• 2009: Resolve to Lead and Win

    December 30th, 2008

    Most every broadcaster is dreading 2009.  It will be difficult, but with everyone around you severely distracted you must resolve to be a strong leader and take advantage of the situation.  You see, opportunity to gain market share abounds in 2009 if you focus on winning, not whining.

    So, while others may be distracted and depressed by budget cuts and a difficult revenue situation, make it your New Year's resolution to be a strong leader with a plan and the resolve to push it forward.  Here are 7 steps to do just that in 2009:

    • Be A Leader.  I have written about this before – don't simply manage your staff  – be a true leader and inspire them to meet your goals to gain audience share.  Have a vision, share the vision and stay on point for that vision every day of the year.
    • Communicate.  The vision must be communicated to the news staff every day beginning with the morning meeting.  As the leader, you must set the agenda that meets your image goals every day.  Hold frequent news staff meetings to inspire them to follow your vision.  Celebrate victories on a daily basis.
    • Set Newsroom Expectations.   Everyone sets newsroom goals – you must set newsroom expectations.  Clearly outline what you expect from each employee.  What is their individual role in executing your vision?   Set the expectation – and hold them accountable.  Many managers miss the second step in that sentence.  Leaders don't miss that step.
    • Stay Focused on Your Goals.  Set goals to make your newscast different and better in a manner that is valued by viewers – and then keep laser-focused on that goal every day – and be sure the news staff buys-in and meets your expectations every day.
    • Execute.  It's an old cliche – but you must walk the talk every day.  Execute your goals - and hold your staff accountable for that daily execution.
    • It's Still All About The Economy.   The economy – and surviving it – remains the most important daily content for your viewers in 2009.  You must be on top of this story – and in touch with your viewers every day.
    • Multi-Platform News Delivery.   Make a resolution to improve your delivery of local news content on multiple platforms in 2009.  To connect with your viewers - you must be available not only on air – and not only on the Internet – but also on the other portable devices they use every day.  Vow to deliver news on a continuous basis throughout the day.

    So, there you have it, seven goals that will make you and your newscasts extremely successful in 2009.   Be a leader – and refuse to be distracted from your mission.

    Happy New Year!




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  • Installing a News Brand = Heavy Lifting

    December 9th, 2008

    It takes a lot of heavy lifting on a daily basis to install a news brand at your TV station.  You have to recognize all the sub-cultures at play in the newsroom.  Make no mistake – this process goes far beyond holding one newsroom meeting and expecting everyone to go forth and brand your newscast in a unique and valued style.

    You must obtain buy-in – and understanding – from many factions that populate your newsroom.  Here's a look at the ones I have seen during this branding process over the years:

    The Old Timers:  This is the “we've always done it this way” crowd.  Some have been at the station for many, many years – others just act as if they've been around that long.  These folks are stubborn, set in their ways, and believe you should just put news on the air and viewers will flock to your station.

    The Skeptics:  This newsroom sub-culture runs rampant in most stations.  They don't trust anyone and any ideas – unless it is their own.  They always are looking for the “real reason” you want to go to this brand of journalism.  They need lots of conversation – and reasons – to win them over.

    The Rebellious:  They simply refuse to change their ways – and news style – and make no bones about it – outside of the newsroom.  Most times these are photographers who chide reporters for wanting the photog to shoot video of them working on behalf of the viewers.  Like the “Old Timers” they see no reason to change the way they have been doing things all these years – and they are always rebelling against the ideas in the car on the way to news stories – but never to the boss directly.

    The Nod 'N No's:  You've seen this group before.  You explain what they need to do, they nod and smile, and then do it just like they always have.  They are sneaky about their rebellion against this new style of journalism.

    The Get It 'N Go's:  This is usually a small subculture in the newsroom but are very valuable.  These are the “doers” – you explain what needs to be done, why it needs to be done, and they make it happen.  Unfortunately, in most newsrooms these folks don't get enough credit and attention because managers are dealing with all the naysayer groups instead – trying to convert them.

    The Slow To Grasp: You undoubtedly have a number of these folks in your newsroom.  You explain the plan, and the reasoning, over and over to them – but they just can't seem to grasp the concepts.  I see alot of this in producers – which really hurts efforts to install a brand of journalism.  They are not against the plans – they just don't know whay you have to change – and don't seem to retain the information.

    The Toes In The Water:  These are the more timid souls in your news department.  They try to showcase this new style of journalim – but in a tentative way.  They want to do it – but wonder if their peers will think less of them because they can't do it well.  These folks need constant reinforcement and feedback.

    The Brand Leaders:  These are the most important people in the newsroom to help you instill your new brand across the board.  Ideally, this group is lead by the anchors – who give you total buy-in, and become brand ambassadors – inside and outside the newsroom.  Besides anchors, you want your newsroom opinion leaders to also fit this category – it speeds the buy-in process across the board.

    So, there you go.  How many of these sub-cultures reside in your newsroom?


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