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Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

Today I am leading a webinar for the Society of Professional Journalists, “Leading Change in Your Organization.”

I will repeat points I made in my 2014 posts about Project Unbolt.

I’ll also cover points covered in these posts for the INMA Culture Change Blog:

Here are the slides for the presentation:

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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). (more…)

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I am pleased that Tim McGuire has offered a contribution to my series on advice for new Digital First editors.

Tim spent 11 years as editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and is now a professor at the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

Tim has blogged about what he wishes he had done differently as an editor. I encourage you to read his full post, but here’s the core of his advice:

I lost personal control of my calendar and my priorities, and I never thought quite big enough.

I know that in these days of reduced resources many editors are going to scoff at my two pieces of advice but I actually think the tough times make them more important than ever. 1. Don’t waste your time on minor issues and process oriented meetings and, 2. think big, transformative change, not incremental change.

I dearly wish I would have set up a rotating list of five big, direction-changing issues and insisted that my calendar allow me 75 percent availability to concentrate on the five big ideas.

Tim gives excellent advice and I appreciate his contribution to this series.

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Butch Ward of Poynter wrote an excellent post posing an important question for editors to ask the journalists who work for you: What do you want to be someday?

Butch, one of the best teachers in the news business, said the question we’re often asked as kids — what do you want to be when you grow up? — remains an important question throughout our careers:

Good managers understand that dreams and ambitions don’t die once we land in the workplace. In fact, they know that taking an interest in their staff’s future can help build strong working relationships with them. Once I believe that you really care what I want to be someday, I’m much more likely to trust your advice, respond to your suggestions and take an interest in your needs.

I highly recommend Butch’s post and make it part of my series on advice for new Digital First editors. (more…)

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Teresa Schmedding, photo linked from dailyherald.com

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

 

Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes — Peter Drucker

I remember, way back in the dark ages, when I was promoted from copy editor to an “editor” management position, I knew exactly what I didn’t want to be. I didn’t want to be anything like the bad bosses I’d had in the past.

I didn’t want to be a boss that blamed his/her subordinates for his/her mistakes. I didn’t want to be a boss that settled for okay instead of amazing. I didn’t want to be a boss that didn’t listen. I didn’t want to be a boss that sugar-coated the facts. I didn’t want to be aloof and unapproachable.  I didn’t want to be autocratic, but I also didn’t want to be laissez-faire.

But what qualities did I want to have? Open door. Straight shooter. Honest. High standards. Fair. (more…)

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

Editors don’t succeed based on our own work. We succeed or fail based on the work of our staffs. So hiring is one of the most important jobs you will do as an editor, an opportunity to upgrade your newsroom. Hire an outstanding, self-starting journalist and you will bask in the glow of his or her work. If you hire someone who is careless in verifying facts, he or she will damage the credibility of your organization.

Hiring has always been an important job for an editor. It is doubly so in a time when most newsroom staffs are shrinking and when news organizations are changing their priorities and processes to meet the challenges and opportunities of the digital marketplace.

Each position you get to fill is an opportunity to add important skills to your news staff and to bring in someone who will quicken the pace of your newsroom’s digital transformation. (more…)

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

Time is one of an editor’s and a newsroom’s most precious resources. Spend your time wisely to move your newsroom forward and elevate your digital journalism.

The challenges of digital journalism give you – and your staff – lots more things to do without giving you any more time. To succeed, you need to manage your time – and your staff’s time – efficiently or you will certainly be overwhelmed.

To manage your time effectively, a top newsroom editors must:

  • Set priorities.
  • Delegate.
  • Decide what to stop doing.
  • Decide what to do less of.
  • Decide where you can accept a lower standard.
  • Identify time-wasters.
  • Find opportunities to use technology to work more efficiently.

Priorities

Few things an editor does are more important than setting priorities. Decide for yourself how you and your staff should spend your time. The priorities you set will shape other time-management decisions. (more…)

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

Dan Rowinski

Dan Rowinski

Dan Rowinski, Mobile Editor at ReadWrite, first offered the advice below in a comment on yesterday’s blog post on mobile opportunities, suggesting that I should have provided more detailed suggestions. He was right. Whatever detail I provided was in previous posts that I acknowledged were outdated. I asked Dan if I could break out his advice as a guest post. I added a few links. How applicable his suggestions are to the editor’s job will vary by newsroom, but the suggestions are valid and helpful.

I think you will find it a little easier to think about if you break it down into tangible categories.

Deployment

  • How does your site look on mobile? There is a good chance it looks like crap. That is probably going to be your first and biggest problem. (more…)

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

Editors need to understand and pursue mobile opportunities.

In more than one-third of Digital First Media news operations, we get more than half of our traffic on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Just as the computer reading experience is different from the print reading experience, the mobile user experience is different from the desktop or laptop experience.

You need read and view your products on your smartphone and tablet (and recognize that they aren’t the same thing), both on the apps and on mobile browsers. Know what your mobile users are seeing and experiencing. (more…)

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Nancy March

Nancy March

This continues a series on advice for new top editors in Digital First Media newsrooms. Nancy March, editor of the Mercury in Pottstown, Pa., and cluster editor for Digital First Media in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and West Virginia, offered this post after I made brief reference to the editor’s personal life in my post last week on respecting the staff’s personal life. Thanks to Nancy for this guest post.

I have a saying honed during 37 years in the news business: “Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow.”

That may sound like encouragement to procrastinate or an excuse for laziness, but it’s not. Put it in context of our work: We  build a product from start to finish in a day’s time — every day — and with so much emphasis on what we have daily, we have to also know what we can set aside until tomorrow. (more…)

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

David Witke

David Witke

Editors should be aware that we’re role models for the future editors on our staffs.

The editor who most shaped my own leadership is David Witke, who was managing editor of the Des Moines Register when I started working there in 1977 (the editor who hired me, in fact).

Dave has given me lots of advice through the years, but nothing he told me was as important as watching him lead. Here’s my favorite example of Dave’s leadership: (more…)

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

Staff members are entitled to a life outside the newsroom.

When work has to intrude, acknowledge the intrusion. Apologize for calling at home or for interfering with dinner or vacation or weekend plans. Thank the reporter who came in on a day off or skipped lunch to deal with your demands or questions. Thank the editor who worked late on a breaking story even though he had a Cub Scout meeting that night. Commend the reporter who took the initiative to cover news that broke on personal time. She might have irritated a spouse or missed an important family event. Thanks are in order.

Sometimes thanks should be personal, sometimes public, sometimes both. I like the way Nancy March, editor of the Mercury in Pottstown, Pa., publicly praised staff members who worked through the night to provide her community timely digital coverage of developments in the Boston Marathon bombing case. (more…)

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