Butch Ward

Since joining Poynter in 2005, Butch has had the chance to share with hundreds of journalists the wisdom he first heard from a Wharton professor back in 1994 -- when most newsrooms hadn't heard of the Web. "From this day on," the professor told the seminar on managing change, "you will find nothing in your professional lives but white water." Helping journalists cope -- maybe even thrive -- in times of constant change has become the common aspiration of Butch's seminars.

Optimism boulevard plaque

Tough times signal need for managers to express genuine optimism, not ‘happy talk’

When I ask journalists to reflect upon the qualities of their best bosses, they almost always include “optimistic.”

That’s not surprising; one dictionary defines “optimistic” as “hopeful and confident about the future.” Most of us are grateful when we work … Read more

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Hello I Am Boss Nametag Sticker Supervisor Authority

Managers, making sure someone can do your job is your job

On the day my editor at The (Baltimore) News American offered me the job of managing editor, he gave me my first assignment:

“Your first job,” he said, “is to make yourself obsolete.”

OK, I said.

I had no idea … Read more

Group of business people in pieces of a puzzle

How newsroom managers can invest more time developing their staff — and why it matters

It was the day I finally got it — what it means to be an editor.

My first day as managing editor of the old News American in Baltimore was almost over. I was sitting alone in my office, looking … Read more


Why newsroom managers would benefit from asking more questions

Ask great reporters to name their most powerful tool, and you just might hear this:

The question.

Not just any question, but one that is simple, open-ended and all but requires the subject to abandon the relative safety of … Read more


Add this to your holiday wish list: Clarity

Middle managers, here’s an early holiday gift suggestion for you, one you can give yourself.

Go get some clarity. You really need it — more than books, sweaters or even that new iPad mini.

Your need struck me (again) earlier … Read more


Right or wrong, polls can and should play a role in election coverage

Looking back on the lessons of the 2012 campaign season, we clearly learned two things about polls:

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10 ways that new editors (& veterans) can improve their staff’s work

You’ve just been assigned the job you’ve always wanted (or dreaded). Congratulations — you’re an editor. So what now?

Chances are, you’ve talked with your boss about your areas of responsibility, staff members who will help you carry out your … Read more


Tales of a serial prankster: How newsroom humor can create a sense of togetherness

In his new memoir, “46 Frogs: Tales of a Serial Prankster,” former Poynter president Jim Naughton recalls how Doug Campbell, a member of The Philadelphia Inquirer’s crack night city desk, became an unlikely newsroom celebrity when he created … Read more


10 ways to create more time to do the work you want

Hundreds of books have been written about how to save time. Fact is, saving time is not the leader’s goal — effectiveness is the objective. And we can become more effective if we make better choices about the way we … Read more

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The First Amendment Gets Its Day as ’1 For All’ Begins

At some point this July 4 weekend, someone with a microphone will give a speech. Thank you, Thomas Jefferson. Thank you, Founding Fathers. Thank you for the Declaration that guaranteed freedom for us all.

And with that, we once again … Read more