Jill Geisler

Jill helps news managers learn how to lead her favorite people in the world - journalists. Good journalists, she points out, question authority and resist "spin." It takes exceptional leaders to build trust, along with the systems and culture that grow great journalism. In addition to teaching leadership styles, conflict resolution, collaboration, coaching, decision making and problem solving, she also teaches in the area of ethics and broadcast journalism. Her background as a TV news director, reporter, anchor and producer inform her teaching on broadcast issues as well as her work with print and online leaders.


Businesswoman stressed out

Overworked and overwhelmed? Consider these 7 questions

If you’re feeling swamped at work these days, you’re not alone. I’m not talking “I don’t get to go out for lunch very often” busy. I mean “I’m buried in work, never fully off the clock and still feel I’m letting people down” busy. I hear it regularly from the managers I teach and coach.

It’s a function of the downsized staffing but increased demands and responsibilities in changing organizations.

The story is familiar: to hit budget numbers, the company cuts head count but leaves fully intact the expectation of quality, service and measurable results. (I’ll give CNN president Jeff Zucker credit. Referencing the depressing specter of buyouts and layoffs, he didn’t try to spin it as some great opportunity for the survivors to work smarter, not harder.… Read more

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covering an event with a video camera

What breaking news reveals about your newsroom culture

Here’s what a lifetime in journalism has taught me: Breaking news reveals the true character of a newsroom’s culture and quality.

Spot news success happens in cultures with specific systems, skills, values, mindsets – and leadership.

In the healthiest cultures, when news breaks, here’s what staffers can count on:

  • We have a plan. We don’t have to scramble to figure out how to respond each time a big story breaks. Everyone on our team has an understanding of the key roles that need to be filled – both in the field and at the mother ship. We automatically call in and report for duty. We adapt the basic plan by situation and story, and we’re never caught flat-footed.
  • It doesn’t matter if our boss is on vacation.
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The logo for the Riverfront Times, St. Louis' alt-weekly

Notes from Ferguson: ‘Don’t feel intimidated by the national/international press’

Since Saturday, local media in St. Louis have covered the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. National media joined them, and on Friday, the story made the front pages of newspapers in the U.S. and around the world. We checked in with several newsroom leaders and asked them the same questions about their work, the competition and the best and worst of what they’ve seen. This is part six in our series.

Chad Garrison is the editor of the Riverfront Times. He answered these questions via email.

1. What is the most important thing you’ve told your staff as they cover this story?

I’ve tried to encourage them to get out there and report the story. Don’t feel intimidated by the national/international press and don’t feel that this story is somehow beyond the scope of a tiny newsroom (three full-time news reporters) like ours.… Read more

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Notes from Ferguson: ‘You just have to wonder if people looking to make a point saw the coverage and decided to jump in’

Since Saturday, local media in St. Louis have covered the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. National media joined them, and on Friday, the story made the front pages of newspapers in the U.S. and around the world. We checked in with several newsroom leaders and asked them the same five questions about their work, the competition and the best and worst of what they’ve seen. This is part five in our series.

Brian Thouvenot is the news director of KMOV-TV. He answered questions for Poynter via email.

1. What is the most important thing you’ve told your staff as they cover this story?

Safety is their FIRST priority! During the riots/looting on Sunday night, rocks were thrown through the windows of one of our live trucks and it gives you pause that we’re not safe where we’re documenting a major breaking event in our community.… Read more

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Notes from Ferguson: The city has ‘never seen such glare of the national media’

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Notes from Ferguson: ‘Let the story tell itself’

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stlpub

Notes from Ferguson: ‘This is more than a big story. This is home’

Since Saturday, local media in St. Louis have covered the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. National media joined them, and on Friday, the story made the front pages of newspapers in the U.S. and around the world. We checked in with several newsroom leaders and asked them the same five questions about their work, the competition and the best and worst of what they’ve seen. This is part two in our series.

Margaret Wolf Freivogel is the editor of St. Louis Public Radio.

1. What is the most important thing you’ve told your staff as they cover this story?

Be safe. Facts matter, especially in a fast-moving situation such as this, so let’s clarify what’s going on. We need to do more than just covering the breaking news, meaning we need enterprise reporting that unearths information, answers questions and adds understanding.… Read more

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Notes from Ferguson: ‘I get it, but everybody overdid the jailed journalist story’

Since Saturday, local media in St. Louis have covered the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. National media joined them, and on Friday, the story made the front pages of newspapers in the U.S. and around the world. We checked in with several newsroom leaders and asked them the same five questions about their work, the competition and the best and worst of what they’ve seen.

Chris King is the editorial director of the The St. Louis American, St. Louis’ historically black newspaper. He answered these questions via email.

1. What is the most important thing you’ve told your staff as they cover this story?

Come back alive. We want you — and your story. Protect yourself.

2. Give us an example of the best coverage you’ve produced or seen.Read more

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Young businesswoman giving a presentation while her colleagues are listening to her

Four ways to be seen as a leader, even when you’re not in charge

In the past few years, I’ve worked with organizations as they identify and train emerging leaders. The goal is twofold: to let promising people know their contributions are valued and to increase their chances of success if they’re promoted to management.

So, what does it take to be considered an emerging leader? What are these people doing that sets them apart, not just in the eyes of their bosses, but also their peers?

It’s more than just being a workhorse or a “company person.” It’s really about influence; doing the kinds of things that cause people to feel better about the work when you’re on the team, and to choose to follow you when you offer suggestions or direction.

You may not want to be a manager, and that’s just fine.… Read more

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Bias Getting Over Unfair Treatment Racism Prejudice

6 dangerous biases of bosses

Integrity is the cornerstone of leadership.  For managers, intelligence — both cognitive and emotional — is important. But research says that employees rate trustworthiness as more important than competence in their managers.

I think that’s because so many managers lead people who are smarter than they are. The staff doesn’t expect the boss to be a genius; they want a supervisor they can trust.

Trust is confidence, in the face of risk, that another person will act with integrity. Tell the truth. Share credit. Take blame. Make decisions based on values. Reject prejudice.

We earn the trust of our team over time. But it takes vigilance to maintain it, even if we have the best of intentions. That’s because we tend to overestimate our own abilities and think we’re more reliable or principled than we really are.Read more

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