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Archive for October 1st, 2013

This post continues a series on advice for new top editors in Digital First Media newsrooms.

A newsroom’s success is a blend of teamwork and individual excellence, so an editor must foster and reward both.

Here are important ways to encourage teamwork on your staff:

Pair staff members strategically. Keep staff members’ strengths and weaknesses in mind as you pair them on assignments that require more than one person. My editors at the Omaha World-Herald often paired me with less experienced reporters so they would learn from me (I learned from them, too, and I’m sure that happens even more today when you might pair a veteran with great journalism experience with a less-experienced reporter with strong digital skills).

Acknowledge the staff members’ skills as you’re discussing plans for their work together. For a quick story, you might divide the labor according to their strengths: This reporter will search social media for sources because social media is a strength of hers and that reporter is going to check with his excellent sources in law enforcement. But sometimes, especially for a longer-term story, you will want to be clear that you want them to work together in an aspect of the story, to ensure that the reporters learn from each other, rather than just leaning on each other. Specify that they work together on the data analysis, rather than letting the data expert handle that herself. Or they should work together on the video instead of giving that to the video whiz to handle the video himself. (more…)

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