Like finding a “lucky charm,” I zeroed in on this lovely metaphor in the wonderful “News, Improved” (required reading for anyone interested in staying excited about their journalism job … and transforming their newsrooms).
The quote is from Dana Robbins, editor of the The Hamilton Spectator (Ontario, Canada), which has pulled off some creative “Revolutions” over the years:
Training is like pixie dust. It makes magic happen. [emphasis mine]
It took us 18 months to gear up for the launch of Revolution 1. Revolution 2 we did in less than three. A huge part of that was the function of the training, development and cultural work we did in between.
Any news organization that believes it can move forward without investing in the development of its staff is kidding itself. In fact, there has probably never been a time when it has been more absolutely crucial to grow the capacity of the people in our newsrooms. (p. 98)
How best to transform our newsroom from “a static, defensive organization to a nimble, constructive one?”
The authors of “News, Improved” summarize quite nicely:
Lead and communicate. Set goals and measure progress. Improve culture. Involve staff. Make the news more readable, useful, convenient, relevant. Train. Teach. Learn. Innovate. And then train some more. Repeat continuously. (p. 111)
This is why I added “engagement” to my “social media editor” job title. My mission is best summed up in the “About Me” section of this blog:
I want to help our newsroom innovate and engage with our communities, creating more imaginative and useful journalism. I’m convinced these missions go hand-in-hand: Creativity is spurred by social collisions and learning opportunities, real and digital. That means more and better sharing, coaching, training … and partying. If individual journalists are growing and having fun, the journalism should reflect that.