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Motivating Media Managers

June 25th, 2005

Dr Petra

In today’s Press Gazette I was interested to see an item outlining plans to train newspaper editors to manage their staff. The report explained how more than a third of editors have no formal management training.

The University of Central Lancashire’s Department of Journalism will be offering the ‘Journalism Leaders’ course for editors from September.

I frequently hear from freelancers and staffers who confide how they’re badly managed, bullied and frequently held back by editors, so any management training is clearly welcome.

But I find it a bit odd that a university department is offering management training for editors when most academics working within universities are themselves not adequately trained or supported to manage staff.

Given increasing pressures on academic staff to conduct and publish research and carry out teaching duties, there is a need to train anyone who has responsibility for staff. Without training and supervision current problems around bullying and stress in academia will remain.

This is one of those key areas where academia and media are pretty similar. Those in positions of power frequently are neither trained nor supported to manage staff. Some may feel they don’t need training, or their heavy-handed tactics ‘motivate’ staff. Others want to improve their skills but don’t have the time or resources to do so. And without training of managers or staff the quality of work and staff morale will suffer.

Let’s hope that academia takes a leaf out of journalism’s book and also offers more encouragement for management training.

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