Journalism · Leadership

How do i manage a team of journalists successfully

Conor Pritchard Entrepreneur and Forex market analyst

February 14th, 2018

I had recently started a news website with a friend of mine. The whole idea is to provide any developmening news stories about cryptocurrency to our readers. (not launched yet) It is my first team leading a large group of journalists (i'm also one) I am 19 years old and feel intimidated delegating tasks to older and more experienced journalists by an extreme 20 years. any tips? cheers.

Bob Snyder Editor-in-Chief, Channel Media Europe

Last updated on February 15th, 2018

Hi Conor, I had a similar experience when I was 20 years old. This can work because you already acknowledged the probem. No matter how much talent you have, they have experience. So it works by you listening & learning from them--without losing your authority as founder and team leader.

You have an idea of what you want to do. You meet each one separately and explain what you want to do-- and ask for feedback and input. You ask about their background and interests to judge their experience and figure out where their strengths are. You listen to their suggestions and take careful notes of their advice.

Working with a team it is important to learn the skill sets. Some editors can write and not edit. Some can't proofread. Some can regurgitate and some can investigate. Learn your team. And listen more to the people who have experience in specific areas.

In each successful interview, you play back the advice of the person(s) you are getting everybody's advice on everyone else's advice. "Somebody suggested we cover this in this way, do you agree?"

With what you learn from the sum of the wisdom (and not all will agree), you modify your original plan.

Now you can address them as a group, thanking them for their input and unveiling the work plan. Not everyone will agree (because journalists aren't paid to be agreeable). But you can say, "I listened to everyone. There were many good points. I've done the best I can with all I learned and this is the plan. We need to go ahead with it now and if we encounter problems we will do our best to adjust it to the realities."

Most of the time when you buy in experienced people, you lead them presenting your action plan and by asking what they think they should be doing. Only occassionally it might not lead you to what you think is best. In that case, you state firmly, "OK, I understand what you are saying. In this case, I am going to have to ask you to follow my instructions."

Because they know you most often listen and absorb before acting, you will have your important victories when you need them most.

Yes, this way takes more time but it takes less time than always trying to hire replacements who team members who leave or deal with issues from a frustrated team.

Dave Jules Founder and CEO of Underlined Apps

March 7th, 2018

Hi Conor,

Plan, plan, plan, and plan!

Make sure you have a plan for yourself and your journalist. Deadlines exist for a reason. Have a day where your team reviews the plan for the next week or so. Know when articles will be completed and disrupted.

Hope that helps.

Best regards,


"We make apps!"

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

March 12th, 2018

The publishing business model already exists. The first thing you will have to give up is thinking of yourself as a junior journalist. In this enterprise you are not the journalist, you are the managing editor, the one who decides the direction of the publication and assigns or approves the articles.

Journalists are easy to corral. They get paid by the word, and if they follow directions they get hired again for the next assignment. It's that simple. You are not delegating tasks to peers. You are assigning pre-defined work projects to freelancers (probably) and their job security relies on following your instructions. If you are good at setting the direction and maintaining the standards of the publication, you will have no end of journalists you can hire to replace anyone who doesn't follow your instructions.

It will take some time to train them to write in the manner you find useful, so don't necessarily throw them out with the first bad article. Get them to revise it according to your direction, and give them enough lead time to look at the style of writing you want them to follow, and to make corrections to their own work to match the voice of the publication you've envisioned.