If you ever get the chance to sit in on Kevin Benz’ session “No more A**holes in the Newsroom” you will quickly learn these type of managers poison a newsroom, cost the company money and force good workers to leave.
Benz is a former news director with many years of experience in management. Today as a news consultant he teaches managers how to be productive leaders. He’s also the former chair of RTDNA.
I attended his session at Excellence in Journalism conference in 2016. “We can’t expect things to change if we don’t get help changing it” Benz told a packed room. His session was based on a book called, “The No A**hole Rule.”
Part of it included a test, “Are you an A**hole?”
Benz reminded managers “You’ve got to remember the power of the words you use with people.”
Benz says the number one reason people leave newsrooms is because of their immediate supervisors and it has nothing to do with pay or job location. He also urges news directors to watch the relationship between managers and other employees.
This month I celebrate 34 years as a reporter. Today I still have the same passion for news that I had when I started in the business in 1981. I didn’t get into journalism to become rich, but I have been given a richness of experiences that money can’t buy.
In the coming weeks I will share more about my 34 year journey so far in news. I’ve been hired and fired. I’ve made a salary so low I could have applied for government help. It’s true. I’ve also made great money in the six figures.
I have had great mentors, and have mentored many who have gotten into the business. I’ve seen many great journalists leave the business because they were discouraged or burned out. I have also seen others continuing to push on in a business that has changed and forced them to work longer hours for less money.
Along the way I have had opportunities to do some amazing stories and meet interesting and courageous people. And yes, I have also interviewed many politicians, entertainers, community leader and criminals.
Journalists are messengers, and that’s what I do. Real journalists care about the story, not whether they have enough “likes” on their Facebook page. Real journalists are constantly looking for the next story.
I’m proud to be a real journalist and today a freelancer. That means I’m my own boss.
If reporter Charlo Greene wanted her video to go viral. Mission accomplished!
So far her video posted by the Alaska Dispatch has close to 8 million hits and counting. If Greene wanted her name to be mentioned on national TV talk shows. She accomplished that too. Wendy Williams, The View, Fox News are just a few who rolled Greene’s video.
The KTVA-TV reporter in Alaska quit her job Sunday night while she was on-air. Not only did she shock her viewers with “F#@k it, I quit!”, but she also let everyone know she’s the owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, and she plans to help legalize pot in Alaska.
Greene told viewers “Now, everything you’ve heard is why I, the actual owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, will be dedicating all of my energy toward fighting for freedom and fairness, which begins with legalizing marijuana here in Alaska…”
Greene also told Vice.com that she bought a business license for her cannabis club in April 2014. I noticed that around that time she was doing five-part series for KTVA-TV on examining marijuana legalization in Colorado, Washington, and Alaska.
OK interesting career change.
Lets be honest, we have all thought once in our careers of doing what Greene did…you know go out big. Some are calling Greene brave and bold, and of course her critics think she’s gone off the deep end. BBob70 posted on YouTube “Publicity stunt of a pot fan. This woman is no hero.”
Her supporters like Kross-Slash777 on YouTube shared “I can’t believe how many people are bad mouthing her. I love this chick honestly lol who else has the guts to do what she did?”
THANKS FOR LEAVNG THE NEWS BUSINESS
Greene has only been a TV reporter about three years. She graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington in 2011. I often go to that university to speak to students majoring in journalism. It’s a great school with a good program and excellent professors. It’s too bad Greene didn’t think for one minute that her alma mater would be brought into her self-created-drama.
As a veteran reporter, I’m glad Greene has taken herself out of the news business. We need people who care about journalism, not self-promotion. Remember our job is about giving the news not becoming the news.
Maybe she really is on a mission to legalize pot. Someone has to do it.
But Sunday night Greene proved three things: She is about promoting herself, promoting her new business and the hell with anyone else who gets in her way.
It was unfair and unprofessional that she humiliated the weekend anchor. It was unfair to the producer who today may be questioned “how did you let this happen?” And it was unfair to her KTVA news director who was left to clean up Greene’s on-air mess.
GREENE’S EXIT HURT WOMEN OF COLOR IN JOURNALISM
Charlo Greene’s actions were also unfair to women of color in journalism. Greene hurt us too.
I know some of you don’t want to go there, but minority women do not have it easy in the news business. The facts are in this report by the Women’s Media Center on The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2014. Not only do we have to break through a glass ceiling, but we also have to punch through a brick wall to mark our place and succeed in news.
Women of color in news have to overcome stereotypes that unfairly label Latinas, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Native Americans. You can’t imagine how many minority women I have seen come and go in my 33 years in this career.
I wish Greene would have thought for one second of all the minority women in journalism who have fought for decades to create equal opportunities, build a strong voice, and secure our place in the news business. I’m one of those women, and we continue fighting today for our place in newsrooms around the country. In many cases we sacrifice our own jobs to be heard.
I don’t know Charlo Greene personally, but maybe she didn’t have it easy breaking into broadcast journalism. Think about it. She had to leave her Texas roots and travel all the way to Alaska to get a job. She was one of the fortunate UT-Arlington graduates who had a door opened by a news director in Alaska. An opportunity that many women of color today wished they had been offered.
So to you Charlo Greene, may you finally find happiness pushing your pot platform, pushing to become famous and pushing to be noticed. Enjoy your 15 minutes of…
CNN’s Lisa DeJardins lost her job on Capitol Hill. The cable network decided to eliminate her position. Was she bitter? Was she angry?
DeJardins was classy in her goodbye video and even took a few sweet jabs saying “I’m sorry that CNN has decided to eliminate my reporter position on the Hill and cut back on congressional coverage. Of course, I’m also sorry that Congress is such a complete mess right now, but maybe that means that we should watch them more closely.”
It can’t be easy losing such a prestigious job in D.C. DeJardins hasn’t been the only one at CNN to go out the door. She even took a closer look at a pattern in the goodbye emails from her former colleagues.
DeJardins’ video departure is not only classy but funny. Here’s hoping someone else will offer her a job.
As expected, her YouTube video has brought out the CNN critics. The classy correspondent continues to keep it classy even in her responses.
NPPA is offering a photojournalism boot camp. Learn how to use photos,video and audio to produce great multimedia projects. Get there early on Thursday, August 7th. Your NAHJ convention registration will cover the cost of this workshop for you.
In journalism you constantly have to grow and that means watching and learning from the best. For veterans in the business, a refresher course is always a good thing.
See you at the convention. Don’t forget you can still register in person. For more on our convention visit NAHJConvention.org