When you accept the job of ND, you summon your will to lead.
Leadership is the necessary response to the responsibility you hold.
The very success of your station and your team depends entirely on your journalistic credibility and relevance.
As a leader, you champion the values of journalism as a sacred trust.
Leading with Vision
You have high aspirations for your work. Project your aim in words and actions. Enjoin others so it is a shared vision. Consider this a never-ending process of moving your organization upward.
Help your station and your department develop a vision and mission statement.
Leaders turn vision into action by planning. Use a strategic plan to communicate goals and actions for all to share. Use planning to make changes and track progress over time. Samples → Strategic Plan
As an editorial leader, the ND makes clear what is done and what is not done. What expectations are reasonable. Hold a workshop and articulate your standards of excellence. Samples → Defining Public Radio News Excellence
Part of leading with vision is being open to new ideas, creative in spirit and entrepreneurial in action. This is especially important as the broadcast industry undergoes extraordinary change. Stay true to your core values but be open to new ways of serving the public.
Leading with Courage
Your decisions should make a difference in the world. Your journalism shines the light of truth. Your work offers the public choices for the greater good. This is not a privilege to take lightly nor does your impartiality imply passivity.
Be the one to talk about the privilege and responsibility that comes with the First Amendment. Outside Help → The First Amendment
When you do your job well, you will trigger criticism. Be sure it is the good kind of criticism by staying true to the highest purposes and promises of journalism. Outside Help → Committee of Concerned Journalists: The Elements of Journalism
It takes courage to follow your own editorial plan rather than follow the lead of others. It takes courage to let your news organization be unique. Urge your team to be creative and let them stand out.
Leading with Ethics
You lead the newsroom, you keep the flame of trust burning. You personify ethical behavior by displaying sensitivity to the balance between publishing the truth and minimizing harm that may result. You weigh situations carefully and invite other views. You practice journalism with transparency. You insist on fairness and completeness in your work. You aren’t expected to be perfect — in fact, our attention to ethics acknowledges we aren’t.
Adopt a detailed code of ethics. Your code should spell out ethical principles of fairness, freedom of bias, accuracy and transparency. It should cover such issues as conflict of interest, activities outside of work, and protecting editorial content from outside influence. It may include sections on protecting sources, crediting sources, and reference to minors and victims of sexual assault. It may even include policy on fundraising, blogging and protection of journalistic materials. We strongly suggest you study, discuss and eventually adopt the code developed by public media leaders. Outside Help –> Code of Editorial Integrity for Local Public Media Organizations.
Post an ethics code in a prominent place on your website and on your newsroom wall. Some organizations even provide posters. Outside Help → Links to Ethic Codes (NPR, PRNDI, SPJ, RTNDA and more)
The fight for public media’s independence and integrity is not a new fight. You should be bolstered by well-established ethics guides codified in public broadcasting.