Editors should conduct all relationships with staff members in a fair and professional manner. By considering the program’s best interests above matters of personality, students will be able to work together in a positive and productive environment.
Staff manual process
Editors should be aware of potential challenges that may arise as a result of both positive and negative relationships with peers. While it may be unrealistic for editors to define absolute policies, they should use the staff manual as an opportunity to address ethical considerations of relationships with suggested model behavior.
• Favoritism: When editors treat all staff members equally, it creates a positive atmosphere for collaboration. Editors should hold all staff members accountable following a consistent model regardless of personal relationships or friendships outside of the staff setting. All aspects of production, from assigning stories to recognizing excellent work, should be based on individual performance. If editors favor their friends or seem to pick on particular students, it can build resentment among the staff and weaken working relationships.
• Constructive feedback: Editors may find themselves having difficult conversations with staff members about their performance. These interactions are best done in person and privately. It may be inconvenient to arrange the ideal setting for this type of conference, but taking the time to keep criticism private is important for the health of the working relationship.
• Dating: Relationships among staff members may develop into something beyond the student media setting. Everyone involved should work to keep this separate from the experience in the newsroom. Students should enter into dating relationships with fellow staff members cautiously, knowing that regardless of outcome, they will be expected to work together in the future. All staff members should be expected to be respectful of relationships among staff members and not to take sides or let a romantic relationship interfere with their role in student media.
• Team building: Ongoing team-building exercises will help to develop positive staff relationships.
• Siblings: Editors with siblings on staff should make every effort to ensure that the sibling is treated as fairly as other staffers. Assigning the sibling to another editor provides the distance for the sibling’s growth as a journalist.
Lesson: Organizing Your Staff, Journalism Education Association
Lesson: Role Playing, Journalism Education Association
Lesson: Learning About Your Leadership Style, Journalism Education Association
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