Workshop addresses newsroom workforce issues

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The Learning Newsroom, a one-day workshop co-sponsored by the University of Houston School of Communication and the American Society of Newspaper Editors, is designed to help newsrooms react better to change and addresses workforce issues that emerge during radical transformation.

The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Nov. 30 at the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion, on the second floor of the M.D. Anderson Library. Registration is from 8:15 to 9 a.m.

Workshop tuition for newspaper executives and industry professionals is $100. The seminar is free and open to UH faculty, staff and students who pre-registered by the 5 p.m., Nov. 27 deadline.

The workshop will highlight the keys to reinvention: practical strategies and techniques for introducing and sustaining newsroom change from those who have implemented them for three years.

“It’s a roadmap for the future,” said Michael Berryhill, professor of communication. “It’s not theoretical or academic, it’s what is going on in the trenches right now.”

In recent years, changing titles and rearranging chairs is all that occurs in transformation for most companies. The Learning Newsroom advocates a provocative approach to changing mindsets before changing roles and responsibilities.

“It is important to have a sense of the struggles that newsroom managers are dealing with,” Berryhill said.

Vickey Williams, who directed the Learning Newsroom project, will be the faculty chair of the workshop series. It will draw from the experiences of change initiatives in newsrooms of all sizes and research data gathered from them.

Brutal honesty should be expected during this program, because the “Learning Newsroom” requires difficult and, sometimes, painful work. Real-life outcomes will offer a whole new approach for unleashing staff potential and engaging people in the newsroom to improve journalism and attract more readers.

For more information contact: CRiordan@americanpressinstitute.org

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which funded the $1-million Learning Newsroom initiative, also is underwriting the regional workshop.

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