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Armani Jackson, Managing Editor
When over 500 journalists are put into a room together, things get interesting. So many like-minded individual writers, editors, photographers and designers at one place is indescribable. On Feb. 18-21, nine members of The Puyallup Post was able to experience this first hand.
The Associate Collegiate Press held their mid-winter national conference in Los Angeles. It was so surreal that no one really felt like they were going until we landed at the Bob Hope airport. Hundreds of sessions were offered by accredited journalists, advisers and graphic designers to teach everyone the skills they needed to be successful in this ever changing field.
A few members of The Puyallup Post obtained certifications in their area of expertise. For example, reporters could earn one in storytelling, photographers in photo/video and page designers in design/art. As managing editor, it was encouraged for me to earn the one in editorial leadership. Every session required focused on a different aspect of the newsroom, from motivating staffers to the qualities that make an effective leader, and then taught everyone how to apply the things learned.
It was fulfilling, satisfying and gratifying to say the least. Honestly, I went to this conference feeling like I was never adequately trained on what was required of this position. I was an assistant, the responsibilities that I’d taken on up until this point was nothing of my own. Everything people wanted me to accomplish, I had to do with someone else. This wasn’t my choice, it was just how things turned out to be and I didn’t know there was a problem with the system until this conference. That realization was a real slap in the face.
The conference was only four days. But, it was four days of 10 hour learning blocks, L.A. tourism and group bonding. This was the trip that changed not only the way staffers interact with one another but also how well I do my job. It was devastating to discover that the staff’s writing wasn’t improving because I’d never taken the time to sit down and show them how to make the changes. This opened my eyes and struck me at my core.
I have the responsibility of managing the staff and all I was really doing was serving myself. The things that I took away from this conference showed me how to be the best leader I can. Because being in this leadership position isn’t about making the staff clones of you. This is about inspiring and helping them to be the best version of themselves.
Now as I look back at what I learned, I see where I can make those changes and begin to actually be The Puyallup Post’s managing editor instead of the gray area between print and online.[/responsivevoice]
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost
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