The above was spotted at the Johannesburg zoo …
Originally uploaded by hartleyr.
What makes for bad newsroom dynamics? I think it has something to do with unnatural selection. To succeed as a reporter, you must be competitive, individualistic and aggressive (old school, but still relevant, I think). If you succeed, you get promoted and you take all these traits onto the news desk with you. The result: good journalists sometimes become managers who communicate poorly, are unable to teach and who have aggressive (often passive aggressive) instincts.
They don’t have the patience to follow the strictures imposed by labour law when it comes to dealing with grievances and discipline and they end up demotivating their staff. Then the cycle continues.
There are some fantastic exceptions to this rule at the Sunday Times. They are news editors who prize excellence, but also grow and develop their staff.
The Times will start out its life with a culture that will be defined day-by-day by the myriad interactions on the floor. That culture must be one of excellence, fairness, an intolerance of innacuracy and hard work. But it must be built and nurtured by constant training and communication, communication, communication. Hence the decision to place managers on the floor with their staff and not in offices.
You know those (not so) funny Apple ads in which two stereotypes have a go at each other? Well, they have kind of played out in our discussion about the hardware platform we will be using for The Times. I `grew up’ on PCs, but have never liked them. The operating systems have never been sorted and the latest generation Vista seems to off to a bad start. And, when I was a student journalist (this is going to date me) I remember travelling up from Rhodes to Wits for one or another student gathering and admiring those first generation Macs that the Wits Student staff worked on. With The Times’s amazing multimedia team on my back, I made a play for a complete change to a Mac platform. I didn’t win the battle, largely because our editorial system is PC based in the rest of the operation and it was decided (wisely, I suppose) to keep production on the same platform. But our multimedia producers and photographers will be using Macs.
Now watch a really amusing take on Mac by Mad TV …
Just had a bad blogging experience. I just visited my picture blog which is hosted by Blogger (Google in disguise) to be confronted by a very nasty shock. Expecting to see the pictures of my toddler daughter which I had posted, I was instead confronted by some sicko’s gallery of pornographic comic images. I followed my gut and immediately logged on to Blogger and deleted the blog completely. I am now done with Blogger and I am very glad I listened to the advice of colleague Colin and started this one on WordPress, which appears to be free of this type of appalling URL problem. I’m not the only one with a problem …
When I visited Blogger’s trouble shooting centre I saw this:
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