Somehow the job description never fully captures it, but the role of News Director is one of the most challenging and rewarding positions in public radio.
The role has broadened over time and continues to evolve to embrace new media, however it remains rightfully anchored by the mission of public service through quality journalism.
The job splits into three overlapping functions: Leader, Manager and Journalist. How much energy you invest in each will depend on your situation. Small stations will demand more of you as a journalist. Large stations will demand more of you as manager. In all situations, you should begin your job as a leader.
When you accept the job of ND, you summon your will to lead. Your leadership is critical because the success of your news depends absolutely upon its credibility and relevance. As a leader, you champion these values and keep your eye on the big picture.
Through strong newsroom management, ND’s translate the imperatives of journalism into action. Most News Directors were promoted into management by virtue of their journalistic skills. Yet, as managers, they need an entirely new set of skills… to deal with people, systems and budgets.
You serve as a lead journalist in whatever task you undertake. The amount of direct news work done by ND’s may vary widely, but your knowledge of high quality standards and practices is always in play.