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 routinely allowed to sleep in his truck because his news manager will not put him up in a hotel on long distance assignments.  He is the hardest worker I know.  And if he leaves the station, that place will be a mess.  He is also the most knowledgeable person they have about newsroom equipment and what needs to happen to keep it in tip top shape for doing the news every day.  Is this really the person you want to dismiss?

When that management team called to lament about their struggle finding a director, I could immediately relate.  A talented director is very hard to come by and very valuable.  The intensity of the job, while on-air is not something just anyone can handle.  Then those managers told me the pay range.  I seriously do not know how the director would afford to eat and pay rent.  This is not the place to skimp on salaries.

Then there is the dilemma over finding a good editor.  With desktop editing becoming so commonplace, fewer people want to do this job.  (Is there longevity?)  But there is an art to good editing. All you have to do is watch a newscast full of generic video to understand that.  If you want to raise ratings, one of the easiest ways, is matching video to the copy your anchors read.  It sounds beyond simplistic.  But so few do it regularly now, it actually is powerful.  Once again I was asked if I knew any good editors. Then, I was told the salary range.  No wonder so many editors are college kids.

My point in all of this?  These newsroom workhorses really make or break the quality of a station’s product.  But business offices, number crunchers and frankly many newsroom managers do not get it.  That is until they end up with a bad seed in one of these positions.  If you have a great sat truck operator, director or editor, show them respect, often.  Treat them right because they are truly rare and precious assets.

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