By Pam Johnson
I’m packing up my Poynter office for a new assignment. Physical files and books going into boxes are reminders of things done or discovered in a 35-year career in journalism – the last three at Poynter.
I will cart these reminders to the Missouri J-School that launched my career. (Somewhere in a box are my student journalist newspaper clips) There, I will direct the new Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. The boxes contain the physical representations of what shaped me. We all save such reminders.
By far, though, it’s the intangibles — the experiences, the learning, the people – that matter most. What were the lessons I learned? How did they shape my journalism, my role as a newsroom leader? What experiences had the greatest influence on values I held closely?
My newsroom years were full of the intangibles. Among the most valuable: waves of daily stories coming across the desk, the patience of a staff with a young, green editor, teamwork and leadership in the 90s that turned the Arizona Republic into a model of how to move a newspaper company forward. Plus three years years at Poynter.
I know I am fortunate to have had this time at Poynter, so I want to share my favorite lessons. They include:
- Experts are only as good as the questions they ask of others.