Knowledge Bridge

Global Intelligence for the Digital Transition

Newsrooms need HR specialists not technologists in top roles

Now more than ever, news organizations need people with human resources skills in top leadership positions. Not in the sense of preparing company rulebooks and handling disciplinary procedures, but in finding, using and improving the talents of their staff, says Matt DeRienzo in Nieman Journalism Lab.

“A significant portion of your newsroom is hiding from you. They’re not openly resisting the push toward ‘digital first,’ or even disagreeing with it. They simply don’t know how to proactively step out of their comfort zone.” What journalists need are newsroom leaders to engage them one-on-one to share the strategic vision of the company and explain how they fit in and can help deliver the changes that are needed.

Putting digital people in charge won’t bring about effective recruitment, put ongoing learning at the heart of the organisation or help staff embrace change. What will is appointing someone who is “devoted to managing human capital, specialized in journalism and the challenges journalists face today”.

Here are some of the reasons why:

Shrinking newsrooms – as newsroom numbers fall, management need to be able to manage poor performers up or out, while also ensuring that top performers don’t jump ship.

Career counselling – “The best way to bring newsroom staff out of hiding is to engage them in a very personal dialogue about how your organization’s needs and priorities mesh with their own performance and career path.”

Constant change – However much change you’ve led your organisation through, you can be sure there’s more to come. Newsrooms need leaders who can identify and hire the right people and enforce change on staff who are struggling to adapt.

Read more:  Newsrooms need HR specialists, not just technologists, in top leadership

Article by Peter Whitehead

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