Leadership Report 2011

Leadership Report 2011

New practices shape transformative news leadership in the digital age
By Michele McLellan

image“The toughest choices are about resources today, and you have to pick the things that go to your core mission. Part of the answer is as much what you don’t do as what you do.”
Sherry Chisenhall, The Wichita Eagle

image“You have to constantly reiterate what the key practices and thinking are about the new world.”
Michael Skoler, Public Radio International

image“Tactics change constantly as the industry changes. As long as you have a good strategy, the tactics can change day to day.”
Carlos Sanchez, formerly Waco Tribune-Herald

image“Using an iPad, using an iPhone, using apps, location-based tools, mapping, etc., if you’re not using these things, you can’t understand the readers’ expectations.”
Carolyn Washburn, The Cincinnati Enquirer

The traditional local news organizations of today are unrecognizable in many ways from the ones that existed just five years ago. Visibly smaller in size and ambition, many have embraced digital and social media platforms. But they struggle to break with tradition and to find a mission and a revenue model that will assure their future beyond print.

Leadership has never mattered more for these organizations. For most leaders in today’s newsroom, the challenge is actually three challenges: Transform yourself, transform your bosses and transform your organization.

Dramatic shifts in the news landscape call for different ways of approaching news leadership. The top-down, perfectionist newsrooms of the past seem ill fitted to a digital paradigm, which favors collaboration, experimentation and a willingness to make mistakes in the open and learn from them.

This report highlights best practices that top leaders of news organizations who participated in Knight Digital Media Center leadership programs say have made them more effective as they seek to move their organizations forward.


Leadership Report 2011


Michele McLellan

This report was written by Michele McLellan, a journalist and consultant who works on projects that help foster a healthy local news ecosystem. As senior leadership consultant for [email protected], McLellan helped develop KDMC leadership programs in 2008-2011. She also blogs about key leadership best practices at Leadership 3.0.

Leadership Blog

Read News Leadership 3.0, a blog dedicated to exploring issues of digital newsroom leadership. Visit the blog.

Leadership Report 2011

Read the 2011 Leadership Report from KDMC.

Leadership Report 2009

Read the 2009 Leadership Report from KDMC.

Leadership Report 2008

Read the 2008 Leadership Report from KDMC.

Leadership Report 2007

Read the 2007 Leadership Report from KDMC.


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