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Newsroom chemistry - how important is it?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by dispatch1234...isthison?, May 23, 2012.

  1. Started a new job recently and for the first time ever, I'm wondering how important newsroom chemistry might be. I've never had to worry about it before — everyone got along well enough.

    Here, everyone is younger than I am (between 6 and 11 years difference) and are at different points in their careers. Perhaps I'm just old and stuck in my ways.

    The dynamics here are different than previous stops; there is no true copy editor in this place, so it's easy for the proofreading process to sound like an attack on an individual writer when, in reality, it's constructive criticism.

    I don't know. The paper's put to bed for the day. Maybe it doesn't matter if it seems that we can't stand each other. But it sure makes it less fun to work.
  2. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    As long as you can hit home runs, chemistry doesn't mean shit. Be the Barry Bonds of the newsroom.
  3. lesboulez

    lesboulez Member

    worked in three great newsrooms in a row. then got laid off at a so-so one. then joined a copy desk that designs numerous papers and everyone is either a lifer or straight out of college. everyone wears headphones and the reporters never leave the building. chemistry does matter.
  4. Oggiedoggie

    Oggiedoggie Well-Known Member

    Journalism used to be free-range, now it's factory farm.
  5. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    Good chemistry is really a bonus.

    So-so chemistry is OK.

    But bad chemistry just makes you miserable.
  6. ColdCat

    ColdCat Well-Known Member

    I've been in newsrooms with bad chemistry and it didn't necesarilly result in bad work, but it did make me not want to get out of bed in the morning and it made me spend more of my off-time looking for a new job than hanging out with friends.
  7. sgreenwell

    sgreenwell Well-Known Member

    I agree with this. I'm fine with the aforementioned workplace where everyone just puts on headphones and vegs out. But it's miserable to work at a place where people are openly sniping at one another, or lobbying the publisher for favors, etc.
  8. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    When the newsroom chemistry is good, you don't even think about it. But when it's bad, it's hard not to think about it. The chemistry was horrible in my last newsroom, even before all the layoffs. It was the absolute opposite of teamwork. Toxic atmosphere every night.
  9. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    So, so true. I have great memories of two small papers with great chemistry. If I sit long enough I can remember how mediocre the actual jobs were, but years later I first think of the friends, the pre-shift golf, the late-nite beer and pool, etc.

    What's funny was how I longed to get to the Big Paper, and when I did, the sports desk camaraderie was virtually nonexistent. Not what I expected at all.
  10. Riptide

    Riptide Well-Known Member

    That was my experience, too.
  11. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    I've been in four different places - two with good chemistry, two with bad. In the good ones, everyone makes the finished product better. In the bad ones, you all open it up and complain about what you don't like. The product suffers as a result.
  12. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    That's funny, because mine is exactly the opposite. Three of the four small/midsize papers I worked at either had awful chemistry from the time I started or devolved into a horrible, toxic atmosphere by the time I left. The fourth had great chemistry -- except for me. I didn't fit in at all and left very quickly.

    On the other hand, the two major metros I've worked at both had terrific chemistry within the sports staff. We all got along exceptionally well and had each other's backs, and many of the staffers got together frequently outside of work.
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