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. Deputies and team members are capable of making tough decisions and deploying resources because our leader routinely shares information and power. (No one has to say, “What would the boss do?” We know what WE should do.) We know who’s in charge and we know we’re all responsible.