Journalists embrace management opportunities — and train for them

“Journalists must recognize that we don’t have superpowers and we need to be trained in the art of delegating.”

Journalism is not just the (beautiful) art of reporting, writing, and publishing. Successful journalists are now those who can develop and embrace their inner manager. Those who have developed the skills to write strong business plans and powerful elevator pitches. Those who understand the difference between price and cost and can establish diverse revenue streams. All without ever leaving behind journalism that matters. Not easy.

In 2022, we can expect to see a boom in the number of management, entrepreneurship, and sustainability courses, fellowships, and hubs focused on media. That’s very good news: Let’s grab these opportunities.

As the number of layoffs rises in journalism, the number of reporters, editors, and photographers deciding to become entrepreneurs grows. But when put into management positions, journalists often struggle with tough scenarios that can be strategically handled — if they reach out for help and training.

Among media startups, it’s quite common to find control freaks in charge. They’re usually journalists who believe they can not only keep track of the production line but also handle all issues related to human resources, finance, and marketing. I used to be one of those fake superheroes, and I can tell you that it’s not worth it.

Reporters are used to overseeing the entire production line. They pitch, they interview, they write, they edit video, and sometimes they even write headlines for best SEO. But it’s just impossible to repeat that approach in a management position. No one can keep track of all payments, update business plans, launch marketing campaigns, look out for the best hires and interview them all, while also editing dozens of articles per week. Burnout is right around the corner.

Hence sustainability hubs, management courses and fellowships for entrepreneurs should be welcomed. It’s time to replicate successful approaches like Velocidad, an accelerator for independent media in Latin America, and develop more resources like those from the Membership Puzzle Project. The newsrooms that took part in Velocidad, for example, flourished with management and sustainable mentorship, in addition to direct investment. (See some of their lessons learned.)

And there will be plenty of opportunities in the year ahead for media entrepreneurs at organizations like mine (the International Center for Journalists), the Poynter Institute and Reuters Journalism Institute, just to name a few. Journalists must recognize that we don’t have superpowers and we need to be trained in the art of delegating.

For 2022, I strongly advise reading and learning about product and project management. You’re already an awesome reporter. Now become an awesome manager too — the industry will be thankful.

Cristina Tardáguila is a senior program director at the International Center for Journalists.

Journalism is not just the (beautiful) art of reporting, writing, and publishing. Successful journalists are now those who can develop and embrace their inner manager. Those who have developed the skills to write strong business plans and powerful elevator pitches. Those who understand the difference between price and cost and can establish diverse revenue streams. All without ever leaving behind journalism that matters. Not easy.

In 2022, we can expect to see a boom in the number of management, entrepreneurship, and sustainability courses, fellowships, and hubs focused on media. That’s very good news: Let’s grab these opportunities.

As the number of layoffs rises in journalism, the number of reporters, editors, and photographers deciding to become entrepreneurs grows. But when put into management positions, journalists often struggle with tough scenarios that can be strategically handled — if they reach out for help and training.

Among media startups, it’s quite common to find control freaks in charge. They’re usually journalists who believe they can not only keep track of the production line but also handle all issues related to human resources, finance, and marketing. I used to be one of those fake superheroes, and I can tell you that it’s not worth it.

Reporters are used to overseeing the entire production line. They pitch, they interview, they write, they edit video, and sometimes they even write headlines for best SEO. But it’s just impossible to repeat that approach in a management position. No one can keep track of all payments, update business plans, launch marketing campaigns, look out for the best hires and interview them all, while also editing dozens of articles per week. Burnout is right around the corner.

Hence sustainability hubs, management courses and fellowships for entrepreneurs should be welcomed. It’s time to replicate successful approaches like Velocidad, an accelerator for independent media in Latin America, and develop more resources like those from the Membership Puzzle Project. The newsrooms that took part in Velocidad, for example, flourished with management and sustainable mentorship, in addition to direct investment. (See some of their lessons learned.)

And there will be plenty of opportunities in the year ahead for media entrepreneurs at organizations like mine (the International Center for Journalists), the Poynter Institute and Reuters Journalism Institute, just to name a few. Journalists must recognize that we don’t have superpowers and we need to be trained in the art of delegating.

For 2022, I strongly advise reading and learning about product and project management. You’re already an awesome reporter. Now become an awesome manager too — the industry will be thankful.

Cristina Tardáguila is a senior program director at the International Center for Journalists.

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