How not to run a newsroom

How not to run a newsroom April 6, 2011

This comes from the legendary (some might say, infamous) Larry McCoy, my old boss at CBS News Radio.

Words to live by:

Now that I’ve been retired for five years I’m ready to offer some tips to current and future managers on what not to do when running a newsroom.

…Wind-up toys, especially those of body parts, are fun at parties and in bars but probably don’t belong on a manager’s desk. If they are on the desk, then they certainly should not be wound and put into action when someone comes in to see you, especially strangers or the mothers of staff members.

… People who work for you get tired of hearing the same wisecrack every day about their tie or shirt and hearing daily lewd descriptions of what their lunch or their hair looks like.

… Don’t assume that most people will read the staff memos you write, even though they should. When it becomes obvious that hardly anyone has read an important memo, don’t have a fit in public and throw the staff memo clipboard into the wastebasket or make a dramatic display of deleting the queue in the computer where staff memos are stored. If you do either of these things, then the four people who do always read staff memos can’t.

… Even if your organization – let’s call it the Jupiter News Service – is doing a horrible job chasing a big story, do not yell at the newest desk assistant, someone who has been there all of two days, ordering him to “Call Jupiter News Service and see what they’re doing on this story.” The kid won’t understand this attempt at sarcastic subtlety. And don’t forget, you may end up working for him some day.

… At the start of a writer’s audition, do not ask the candidate if she’s an idiot and when she says, “no,” add “good. Because we already have enough idiots.”

And those are just for starters.  Read the rest.

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