Emerging newsroom leaders discuss problem solving, balancing time

Story by Casey Smith, Ball State University
Photos by Ryan Shank, Ball State University

Effective leadership and communication strategies were the focus of the ASNE Emerging Leaders Institute in Washington, D.C. at the 2017 News Leadership Conference.

For two days, the institute trained up-and-coming news leaders from around the country to help them develop core strategic management skills. The program, which has trained nearly 250 since it started in 2012, focuses on training minority journalists to become leaders in their organizations and in the industry.

Manny Garcia, the east region executive editor for the USA TODAY Network, hosted the mid-morning portion of the institute Sunday morning. Quick adaptation to industry changes and newsroom workflow were key points Garcia discussed with institute attendees.

“Part of your strength and success is using work-arounds and by problem solving things that need fixed,” Garcia said. “When things are working, celebrate those success in the newsroom β€” that’s what good leaders do.”

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The round table discussion that followed his presentation allowed participants to share their questions and experiences with one another. The balance between work and home life was a pressing topic for several of those participating in the institute, questions soon arose about how much work editors should expect from themselves and those they work with.

“Being an editor isn’t easy. It’s lonely at the top,” said Ron Smith, managing editor of news at USA TODAY. “You can’t please everyone all the time.”

Remembering that everyone is human β€” and that no one is perfect β€” is important, Smith added: “We still have to work together with people in our newsrooms when things aren’t as easy or smooth as we’d like them to be.”

When considering rapid changes that frequently need to take place in newsrooms, Alfredo Carbajal, 2018 ASNE Board President and managing editor of Al Dia at β€ŽThe Dallas Morning News, emphasized the importance of looking for new staff members who can adapt quickly and help others around them do the same.

“Change requires hiring the right kinds of people,” Carbajal said. “Without them, we won’t be able to evolve as an industry as well as we can be.”

This is the last of four leadership institutes ASNE is hosting this year. The institute is underwritten by contributions from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Loyola University Chicago School of Communication and the American Press Institute.

Casey Smith is a senior at Ball State University. She graduates in May 2018. Her email is smith.ann.casey@gmail.com.

Ryan Shank is a senior at Ball State University. He graduates in May 2018. His email is rjshank@bsu.edu.

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