Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Most arguments aren't worth having

If you're like me, and like most people in this business, you're passionate about what you do. You care deeply about the stuff you put on the air, especially if it has your name on it. And sometimes you end up in a disagreement over how to cover a story or what to put into it.

Over the years I've gotten into plenty of arguments over story coverage. We all have. And in most cases, reporters lose the argument to management. Looking back, it's hard for me to remember the stories I argued about.

In fact the only valid argument I can think of was when we once had solid information about a Presidential candidate that would effectively kill his campaign, and management killed the story. Had our info been about a candidate in another party, the outcome might have been different. That one was worth the argument, even though I lost.

In the grand scheme of things, you have to take a step back before making your case. Is the argument worth it, and will it do irreparable harm to your relationship with your boss? Do you have a snowball's chance in hell of winning the argument anyway, even if you effectively make your point? And finally, is the story that important that anyone will remember it a few days from now?

Remember, most stories are "gone to Pluto" the minute they air. Unless you're doing something major, you need to pick your battles, because when you take on management, the point spread is always in their favor before the game even starts. And you could end up in the doghouse for quite awhile.


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