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Meetings, meetings, meetings ...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Den1983, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. Den1983

    Den1983 Active Member

    In my 3 1/2 years as SE, I've never really been a big stickler for meetings. I certainly understand their purpose, but I usually just talked the people for a brief chat (I have two reporters), or just sent a mass email with points or notes I needed to make. No biggie, and it gets the job done, or at least it has for me.

    But lately, department heads have started meeting with our Executive Editor once a week. We discuss the week's budget, story ideas, et cetera, but as we've gone through, I've been thinking of what could help make meetings more helpful. Does anyone have good meeting tactics that they've considered helpful, and what are your general opinions on meetings and how efficient they are?
  2. SockPuppet

    SockPuppet Active Member

    No chairs in the meeting room. If everybody has to stand, the meetings will be short(er).
  3. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    Our meetings are not efficent. They are a colassal waste of time. It takes me three times as long to drive to and from the office than the actual meeting itself.
    I now phone them in just before I tee off every Monday morning.
  4. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    I've always said meetings prevent you from getting your work done.
  5. Mark2010

    Mark2010 Active Member

    Balance. I didn't like having meetings too often. But neither did I like not having any meetings for months on end, never getting feedback, kicking around ideas, brainstorming, etc.

    For a sports staff of more than four, I'd say once every couple of weeks is good. For an entire newsroom, maybe once per month.

    One place I worked had newsroom-wide meetings every single week. It would start out something like: "Well, we made deadline three times last week, which is up from two the previous week. ... There have been no developments to report on the potential sale. .... Holiday bonuses have been cancelled this year. The mayor called and wasn't happy with the front page story about his extra-marrital affair. Claims he's on his fourth marriage, not his third, so please let's all double-check our facts very closely.... and, in other developments, today is Susie's birthday. Anyone care to guess how old she is? 34? Nope, that's her measurement. We got Susie this special card and gift certificate, since that dude jumping out of the cake idea didn't go over too well with corporate..... That concludes this week's meeting. Get back to work, and good luck."
  6. 2underpar

    2underpar Active Member

    I have a managers meeting every tuesday at 2:30 p.m. in which very little is ever accomplished. i keep my staff meetings to a minimum, but there are only four of us, so usually if i got something to say, i just tell them while they are at their desks. i rarely get feedback in the meetings -- it's mostly me listening to myself talk.
  7. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    when did you get a fourth?
  8. Pencil Dick

    Pencil Dick Member

    Slappy, she's been on his staff for a couple of months, I think.
  9. Pencil Dick

    Pencil Dick Member

    Man, that last sentence just doesn't sound right after reading it.
  10. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    Let's try to elevate this a little, shall we?

    Part of the problem with meetings is the whole culture of what I call "Feeding the Beast."

    We were having two meetings a day (!) among the assignment editors at the Nation's Nicepaper and still were having problems with information flow.

    The solution, inevitably, was to have a third (!!) meeting.

  11. Den1983

    Den1983 Active Member

    I agree. I understand the essence of meetings - sharing ideas, opinions and different avenues toward a similar goal - but it never happens that way. Mark 2010's example of a newsroom meeting is spot on. There's little creative energy and thinking involved.
  12. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    Meetings are never productive if they are obligatory, time-of-day driven meetings.
    Real meetings can be useful if:

    >Schedule short meetings.
    >There should be some advance prep work done by those coming to the meeting.
    >Invite only necessary people. Don't think you have to include everyone. It bogs down any potential progress.
    >Limit the itinerary. Journalists have the attention span of my five-year old.
    >Make sure the meeting has a purpose. You're meeting about something of importance.

    Loose guidelines. But, they help.
    Will they solve the every meeting? Hell no. But, it's a start.
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