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Motivating journalists and encouraging original ideas
Your daily news meeting should set the tone for everything your news organisation does.
It should be dynamic, brimming with original ideas and angles, inclusive and agenda-setting.
The news meeting should be something members of your news team prepare for and look forward to, not sleep through or dread.
They should arrive eager to get their story ideas accepted and there should be an atmosphere of risk-taking and adventure.
To achieve this editors must motivate staff, develop an ideas culture, ensure people are alert, keep the news meetings moving and allow enough time for discussing story development and treatment.
The following tips have been submitted by media professionals either directly to this site or via a discussion on the Media Helping Media LinkedIn group. Please add your own comments below or on the LinkedIn discussion.
Encourage risk-taking – let staff know you are not interested in playing it safe
Ten tips that might help get more out of your journalists
1: Encourage ideas
Former BBC journalist and media trainer Bob Doran says it's important for the editor to go round the team asking journalists one by one what ideas they have.
Don’t let anybody hog the news meetings and ensure all have their say
2: Instil confidence
Rod McKenzie, editor of BBC Radio 1 & 1Xtra’s Newsbeat says coming up with ideas can be as much about a state of mind for journalists as about having sources.
Never humiliate staff if they miss the mark, it could damage confidence
3: Keep their feet on the ground
Former BBC editor and media trainer Ian Parkinson says it's important to ensure your journalists stay in touch with the audience.
Make sure your journalists are connecting with the audience
4: Make sure they read between the lines
Rod McKenzie also says it's important for journalists to look for stories in the news they consume.
Encourage your journalists to always be on the look out for stories when they read, view and listen.
5: Insist on evidence
Bob Doran also insists on journalists supporting story ideas with facts.
Instil a culture where all ideas suggested are backed up with evidence
6: Praise them when things go well
I always thought a pat on the back worked wonders.
Acknowledge excellence when your journalists deliver and hope it spreads
The following suggestions were posted in a discussion on the Media Helping Media LinkedIn group.
7: Pitch in and show the team you can do the job too
Sam Obbo, a media consultant from Uganda says that it is important that editors pitch in.
Show empathy for your news team
8: Show your journalists you appreciate them and mean it
Abel Dzobo, Operations Director Kreativehive Corps says editors often do not appreciate journalists enough and should consider letting them cover the stories and issues that mean most to them.
Let your staff cover the stories that matter to them
9: Connect with your team
Magda Abu-Fadil, Director at Media Unlimited, says it’s important that the editor is seen as one of the team and is not an aloof boss.
Don't stand aloof from your team and lead by example
10: Let them enjoy their own success
Harishchandra Bhat says it is important to give journalists enough room to express themselves.
Encourage journalists to express themselves
And if all these tips fail, threaten them
But Dan Ehrlich, a newspapers professional, takes a no-nonsense old school approach. He says that when met with a mini rebellion at the local US TV newsroom he was running he called a general news meeting and "laid it all out in no uncertain terms." He says he recalls it went something like this:
Lay it on the line, shape up or ship out
So advice from a few in the know. Take your pick or add your comments below.
And don't forget...
You can always invite your journalists to look at our training module offering 24 tips for journalists who are finding it difficult to come up with ideas and find stories.
Note, the picture used in this piece was taken by Rego Korosi and released under Creative Commons
The author of this piece, David Brewer, is a journalist and media strategy consultant who set up and runs Media Helping Media. He delivers media strategy training and consultancy services worldwide. His business details are at Media Ideas International Ltd. He tweets @helpingmedia.
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