The Carnival of Journalism is back and I’m hostin’!
I posed the question to the crew:
What are small, incremental steps one can make to fuel change in their media organization?
(Yes, we’d all like to swing in our newsroom, lay some boot heels on chests,Â hoist the black flagÂ and change everything by the end of business on Monday — but the reality is, that ain’t happening unless you have a couple buckets of cash to buy a paper of your choice and a rusty saber.)Â So what are some realistic, real-world examples of free (or cheap) ways you can help fuel change at your newsroom.
Imagine an enormous, heavy flywheel â€” a massive disc mounted horizontally on an axle, measuring 30Â feet in diameter, two feet in thickness and 5,000 poundsÂ in weight. In order to get the flywheel moving, youÂ must push it. Its progress is slow; your consistent effortsÂ may only move it a few inches at first. Over time, however, it becomes easier to move the flywheel, and itÂ rotates with increasing ease, carried along by itsÂ momentum. The breakthrough comes when the wheel’sÂ own heavy weight does the bulk of the work for you,Â with an almost unstoppable force.
Each of the good-to-great companies experienced theÂ flywheel effect in their transformations. The first effortsÂ in each transformation were almost imperceptible. Yet,Â over time, with consistent, disciplined actions propelling it forward, each company was able to build onÂ its momentum and make the transformation â€” a build-up that led to a breakthrough. The momentum they builtÂ was then able to sustain their success over time.
- Michele McLellan: Dance of Change
“Reward people who try something new. Stop noticing mistakes for while and focus your newsroom on fresh approaches. Talk about them this way: â€Letâ€™s pretend we love this story and talk about why we love it.â€ (Inexact quote from Roy Peter Clark, who was talking about storytelling.) Lead your newsroom in thinking about why something new is good and build from there. Make it a weekly contest: The person who comes up with the best new practice and the person who makes the best suggestion for improving it wins the editorâ€™s parking space for a day.”
- Tim Windsor: Budget cuts hurting? Here are some free ideas to improve your news organization
“4. Iâ€™ve beat this particular drum previously, so Iâ€™ll keep it short here. But youâ€™ve got a roomful of subject-matter experts; having them just report is wasting more than half their brains.”
- Bryan Murley: Pick one thing to innovate
“If everyone on staff committed to do just one thing with their online presence, I think newspapers would move forward at a much faster clip. Following this yearâ€™s presidential campaign, one quote from struck me: ‘Change wonâ€™t come from the top down, but from the bottom up.’”
- Adam Tinworth: Three steps to start newsroom change
“Get out of the office. You have a laptop and a mobile phone. That’s all you need to do journalism. Get out there, amongst your readers and your market, and talk, network, record and report. We spend too much time talking to our colleagues and not enough to our contacts. The first technological shift journalism has been through – the arrival of computers – tied us to our desks. The second shift – the pervasive internet – should free us from them once more. “
- Patrick Thorton: Today is the day for change in your newsroom
“Organizations with modern work flows are often more innovative. Now, maybe you canâ€™t change your whole newsroom work flow overnight, but you can at least change how your team works. Maybe just your team adopts Google Docs to share ideas, but it will still make your team more efficient and allow you to produce better results.” Here’s a very, very similar proposal I put together earlier this year.
- Paul Bradshaw: Real Life Tips for Changing Newsroomsl
“Regularly distribute information internally to all reporters and editors about what is happening on the website – popular stories, most commented on, bookmarked, old stories getting new interest, most visited on mobile, what times most accessed, where traffic is coming from, what search terms are most popular, what stories are getting a ‘long tail’ of small but consistent traffic.”
- Will Sullivan: 10 ridiculously cheap, relatively easy, small steps you can take to change an old school newsroom culture to be more forward thinking and web friendly
“You canâ€™t force change but you can make smaller changes to re-educate people, open up communication lines, get them thinking about innovation, help erode resistance and bring about the evolution. Here are some things weâ€™ve done at the Post-Dispatch since Iâ€™ve joined to help change the newsroom culture…”
- John Ndege: What are small, incremental steps one can make to fuel change at their media organization?
“So how do you change the culture? Its tough. But it has to come from the top. You need to mold the culture into one that accepts and welcomes change. That is crucial. Because it is a willingness to change that allows for development and improvement. How do you get people to embrace change? You sell them the story of the advances that will come from it. You encourage innovation and forward thinking and develop a culture that doesnâ€™t demonise failures.”
- Andy Dickinson: Free tips for successful newsrooms
“Iâ€™ve said this over and over again , make some time, even if itâ€™s just an hour a week for your staff to play. Try the web, join a club, anything that gets them out of the run of the daily grind and in a different mindset. But one thing I would add is that this is not just the responsibility of the management to make the space. Individuals have to use the time to play, not to go home early.”
- Alfred Hermida: Experiment, accept imperfection, learn from failure
“Here, news organisations can learn from Google – encourage your staff to experiment, try out new projects, and yes, perhaps fail. But think small. Encourage ideas that require little investment in time and resources and might be far from perfect in their first iteration. Donâ€™t try to reinvent the wheel by wasting time and effort on replicating online tools. There are dozens of online resources so use those, rather than creating your own version.”
- Charlie Beckett: Free practical tips to change your news organisation
“So my tip is this. Make sure that your change agents match the people you are trying to change.”
- Adrian Monck: Organise your audience
“Stuff the plugins. Go organise your audience. The New Yorker and the Economist run events and debates. Britainâ€™s Daily Telegraph sponsors small literary festivals across its heartland. If the community your paper serves is losing ways to celebrate its existence, step into the gap.”
- Dave Cohn: Real World Tips for Changing Newsroom Culture
“Be prepared to fail and don’t take that as a mark against you. Failing is great if it’s because you were trying something brand new. Fall flat on your face, get up and show people your scars (chicks dig scars).”
- Jack Lail: Seven ways to get lucky with innovation
“4) Celebrate victories, milestones, people. They are your treasures.
5) Persevere — even in a head wind.
6) Tell people you’ve done something cool. Shoot up fireworks if necessary.”