21st Century Journalism XIX: Strategic TrainingMichele McLellan, director of Tomorrow’s Workforce, an R&D project funded by the Knight Foundation, and Tim Porter, associate director of Tomorrow’s Workforce, have just published News, Improved: How America's Newsrooms are Learning to Change.
In their book McLellan and Porter aim to show
how leadership, goal-setting and staff development improve the culture of the newsroom and the content of the news product—both key drivers of audience appeal. [www.newsimproved.org]McLellan and Porter note that, in today's sour business climate for traditional media, many newsrooms have a defensive culture, which
inhibits innovation and professional growth - two things the news industry badly needs right now. Constructive cultures, by contrast, foster learning, creativity, retention of the best and brightest staff and have been linked in other industries with improved business results. [PressThink]From extensive contacts with newsroom and other newspaper personnel, McLellan and Porter concluded that three steps are fundamental to promoting an adaptive newspaper culture:
- Providing strategic training, i.e., training that supports continuous learning; company priorities, especially those directed at transformation to remain relevant in the world of digital media; and individual growth, including, notably, improvement of communication skills.
- Using groups of employees to identify problems and recommend solutions.
- Driving decision-making down in the organization, and allowing trial-and-error efforts to introduce new products and methods.