Operations leadership

Leadership postions for the newsroom operation are described in the syllabus and include the Web editor, TV news director, daybook editor, and podcast editor.

Newsroom leadership

Your course syllabus briefly describes several leadership roles for News Central and specifies that fully one-fourth of your grade in JOUR 4350 is comprised of your leadership activities. In the general scheme of things, "C" students will earn at least three leadership points during the semester. Leadership opportunities in News Central fall into three classes: Team leadership, Operations (newsroom) management, Individual enterprise / initiative.

Team-level leadership

EVERYONE on a news team is involved in researching the story and writing parts of the report. Researching means doing interviews; securing, manipulating and interpreting data sets; searching out what has already been written on the topic; checking relevant reference material for other background and contextual information.

The team leader orchestrates this research, making assignments so that 1) all aspects of the story are covered, 2) the workload for getting the story done is spread out as evenly as possible among the team members and 3) all video, audio, still images, graphics, scripts and other writeups are turned in on time for the appropriate producers / editors to package the report before the class deadline.

In directing the story research / writing, the team leader typically also directs discussion about how the pieces of the story will be presented. For example, you might have a lead story, a pair of sidebars, and some form of "service journalism." A story might suggest a table, chart or other graphic to help communicate important information. The team leader takes ultimate responsibility for mapping out all the pieces that will be needed to tell the story well – in print, online and over the air. He or she works closely with those who are producing each of these packages.

On budget meeting day, the Team Leader completes an online assignment sheet describing the story and what assignments are made. On the due date for the package, the leader turns in an "after report" that tells how things really went. The team leader is responsible for seeing that all elements of all packages are submitted according to newsroom workflow rules. Done well, this is one full leadership credit.

The TV editor-producer for a team is responsible for bringing together all the pieces of the story – according to the script – into a broadcast quality news segment of 2:00-2:30 duration. This involves a lot of moving pieces – script writing/editing, interview footage, VOs, SOTs, stand-ups, lead-ins, transitions, lighting, natural sounds etc. Assuming this person also did his/her part for researching and writing the story, this single-package position earns one leadership credit. The score here is also influenced by how well this person selected — for TV — from among all the material produced by the team.

NOTE: The team TV editor-producer selects from the material generated by the entire team. The TV package is NOT generated independently of the rest of the team.

Individual enterprise / initiative

You may want to tackle a story on your own, or you may want to assist with the MCTV Weekday Update. You may want to do a team or cross-team rewrite for Tech imPRESSions or the Mass Communicator magazines. Each of these is worthy of appropriate recognition. The following table outlines some of these activities and their leadership credit.

Function Description Pts
Video editing / production Creates video package for story
Camera operator Shoots video for story
Print rewrite Combines several persons' work into print package
Weekly update talent Anchor, teleprompter, other work specific to MCTV
Solo effort Story & packaging beyond basic requirements