Skills for journalists in print and digital media.

Job changes and training

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chaplinWhen New York Times Editor Bill Keller met with his staff to discuss the how and why of another 100 cuts to the newsroom staff, he talked about trying to find more efficiencies.

“This time, in our quest for new efficiencies, we’re looking hard at how we move copy — from reporter to publication, whether in print or on the Web. We suspect we can save some slots by streamlining the process.

“Could we for example combine some of our copy desks and save a few FTEs by gaining economies of scale and scheduling without compromising the rich, specialized expertise that resides in our cadre of copy editors? Or consider how pages get made. We have skilled designers who draw our pages, paginators who execute those designs and other production staffers who calibrate the tone and color of the pages. We’re looking at whether we can streamline some of that work. Those are the kind of questions we’re examining, under the general rubric of doing things more efficiently.”

These are the kind of things more and more newsrooms are trying to stretch resources. And streamlining and combining duties previously held by different people is one more area where a good training plan is essential. Training on the Edge of Change is not just about launching new initiatives, but also adjusting and regrouping in transit. Sadly, without the organizational hoopla of a new initiative, these moments often do not get the same training support.

They required the same process of a needs assessment, effective training, and followup that any change initiative involves. And that includes the same amount of explanation and support to motivate people to learn and perform.

Instead of hoopla, this level of training requires a lot of of involvement from frontline supervisors who know the work.

Verity Gough, writing on the trainingzone blog about the effective transfer of learning from training to the job, discussed some ways to make good links between learning and development (L&D):

“In many organisations, there are less people doing the same amount of work and because of the demands this places on an employee’s time, a blend of different learning components increase the chances of a training programme having the desired effect. L&D, therefore, needs to look carefully at the make-up of training programmes and offer employees flexibility and choice when it comes to learning preferences. Given the current climate, it also makes sense that one of the components of the blend is a work-based project which links the learning directly to the person’s day-to-day role or responsibilities. Such projects should be selected carefully and approved by line managers and should then form part of any programme’s effectiveness evaluation or assessment process. Alongside the framework, this is also another device to draw the line manager into the L&D process.”

Whether it means immediately applying the new blended skills on the job, or working into competency via work-based projects that allow more time to practice and receive feedback, the frontline manager is the essential point of contact once formal training is over.


Written by mroberts8

November 9, 2009 at 7:10 pm

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