jack webster foundation

We gratefully acknowledge our sponosors of the 2019 Jack Webster Awards:

JWF Fellowships to the Poynter Institute for Print, Broadcast and Online News Journalists

Poynter Experience

Reports from:Laura Baziuk | Alexa Huffman

Laura BaziukLaura Baziuk
BC Digital Editor, Black Press Media

Course: Essential Skills for Rising Newsroom Leaders - A seminar for beginners and industry veterans at the Poynter Institute, Dec. 2018.

On the first day of the seminar at the Poynter Institute last December, participants finally got to see the results of a 360-degree review done by a small group of their coworkers, including supervisors and subordinates on their overall work performance. The feedback, which was not anonymous, helped shape the rest of the five-day seminar: What do you want to achieve or change when you go back to work?

My experience at Poynter was incredibly helpful, insightful, and inspiring. I went in with areas I wanted help with, such as how to better engage and support a team of 180 journalists in all corners of B.C., and lead with an achievable plan, great suggestions, and new energy. The topics covered, such as motivating staff, changing culture, time management, and conflict resolution were interesting, relevant and well delivered. The overall atmosphere was welcoming, relaxed, and non-judgmental.

I also appreciated discussing the topics in different ways, such as brainstorming as a group, talking with a partner, and talking one-one one with a coach. Each of the 45 or so participants, from as far away as Denmark and Thailand, had a 30-minute session with an instructor or coach to talk about whatever they wanted: your 360 review, a project you want to try, your career path, a problem employee, etc. It was also useful to hear how others experienced similar or opposite problems, as it helped me appreciate my role and understand my own strengths and weaknesses. And the experience is not over.

The instructors set up a Facebook group, and many of us are posting there each day, sharing how we've implemented our ideas, how our co-workers (and bosses) are reacting, and especially our successes. This Facebook group is almost as valuable as the seminar itself because it helps keep what we learned alive and top of mind. It is so easy to fall back into the daily grind and not work on your long-term goals. The instructors set us up to succeed once we'd left St. Petersburg, and this forum is self-directing and continuously inspiring.

I am deeply grateful for the support from the Jack Webster Foundation to be able to attend this seminar and further my professional and personal development. I would highly recommend the seminar to anyone in a position of leadership, not necessarily management. From new perspectives, new skills, new challenges and new gratitude, there is so much to gain.

Alexa HuffmanAlexa Huffman
Digital News Editor, CHEK News

Course: Essential Skills for Rising Newsroom Leaders - A seminar for beginners and industry veterans at the Poynter Institute, Dec. 2018.

Essential Skills for Rising Newsroom Leaders- a seminar that gives supervisors and managers the tools they need to lead people in their newsrooms - was an engaging course that I would recommend to others. A week-long seminar that offers different sessions, the teaching team balanced group exercises with one-on-one coaching.

As someone who is in their first role with leadership responsibilities, I was worried this course would be out of my league. However, the leader of each session found a way to speak to everyone. We learned about different management styles, employee engagement, how to deal with conflict and how to build better relationships with bosses and staff.

I really appreciated the coaching sessions. I did two coaching sessions: one with Marcy McGinnis, a communications trainer from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, and one with Roy Peter Clark, senior scholar emeritus with The Poynter Institute. Marcy McGinnis worked as a senior producer with CBS and was able to help me develop a plan to enhance the digital skills of the television reporters I work with. Roy Peter Clark and I spoke more about how to balance my writing and supervising duties in the newsroom.

There were other sessions during the week that focused on journalism skills, including one on finding meaning in journalism and another on digital tools. One of the best moments of the week was when all the leaders and participants discussed future career goals and memorable moments during our careers.

I really liked meeting all the other participants. Most of them were from around the United States but some were from other countries like Denmark. They shared different perspectives, and many offered support when I had to discuss some challenging feedback I got from one of my bosses. I believe we will all keep in touch.

I would definitely recommend this course to new supervisors/managers and people who have worked in media for a while. Based on my experience, it really helps to get away from the newsroom and evaluate what is working and what is not with other people who understand the media business.

I would like to thank the Jack Webster Foundation for awarding me with the fellowship. The JWF Fellowship enabled me to attend the course and I'm very grateful I had a chance to develop new skills for my journalism career.

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