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.
You have high aspirations for your work. Project your aim in words and actions. Consider it a never-ending process. Enjoin others so it is a shared vision.
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 even 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.
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. Former NPR Executive Jay Kernis urged his team to be creative and stand out. Outside Help → Jay Kernis: Finding Our Voice
You lead the newsroom, so you keep the flame of trust burning. You personify ethical behavior by displaying sensitivity to the plight of others, being nakedly honest, and showing greater interest in fairness, consistency and public service than in immediate results. You aren’t expected to be perfect — in fact, your attention to ethics acknowledges none of us is.
Adopt a detailed code of ethics. Your code should spell out ethical principles of fairness, freedom of bias, accuracy and honesty. It should cover such issues as conflict of interest, performing outside work, engaging in political activity and accepting fees and freebies. 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 suggest you consider using the NPR code of ethics as KPBS did. Samples → KPBS Code of Ethics
Post an ethics code in a prominent place on your Web site and on your newsroom wall. Some organizations even provide posters. Outside Help → Links to Ethic Codes (PRNDI, SPJ, RTNDA and more)
The ND may need to defend the news department’s independence and integrity from those who may see it as an instrument for gain or special influence. You should be bolstered by well-established protections codified in public broadcasting.