The hardest job in journalism is being a manager

Here’s how LION Publishers can help.

October 4, 2022 by Ben DeJarnette

Arrow pointing forward on white marble wall
Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash

Making a first hire is a huge milestone for independent news publishers. 

Whether the person is full-time or part-time, it means you’ve gained enough traction, earned enough revenue, and built a strong enough operational foundation that your business is ready to grow. 

That’s the exciting part. 

The scary part? It also means you’re about to become a manager – and for some independent publishers (emphasis on independent), the transition to delegating work, rather than doing it all yourself, doesn’t come naturally. 

“There is a difference between being a manager and being a good manager,” Outlier Media executive director Candice Fortman said on our latest episode of News Guest

Management can be a particularly tough skill to learn for journalism leaders, especially those with backgrounds as star reporters. 

As media critic Ryan Chittum put it nearly a decade ago: “The personal traits that tend to foster reportorial excellence—independence, skepticism, aggressiveness, etc.—can be, shall we say, counterproductive in a boss.”

At LION, we’re working to help our members become more well-rounded leaders by providing training, coaching and other resources in areas of need.

Here are a few upcoming opportunities for publishers to strengthen their management and leadership skills:

🌟= LION members only

Listen to our News Guest episode with MLK50 founder Wendi C. Thomas and American Press Institute vice president of journalism programs Samantha Ragland. It’s a fascinating conversation about what it means to be a good manager – and about the lessons they’ve learned and mistakes they’ve made along the way. 

Join us for the Independent News Sustainability Summit in Austin this month. The full schedule is now available, and the sessions on management and leadership include:

🌟 Dive into LION’s Operational Readiness Handbook. This resource in the News Entrepreneur Academy includes an excellent lesson on onboarding and preparing a new hire for success, as well as sample documents and templates for:

🌟 Take a self-guided course: We’re adding new video courses to the NEA all the time, and three of our latest ones focus on management and leadership:

Want to learn more about being an effective manager? Sign up for the LION newsletter to get updates on this series and other resources and opportunities for independent publishers.

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