Photo by Pat Talamantes/The McClatchy Company

News Industry Summit
(annual convention)
Oct. 6-8, The Boar's Head Inn, Charlottesville, Va.


Newspaper publishers must orchestrate leadership, but need their workforce to get them where they want to be.  That's the message SNPA members heard during the opening session of the News Industry Summit, which opened yesterday in Charlottesville, Va.

Steve Smith, music director of the Richmond Symphony, talked about the importance of keeping everyone on the same sheet of music.  And, he spoke of the important role that newspapers play in generating conversations in their community and in articulating a vision for the work that their staffs do.  He encouraged them to "not get stuck in the weeds," but rather to step back and be the source of inspiration with their staffs and in their communities.

Smith was followed by the eight participants in the inaugural class of SNPA's NEX GEN program who talked about their experiences from the past year.  They shared take-aways that they gained from their year-long relationship with a seasoned newspaper executive.

Among the insights that they shared:

  • It used to be enough for newspaper executives to focus on their own areas.  Now, it's essential that they step back, see the big picture and focus on helping their staffs see the shared vision.
  • We don't just work for newspapers.  We work for companies that publish newspapers and more.
  • Everyone's challenges are different.  There's no single roadmap to the future.
  • Newspaper staffs often have a lot of people who feel as though they are operating with a blindfold.  They need specific information, as well as positive feedback and constructive criticism to help them grow in their roles.
  • The passion shown by their mentors has given them faith and hope in the future of our industry.
  • Training is not convenient, but newspaper publishers need to help their staffs make time for it in order to take their employees to the next level.
  • The networking and knowledge that NEX GEN participants gained from this progam can't stop here.  The more newspaper executives network and bounce ideas off of each other, the more our industry will prosper.

NEX GEN participants:

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