Wick Communications

Trust us

In journalism on July 24, 2014 at 2:47 pm

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Jim Conaghan has me thinking about the concept of trust. He is the vice president of research and industry analysis at the Newspaper Association of America, and this week, writing for NetNewsCheck, he brought attention to current research on whether the public trusts the mainstream media.

The answer is somewhat mixed, though I think we would all agree that we could use a shot of credibility these days.

Here’s one aspect of his column I found fascinating. Quoting a study from the University of Haifa that looked at impressions of the media in 44 countries, Conaghan notes that people who look at mainstream media more often are more likely to trust what they read, see and hear. Why is that?

I suspect it is partly because those who spend the most time with us are likely to realize that, while we make mistakes from time to time, we are trustworthy on the whole. They see enough to know we are trying. …

Make meaningful work possible

In Management on July 24, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Brainy quote I want to speak to editors and newsroom managers now: The most important thing you can do as a manager, right now, today, this instant, is to help team members engage in work that is personally meaningful to them. Say it to yourself until it becomes a mantra.

Monique Valcour is a management professor at EDHEC University in France. She discussed this management truism in an essay last week published by the Harvard Business Review.

Provide the people in your employ with opportunities to engage in meaningful work. Keep saying it.

It’s why I find it pretty easy to hire reporters and photographers. Folks in our field want to contribute to the common good and communicate with the people around them. I can help them with that opportunity. It’s a much more powerful motivator than money. Don’t think so? Consider how many fulfilled people work in nonprofits and how many miserable pro athletes you see on television.

But here’s the trick. After you’ve hired a talented, competent reporter who is intelligent, curious and interested in the people you cover, you have to empower her to engage in work that is personally meaningful to her.

When workplace disharmony gets in the way of our task at one of our newspapers, the root cause is most likely that managers don’t see the forest because they are lost in the trees. They want more production from reporters. They argue over covering weekend shifts or night meetings. They dither over byline counts. They would do well to put ego aside and help their team members engage in work that is personally meaningful to them. …

Save newspapers for Sundays?

In journalism on July 24, 2014 at 2:35 pm

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David Boardman shook up the journalism world last week with his breathtakingly well written and passionate suggestion that newspapers are dying. Actually, that doesn’t do his piece justice. You should read it yourself.

The important caveat for Boardman is that Sundays are still an opportunity to go long, that Americans will still get their fingers dirty on the seventh day, when presumably, we all have time to sit around and think about the world. He suggests a vigorous Sunday product with long-form journalism and all the rest, and an acknowledgement that the rest of the print stuff has to go. He suggests using those resources now spent Monday through Saturday editions be put toward “more reporters, photographers, videographers, data journalists, software developers, mobile designers, social-media experts, workflow architects, marketing strategists and digital advertising pros.”

Boardman, who is dean of the Temple University School of Media and Communication, president of the American Society of News Editors and chairman of the Poynter Institute’s National Advisory Board, says the future is digital and only deniers and liars would suggest otherwise. …

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