OLD Media Moves

Reuters editor in chief: Managers will take greater role in training

December 21, 2014

Posted by Chris Roush

Reuters-LogoReuters editor in chief Steve Adler sent the following message about its editorial training program to managers:

We are about to announce changes in our training – or “learning” – program, and I’d like to share with you my perspective on what we are doing, and why.

First, I want to make clear that training is hugely important to any news organization, and that it continues to have particular resonance at Reuters. At the same time, it’s crucial that what, and how, we learn keeps up with how Reuters and our industry are evolving. We have to ensure that new and long-tenured staffers alike are proficient in basic skills and procedures, as well as in newer areas such as social media, data journalism, and use of mobile technology tools. And we have to do so within the tighter budgets that we all face, as market pressures affecting our industry continue to constrain our spending.

In general, I believe that the most effective learning happens on the job – when it is integrated into what we do day-to-day – and that most journalists, myself included, have learned most of what we know about the craft from supervisors and, especially, our peers. Formal training has its place and will continue. More focused efforts to leverage the knowledge and skill of our news professionals to teach each other will intensify. Overall, I believe this will make us stronger, though I know some will regret the reduced emphasis on the stand-alone training operation.

So here are the changes: Effective January 2015, the Learning Managers in each region will report directly to the Regional Editors, instead of into a central training organization. This new approach will still require a dedicated training team, though one that is smaller than it is today. The training teams, working with the regional editors, eic’s, and bureau chiefs, will concentrate on understanding our greatest skills gaps and provide formal training where it will have the biggest impact. This will also allow us to take a more tailored approach to regional needs when necessary.

Under this new approach, all of us will need to think differently about developing our own skills and those of people in our bureaus and teams. This means, in particular, that managers will need to treat training and development as key elements of their role. I’ve found that most good managers get much of their job satisfaction from helping their staffs get better and advance in their careers, so I trust that our emphasis on staff development as a key part of a manager’s responsibilities will be a good thing for managers, as well as for their teams.

I’ve also been a big advocate of our identifying “black belts” on our teams – people who are especially strong at some element of what we do, whether it is developing sources, or analyzing data, or covering war zones, or snapping financial results – and calling on these journalists to help teach their skills to others. The new system will provide us with some mechanisms for engaging these talented people more fully in the learning effort world-wide.

I’m counting on you, as leaders, to seize the challenge of enhancing your effectiveness as teachers and trainers, and enlisting the black belts in your midst to help out. I will also need you to help your teams understand the changes and recognize that training still remains a high priority at Reuters. I am confident that, as the changes take effect, people will discover for themselves the benefits of the new approach.

Thanks and best regards, Steve

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