Want to know a big topic that news managers sit around and discuss?  Are journalists, producers in particular, are moving up in market size too quickly?  Even more interesting, a lot of the managers I talk with, who think it’s a bad idea, moved up the ranks while they were young themselves. Yep.  Many were 2 to 4 years into the biz and EP’ing or taking gigs as small market AND’s. Others were producing main shows in top 10 markets by age 25.  Why then are they so hard on the journalists who want to do the same? Well, with experience comes wisdom.  These managers know how hard they had [...]

Recently I addressed the importance of defining your news philosophy to end up in a station where you can really flourish.  When I ask journalists to define their philosophy the most common answer I get is “enterprising stories.”  Let’s consider that for a minute. Enterprising stories is not a philosophy.  It is the result of source building.  However, it is what you should be doing anyway as a news reporter.  Again, “enterprising stories” is not a news philosophy.  A news philosophy defines how you present information to the community to inform, empower and educate.  It includes writing style, graphics presentation, and topic selection.  It delves into which of the 5 [...]

I often tell producers that having an associate producer is a great opportunity to prepare yourself for management one day.  This is someone who often needs direction and training, and  whose success can be tied to your own.  Still, many producers just don’t know how to effectively utilize an associate producer.  So let’s go over some basic rules of thumb about who AP’s are and how they should be used: Helpers not writers Segment designers Second sets of eyes The first mistake many producers make when given an associate producer is to have the AP write the entire newscast.  Then the producer just goes back and fact checks it.  Delegating [...]

Roman poet Phaedrus once said: “Things are not always as they seem; the first appearance deceives many.”  So why am I quoting a man who was born in 15 BC in an article about 21st century TV news?  Because the central idea of the quote often plays a part in what we are asked to do. How many times have you heard a news manager lament that reporters need to do more storytelling with the packages they produce?  And then how times have you heard those same managers send crews on stories that are not “TV friendly” and seem to have no opportunity for storytelling.  You know the ones I’m [...]

When journalists contact me, one of the first questions I ask is “What is your news philosophy?”  Most cannot tell me clearly.  I end up having to ask a series of questions, then define it for them.  (This, by the way, includes many news managers who call me looking for employees.) Now I know some people are already rolling their eyes at me mentioning news philosophy.  The naysayers response:  “Your philosophy is the boss’s philosophy.”  My counter.  Exactly.  If you do not know what type of news you love to do, and you do not define your own mission statement to serve the community, you cannot connect with a manager [...]

Recently a management team called to talk about how frustrated they were searching for some key positions in their newsroom.  They were fresh out of ideas to look and wanted to brainstorm ideas.  You might be surprised what positions we discussed:  Satellite truck operators, directors and editors.  A week or so later, another news manager lamented about the difficulty in finding a great assignment editor.  These are the unsung heroes of newsrooms. The goal of this article is to remind us all, that when you have great, hardworking and passionate people, in these newsroom roles, spoil them any way you can and often. I know a satellite truck operator who is [...]

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