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Posts Tagged ‘Joe Hight’

This continues my series on professional networking.

If you don’t think promotion should be part of journalism, I understand. I did little to nothing to promote myself or my work in the first 20-plus years of my career. And I had a good career: rewarding mid-level editor jobs and senior reporting jobs at metro newspapers, top editor of a smaller newspaper.

I can’t think of a single self-promotional thing I did for the first two decades of my career, unless you count some internal boasting in newsroom chit-chat or an occasional humble brag to make sure the boss knew my role in a story.

I didn’t do anything to actually promote myself (that I can recall) until 1997. And I think my career since has benefited greatly from self-promotion, and from overcoming a strong journalistic resistance to promotion.

I decided in 1997 that I wanted to train journalists and get paid for doing so. I thought I had something to teach journalists after all those years of work, and I thought I would like training, and I could use the money. And no one would know that I was available to do training if I didn’t promote myself.

So I developed my first website, promoting my training services and posting workshop handouts online. I was taking a web design class under Father Don Doll at Creighton University, and my website was all about me and my training services.

York News Times logoBut that was early in the history of the web and well before Google, so I also developed an amateurish flier promoting my services (design was never a strong suit of mine). I mailed that flier to newsrooms and press associations around the Midwest and landed three training gigs: with the York News-Times (a Nebraska daily not to be confused with the New York Times), the North Dakota Newspaper Association and the Minot Daily News. Since I was a former Minot editor and well known to the folks at NDNA, those gigs came through a mix of networking and promotion. But I didn’t know anyone at York, and that first training gig came from the amateurish flier. (more…)

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This is another Training Tracks blog post from the archive of No Train, No Gain, originally published Aug. 23, 2004:

After Charley swept through Florida, a colleague there wrote asking if I had a workshop on covering a hurricane. Working in Omaha now and having spent my career in the Midwest, I responded that I might be able to help with a tornado. By now that colleague might be able to lead his own workshop on covering a hurricane.

How ready is your news operation to cover a disaster? How well do you learn from the disasters and other big stories you cover? (more…)

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This is another Training Tracks blog post from the archive of No Train, No Gain, originally published Sept. 6, 2004:

I started out in training by playing to my strengths. I had spent most of my career as an assigning editor, a department head, top editor and reporter. So my early workshops taught reporting, writing and leadership skills.

A little over three years ago, Joe Hight, managing editor of the Daily Oklahoman, invited me to Oklahoma City to present some workshops for his staff. He ordered a few workshops from my menu, then asked for something for the copy desk.

Well, I have copy editing experience. In fact, I was a pretty good copy editor. But that was 17 years ago (when Joe was asking; 20 years ago now). And perhaps no job has faced more changes and pressures as technology and economics have changed newsrooms. I balked, but Joe can be pretty persuasive, so I agreed to present a workshop for copy editors. (more…)

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Some archives of No Train, No Gain are available through the Internet Archive.

Thanks to Bill Bradley of Philadelphia, who pointed this out in a comment on my earlier blog post about the demise of NTNG, a resource for newsroom training materials, for which I volunteered for several years.

I haven’t explored it fully, but it doesn’t appear that all of the pages have been archived. But I am pleased to see that some have been. Some of my old workshop handouts I have found (most probably in need of updating): (more…)

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I hope this blog post is premature. I would love to retract it tomorrow as an error, but it appears to me that No Train, No Gain is dead. The website launched 10 years ago, so it lived a long life in Internet years. But I mourn nonetheless.

I got involved in newsroom training as a sidelight in 1997, and after I added it to my official duties with a 1998 move to the Des Moines Register, I joined a listserv for newsroom trainers, Newscoach. The group, which never formed an official association, met annually at the old West Coast office of the Freedom Forum in San Francisco, under the leadership of the late Bev Kees. I can’t remember if I was aware of the 1999 conference. I very much wanted to attend the 2000 conference, but it met just as I was changing jobs from the Register to the Omaha World-Herald. While I negotiated for the World-Herald to send me to the conferences every other year, I couldn’t go that first year, because the conference fell right before I moved. (more…)

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I can be a bit of a scold to colleagues, exhorting editors to move more boldly and swiftly into the future.

As an industry, newspapers have been slow and clumsy at innovation. But a lot of editors do outstanding, innovative journalism (as well as outstanding traditional journalism) and I would like to recognize some of them. I was honored today by Editor & Publisher, named Editor of the Year. As I explain in a separate post, I was surprised by the honor, not out of false humility but because I truly am no longer an editor.

While I am honored by this recognition, I do want to make the point that many editors are deserving of such recognition. Dozens, if not hundreds, of editors serve their communities honorably, elevate the journalism of their staffs and pursue innovative solutions, even in these trying times. (more…)

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Newsroom leaders struggling with the challenges of innovation will find help in a low-cost training opportunity next month in St. Louis.

Bring your Valentine with you to St. Louis (I’ll be taking mine to dinner at an Italian restaurant on The Hill) and join us for a Feb. 13-14 Mid-America Press Institute Seminar, Innovation and Managing Change in the Newsroom. (more…)

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