comments here or privately by email at sbuttry (at) digitalfirstmedia (dot) com.
We’re looking for strong leaders with excellent journalism skills — digital and traditional — and with the vision to help lead our newsrooms to a successful future. Show and tell me why you are such a leader.
Update: John Kroll has responded to this post (although, alas, he’s not interested in leading one of our newsrooms) with a thought-provoking three-part blog series:
What digital tools and skills does a newsroom leader need? If you’re responding to this post in search of a job, the detailed self-assessment John makes here would be one good way to respond: We’re not looking for someone who’s mastered every digital skill and tool (that journalist doesn’t exist, that I know of), but for someone who’s always learning, and this kind of self-assessment tells a lot. It’s a good blog post idea, and I might steal it sometime.
I can tell you the exact moment I became a leader. I’m leading two programs on leadership this weekend at the Excellence in Journalism conference in Anaheim. I’m pretty sure I’ll mention this post in at least one of those sessions.
Update: John blogged again, answering about the difference editors can have in a community.
Thanks to John for these thoughtful responses to my post (and for the links).
Update: One more from John, about asking readers what they want in suburban coverage.