Thinking like an Editor, or in my case, a Chief

Stephanie Hays

This morning I had the chance to listen to Bill Elsen, from The Washington Post, talk about how to be a leader in the newsroom and how to manage those who work for you.

He started out with three key words: versatility, flexibility and responsibility.

He stuck with the idea of responsibility the most. He talked about how if you don’t know something, you shouldn’t wing it, you should look it up. And if a red light goes off in your head, CHECK IT OUT. Don’t just move on because you think “Oh, it’s probably fine.” All good points.

But what I liked the most about what he said was how you should get to know your staff, cross-train them and figure out who can do what the best. Knowing people’s strengths will prevent problems where people are doing jobs they hate because whoever assigned them content doesn’t know what they like to do. And when people find what they’re good at and get the chance to keep working at it, they start to work harder and do better work. And this helps to make a team of dedicated staffers.

I look forward to trying to implement Elsen’s ideas when we get back to campus, and make sure that I’m not forcing any of my designers to do jobs they don’t enjoy. And also making sure that they are stretching themselves and trying new things, because who knows, maybe one of them is also a great photographer, or a great writer, or has passion for online content.

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