Think Like an Editor blog by Steve Davis and Emilie Davis, S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University

Think golf. That’s it. Just think golf.

By · Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

not teaching,
still THINKING …

Golf has topped the agenda of one of these two profs (you know which one) this past summer. So it is not surprising to reflect back on Strategy #3 of our “Think Like an Editor” book and to recall how golf is used as an analogy to explain how reporters can “manage up” when working with editors. As an editor, how can you be seen as a help, not a hindrance?

The idea, as in golf, is to do the opposite to get the result you want.

To get the ball airborne, for example, hit down on it. Don’t try to lift it. Likewise, editors are encouraged to share with reporters ideas for what the reporters can do to manage them, to anticipate their questions and to make the entire reporter-editor process less stressful, more efficient and even fun.

As we say in the book:

 “In the business world, consultants make a lot of money coaching employees on how to flourish in a work model where not everything flows from the top down, where the staff ‘manages up.’ This is especially important in ‘lean’ environments where there are fewer bosses, employees and support staff — less of everything.”

Editors would do well to make sure reporters, who are their partners, know they don’t mind giving up some power. Then the idea is to coach reporters on how to seize that power.

Here’s an easy start:

As we say:

“We advocate sharing power because we know the end product is a shared responsibility. You can’t share one without sharing the other.”

Don’t have an editor? You can still think like one, and you’ll find that coaching yourself regularly — just as a golfer does — will improve your results dramatically.

(These two profs are no longer teaching at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, but we are still thinking.)

Comments

Of course, love the golf analogy. KO