Newsroom guidelines

By Tonie Auer
ASBPE National Blog Committee Chairwoman and DFW Chapter President

Editor and Publisher found a way to get its hands on Seven Guiding Principles for The Washington Times Newsroom developed by the paper’s new executive editor, John Solomon. I think these are great tips for any newsroom and thought you might want to follow suit and adopt something similiar for your own news organization.

What better way to motivate and guide your staff than by giving them an outline of what you expect? While his guidelines are a big on the vague side as far as what he truly expects from each of his staffers, I like the overall feel of them. To give a brief glimpse, I’ve just listed the subjects: excellence, integrity, convergence, enterprise, innovation, collaboration and profitability.

The last one may be the most important in today’s marketplace. If your publication isn’t profitable, it doesn’t matter how good the content is that you’re producing. You have to find a way to make the product sale. As a young (I like to think I’m still young, but having been in the business for almost 17 years, so I don’t think I qualify as young any more) idealistic reporter for a small daily, I was insulted with having to write advertorial copy. But, all these years later, I realize that we must all pull our weight without compromising our integrity. If that involves helping the newspaper make money, so be it. It also allows me to go after enterprising stories, too. The trick is to maintain the balance between letting advertising influence editorial. But I’m drifting off subject.

I like having goals and I like having something to shoot for. I applaud Solomon’s guidelines and encourage editors everywhere to create something similiar for their newsrooms. You never know who you might inspire.

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