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Posts Tagged ‘Teresa Schmedding’

Image linked from BrutallyHonest.org

A journalist doesn’t need superpowers. But if you excel in a particular skill that’s in short supply, you won’t be one of those journalists whining about pay. Or if you do whine, that will be just to maintain your secret identity.

Mark Stencel and Kim Perry produced an outstanding (but perhaps daunting) report for the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurialism, Superpowers: The digital skills media leaders say journalists need going forward.

The report could be intimidating or discouraging for a senior journalism major still looking for a job as graduation approaches or for a veteran journalist still stinging from a layoff and wondering what’s next.

The report notes the skills desired in an ad for a multimedia reporter at the Belleville News-Democrat, an Illinois newspaper with print circulation of less than 60,000 and just over 9,000 Twitter followers. The ad, Stencel and Perry noted, sought:

someone capable of ‘shooting videos and learning how to produce interactive graphics,’ plus a willingness ‘to use social media as part of the daily beat routine.’ Oh, and ‘database journalism skills are a plus’ too, the editors added.

And I’m going to speculate that the position pays less than Jimmy Olson makes.

I have a little experience hiring journalists in the digital age, as well as looking for jobs. I don’t have any super powers. I don’t think I could leap over my suitcase in a single bound. But I’ve assessed the value of journalists with impressive but incomplete skill sets, and I’ve managed to maintain some value in the job market. So I want to share some thoughts on “Superpowers,” both the Tow-Knight Center report and the job skills it addresses. (more…)

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Teresa Schmedding transformed the American Copy Editors Society. Newspapers will miss her leadership, but ACES won’t, because ACES has adapted to the changing landscape better than newspapers have.

Teresa is leaving newspapers to become managing editor of Rotary International. Her move says something about journalism on two counts:

  1. Newspapers are losing too many valuable contributors.
  2. Editing skills remain valuable, even if newspapers no longer value them.

I first met Teresa about a decade ago, when I was leading a seminar for news editors and copy desk chiefs at the American Press Institute. Someone recommended her to me to lead one of my sessions, and she did an outstanding job. I can’t remember the exact topic, but I think it dealt with copy editors’ role in the changing digital environment. What I remember was that she was an excellent teacher and struck the exact right tone for an editing workshop: upholding standards but not fussing over trivial points. (more…)

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Glamann Award for Steve ButtryFriday evening was an incredible time for me.

After waiting most of the day to work out details of how I would receive intravenous antibiotics at home, I finally left the hospital about 7:15, ending an eight-day stay to treat an infection that arose because chemotherapy had damaged my immune system. It was great to get home.

As I started opening packages that arrived in my absence, Mimi said I needed to open my laptop. We were going to Skype with our granddaughters before they went to bed. Sounded like a nice welcome-home. I had no idea.

The Skype callers were not my granddaughters, but Teresa Schmedding, president of the American Copy Editors Society, and the 500 copy editors gathered for the ACES conference in Pittsburgh. Teresa and Mimi had conspired to Skype me into the conference, so ACES could give me the Glamann Award. Mimi had the plaque and Teresa said some kind words about my contributions to journalism. (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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I had an email exchange about the difference between a columnist and a blogger with Teresa Schmedding.

Teresa is Assistant Managing Editor-Content Systems for the Daily Herald in the Chicago area and president of the American Copy Editors Society. She sent me the following email (used here with her consent):

I’m having a conversation in my head about blogs v. columns.We’re getting ready to revamp our article page templates, pull our old blogs into our current CMS, which gives me an opportunity to re-train the staff on the purpose of a blog v. a column or an article. And, as I’m thinking about it, I’m thinking there really shouldn’t be much of a difference between a column and a blog. I started mapping out elements of a blog and here’s what I came up with:

Key elements of blogs: (more…)

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Journalism education needs an update. You can and must teach and honor the timeless fundamentals of journalism and still prepare journalists for the dynamic job market they will be entering.

Journalists and educators who play the “basics” card in resisting overhauls of journalism curriculum fail to acknowledge how basic to journalism resourcefulness and problem-solving are. When a county attorney who didn’t respect the law denied me access to a file in the local courthouse, I found the records I needed in the Iowa Supreme Court and got the story. When I couldn’t persuade intimidated friends of a victim to speak on the record for a story about domestic violence by a football player, I used a draft of the story using unnamed sources to prod reluctant coaches to confirm and clarify details on the record. When floods cut off streets in much of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, my staff covered the news in boats, chest waders and by finding alternate routes. Good journalists adjust to the situations they face and they don’t use obstacles as excuses.

We need to adjust to digital challenges and journalism educators need to stop using “basics” as an excuse. They need to develop ways to teach the basics along with principles and skills of innovation. (more…)

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