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

5 Ways to Cause Trouble for Yourself

By · Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

not teaching,
still THINKING …

Trouble finds us easily enough, but sometimes we cause trouble for ourselves — especially when our personal and professional interests intermingle.

Here are five ways we could cause that trouble. Recognize them. Avoid them.

  1. Keep your boss in the dark about any conflict of interest, hoping it will go away or, worse, that people will not find out. (They will.)
  2. Make a personal decision to do what is right for the credibility of your news organization and then delay following through with it. (Procrastination can be damaging.)
  3. Choose your job over your personal life to avoid a conflict of interest, and then hold a grudge. (Your unhappiness will affect everyone.)
  4. Criticize or bad-mouth your news organization publicly — in conversations or in any electronic communication — if a story you’re personally interested in or involved with isn’t covered to your satisfaction in news or editorials. (There is no way this can be a good thing.)
  5. Be dishonest or misleading in any way, at any point, with anyone — thinking that some things are so small that they don’t matter that much. (They do.)

These tips are from our “Think Like an Editor” book. If you want to read more, refer to Strategy 47: Credibility.

Here are three more tips that will help you to make wise personal decisions and keep your credibility:

  1. Assess the situation
  2. Consider the consequences
  3. Take responsibility

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

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