How a key newsroom partnership can turn a challenging day in the newsroom from frustrating to satisfying

June 14, 2019 11:00

TGIF! You’re ready for the weekend and enjoying a relatively easy day. The scanners are quiet, Sports and Weather want extra time, and those weekly feature pieces are eating up 2-3 minutes in each newscast.  Then, the unexpected happens and you quickly shift into breaking news mode.
You’re one half of an experienced Anchor/Producer team, so you don’t hesitate to throw out the rundown you’ve spent hours on. Although you’ve done this many times before, it’s still an adrenaline rush. As you go live the tension is high, but so is the level of trust you have in each other. You’re a well-oiled machine, delivering new details as quickly as the newsroom can confirm them. For the most part, transitions are smooth between the studio, live content in the field and various social media elements. Of course, there are a couple of technical challenges, but you navigate them gracefully and manage to keep things moving.
After the newscast you and your partner meet in the booth to high-five and talk through what could have gone better. Although you’ve identified some opportunities for improvement, you’re pleased with the efforts by the entire team (and you tell them so!) Additionally, your digital stats are through the roof, you’ve received positive feedback from the News Director and even the General Manager stopped in to compliment your coverage.
This definitely wasn’t an easy day, but it feels like a good one. When you get home, you collapse on the couch feeling a sense of pride in a job well done.
Wouldn’t it be great if all Anchors and Producers could work together this effectively - and challenging days provided satisfaction rather than frustration? It’s a worthy goal, and one we’ll work through together at the RTDNA/Loyola University Chicago Anchor and Producer Leadership Summit.
Before becoming a General Manager, I spent most of my career in the newsroom. I started as a part-timer working on the production crew running cameras, prompting and editing video.  After years of reporting, producing, anchoring and eventually serving as a News Director, one thing became very clear… the key to a good day in the newsroom is teamwork.
To be clear, my definition of teamwork isn’t just having enough competent people around to share the workload. It’s about surrounding myself with strong leaders who share common goals, desire success, respect each other, communicate effectively and collaborate freely.  It’s the level of teamwork that allows me to sleep at night, because I know whatever tomorrow brings we’ll get through it together. It hasn’t always been this way, but today I expect nothing less.
The Anchor/Producer team is one of the most important relationships in any newsroom. It demands effective leadership from both individuals, so it can also be one of the most difficult to build and sustain.
Building Trust:
Like all good relationships, the partnership between Producers and Anchors is one built on trust.  We’ll explore the critical role newsroom leaders have in developing stronger Anchor/Producer partnerships, and the importance of a clear, consistent newsroom culture. We’ll also discuss how varying levels of experience can add to the challenge of building that trust – and how to bridge the gap.
Communicating & Collaborating:
Nothing brings communication to a screeching halt as quickly as hurt feelings. Whether an insult is intentional or unintentional in the heat of the moment, we’ll discuss the importance of clearing the air and letting go of resentments that can build up over time.  We’ll also explore some common perceptions that anchors and producers often have about each other. By examining these through multiple points of view, we’ll strive to overcome stereotypes and remove these barriers to collaboration once and for all.
Developing Strong Leaders:
Effective newsroom leadership isn’t about calling the shots. It’s about consistently reinforcing newsroom culture in a way that inspires others to do their best work. The ability to deliver and receive feedback is a critical skill for all newsroom leaders. We’ll look inward and outward at the level of emotional intelligence required to take the lead on difficult conversations.
I look forward to exploring more ways to make sure challenging days bring you more satisfaction than frustration. By committing time and energy to developing your own leadership skills, you are definitely on the right track…
Hope to see you in Chicago!


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