Accurately representing one's readership population can be difficult, but throw in the act of perpetually seeking new ideas for said population, and an editor's job is never done. In Robert Haiman's "Best Practices for Newspaper Journalists" section titled "Newspapers are unfair when: The lack diversity" addresses how the public views news organizations policies on forming a diverse staff.
A few of the lines that jumped out at me include: "Acknowledge that there are diverse opinions in minority communities, what some have called the, "diversity of diversity," and embrace this fact in all of your actions on behalf of diversity. Beyond race and gender, keep in mind that economic class diversity also broadens a newsroom's perspective." To me this quote reinforces the fact that you can't please everyone, no matter what you do, who you hire, what you write, etc. However, you can always seek to be the best at what you do. And to do this, creativity is most likely required in some form.
In Shelby Coffey's "Best Practices: The Art of Leadership in News Organizations," there are two sections devoted to the topic of Innovation. Continuously trying to "stay ahead of the curve" and hook reader's interest is not an easy mission. It takes a well spring of creativity, and like I wrote above, not every creative angle that you try will please the masses all at once.
Concerning his organization's creative attempts, Jack Fuller said, "It wasn't like anybody had a grand design. As in most experiences, a lot of [the ideas] didn't work, or they worked briefly and then they flashed out." But that doesn't mean that his organization stopped trying, because then they would be entirely behind in the game. Mark Whitaker said, "At Newsweek, we call it throwing spaghetti against the wall. You throw the spaghetti against the wall and you see whether it sticks. You get reader feedback." Finding out what the majority of the public is interested in shows that something works, although there's no guarantee for how long that interest will last.
Coffey also had another section titled "September 11" that covered leader's quotes regarding the practice of news on September 11, 2001. Out of all of the responses, I am inspired by Steve Isenberg's the most: "Shame on any organization that does not see this as a moment in which its deepest institutional purposes and obligations must be fully honored, and I don't just mean news organizations. This is a moment of honor as well as corporate citizenship, and if you don't rise to it now, then when the hell will you rise to it?"
Most everyone has a deep, personal memory of where they were when the September 11th attacks took place, and through what media they learned of it. My eighth grade gym class had been cancelled as every class was suspended, leaving the entire school absent of sound as our eyes were glued to the small TV screens within each room. I don't think that us kids really understood what was happening, but the news reporters seemed to be on the front lines of whatever strange world we had woken up in that day. I believe that the level of seriousness coupled with the obvious emotion apparent in each journalist and TV news anchor made that day's events real. I wasn't in NY when it happened; the closest thing I'd seen to what was happening were special effects in movies. But the reporter's reactions made them real. I knew that these people weren't acting like they were afraid, they really were, even as they did their best to report on what they were seeing. That day was when many reporters rose to their moment of honor, but leaders realize that such moments can be great or small. And whatever the size of the event, leaders should strive to live up to that honor.
If you'd like to read what my classmates are saying on these subjects, just click.