Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sometimes, great people trump a bad company

Whenever people ask me about the best and worst places I've worked, the answer is often the same station.


Well, you can think of stops during your career in two ways. The people with whom you share a newsroom, and the company itself. And let's face it, these days many companies aren't remotely human, having been taken over by beancounters and non-creative types.

And very often, if you're being treated badly by management or your company throws nickels around like manhole covers, you seek solace in your co-workers. After all, you're in the same boat, and misery loves company.

I can remember one station that started out terrific. Great News Director who was a friendly guy, company that paid well and had great benefits, members of management who had a heart.

And then we got sold. To a company that was just the opposite, and a News Director who reminded everyone of Mister Potter from "It's a Wonderful Life." Nasty and cheap is not a good combination and makes for a toxic work environment.

I remember a line from another reporter about the new guy. "He said he wants to unite the newsroom. Well, he's done it." Problem was, we were all united. Against him.

Ironically, this brought us all closer even though we were pretty close before. The friendships became tighter, any competition in the newsroom disappeared, as we were all united in one cause: the resistance.

I still have plenty of friends from that place. One of the best...and worst places I've ever worked.

It just illustrates the importance of a news team in this environment. If you're in an "every man for himself" shop that's owned by a bad company, you've got the worst of both worlds. If you work together and help one another, even the worst environment can be a positive one. You simply have to tune out that junk rolling downhill from corporate and focus on the friendships in the newsroom.

Is your newsroom a "family" and does every day seem like a Thanksgiving get-together? Or are you all doing your own thing?


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