Wick Communications

Play to your strength

In Management on 12 Jul 2012 at 8:14 pm

Design guru Ed Henninger made a good point in a recent blog post, which was picked up by the California Newspaper Publishers Association summer newsletter. He suggested that each newsroom has its strength and that editors would be wise to exploit it.

What he means is this: If the star of your organization is an investigative reporter, allow her to shine. If you have the best page designer in the state, make sure he has room to move. If your strength is an agile newsgathering team that always jumps on breaking news before the competition, make the most of that forte and announce it to the world.

That seems obvious. You are probably already leaning on your top performers, perhaps without really recognizing that you are doing it. …

Look, we’re all professionals. If you are like me, you pride yourself on your ability to write, edit, take photos, post to the Web, break news and write longer features – all on deadline. And, if you are like me, you know you are better at some of those things than others.

Consider a professional baseball team. Every member of the St. Louis Cardinals is very good and can do multiple things well. But manager Tony LaRussa is more likely to attempt to steal with Rafael Furcal than with Daniel Descalso. If he needs a save, he’s going to send Jason Motte into the game rather than Victor Marte. Even the very best have specialties. And the teams themselves have personalities. The Cardinals of the mid-1980s were a running team. Thirty years later they were blessed with the best hitter in baseball and counted on Albert Pujols rather than stolen bases.

While I think we do many things well, I often count on Half Moon Bay Review photographer Charlie Russo when we want to really show off. The page above was the jump page of this week’s newspaper and it’s largely Charlie’s work following a competition for junior lifeguards in our area. We could have run one photo and a 30-inch story, but I think we made the right decision.

Identify your strengths. And play to them.


  1. Clay, Good stuff on “Play To your Strength.” A number of good points. Kudos Charlie Russo on your super photos. I love the top photo along with the youngster in the water with everyone in the background. You definitely hit the mark. Nice package!

  2. On behalf of Charlie, thanks, Mike.

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