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What Would Your Boss Do?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by NightOwl, May 22, 2008.

  1. NightOwl

    NightOwl Guest

    We had such massive problems getting the paper out tonight.

    Computer systems shut down for two hours, and that put us way behind. Rimmers and designers standing around, very nervous, talking about how screwed we were and what it was gonna take to get the paper out once the computers came up again.

    And then I looked around and saw our managers standing around by themselves like it was a party or something, huddled together and making happy talk while eating chips and generally doing nothing. When we asked them what the status was, they gave us the usual funny look and told us to go back to work (which we couldn't) and they would tell us when everything was OK.

    System came back up. It was 9 p.m. at that point. Managers gave up at 8 and just sneaked out the door. The one guy who came by offered nothing, just told us to "hang in there and have a good night." One guy kicked a trash can across the room after that manager left. We were all so pissed-off because they treated us like shit again.

    We banged the paper out regardless. Did a good job, even got the Lakers game in. But we're all so pissed-off. Operational problems in the newsroom, and all the managers took the first chance they could to get out the door.

    "Hang in there, and have a good night."

    Turd mentality, in my book. But we got it done anyway.

    My question is: What does your boss do when the shit hits the fan?

    Does he or she hang in there with you, or do they tell you to have a happy night while they're bolting out the door?
  2. mike311gd

    mike311gd Active Member

    Which boss? My immediate editor is more of a team player than anyone I've ever worked with before. There's no way he'd bail on his staff.

    I'm not so sure about the people above him, though.
  3. NightOwl

    NightOwl Guest

    It's just up for discussion here.
    Some bosses dive in, other bosses run away.

    I'm just looking for other stories in similar situations.
  4. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    One word comes to mind reading what you experienced: Dysfunction. I'll add a bonus work: Severe.

    We always have someone from the editorial board (the editor, the managing editor or the city editor) who stays til the bitter end every night and usually participates in rim work. We're a 40k circulation, so some of that comes with the territory. But I think it's good policy to keep the decision makers connected to the day-to-day production of the product. Even the editor from time to time is in on it.

    Now, I don't think you'll ever see any of them on slot, but they are copy editing, doing pages, etc. And they are there for just such an event.

    We have our issues, but I'm glad yours is not one we've run into.

    Now, I'll say this: Chances are the SE wouldn't be there...not unless it's an all-hands-on-deck high school sports night...
  5. KYSportsWriter

    KYSportsWriter Well-Known Member

    Our ME and County Editor usually are out the door by 6 each night. We are a four-man staff; three split production throughout the week, and that includes our SE. He would never do anything like that.
  6. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Our management would have stayed in touch with us, either by staying, or by phone.

    After they left, why didn't you guys just blow deadline anyways? It wouldn't have been your fault, since the computers were down, and that would have gotten their attention. They wouldn't be so flippant next time that there's a production crisis.
  7. Stone Cane

    Stone Cane Member

    because they're pros
  8. Pete Incaviglia

    Pete Incaviglia Active Member

    It happened here about two weeks ago. Exact same situation. One manager — ONE — stayed and saw us through it. It's great guy. Young, energetic, FORMER columnist and former desker. He stuck with it to the end.

    Everyone else? Took off, of course. And then sent catered food the next evening.
  9. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Agreed. But it seems like management was taking them for granted that they would be pros. NightOwl is unhappy that management didn't stick around. With this management, missing a deadline would probably get them in trouble, regardless of the computer issues, but it would at least keep their attention beyond 8 p.m.
  10. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    Maybe it's just because of the mood I am in, but look at it from the management perspective.

    Could they have done layout? Could they have pitched in and put out a page or two? Or would they have just been standing over your shoulder? Because if that's the case, maybe they figured the pros would be better off getting their work done with as little distraction as possible.
  11. BrianGriffin

    BrianGriffin Active Member

    Let me add this thought: Maybe the person who is drawing a slot assignment on most nights and is putting out the product and making decisions on the product on the fly on a nightly basis SHOULD be considered management. In other words, give him/her a title, appropriate pay and a seat at the decision making table with some of the 9-to-5ers. That way, when crisis occurs, you probably have somebody built in to handle it hands on.

    Once you have that, all the other editors that are dead weight and they need to be out of the way. But if this paper had somebody in that role, then there would not be complaints that all the managers left...
  12. Moderator1

    Moderator1 Moderator Staff Member

    Sometimes a boss IS better by staying out of the way. Depends on the circumstance.
    I was on vacation when Bonds hit his big jack.
    We had plans for all kinds of scenarios. This if he hits it during the day. This if he hits it early in the evening, before our deadline. This if he hits it past deadline but still in replate range (which is what happened).

    So he hits it and my wife says, "You going to call the office?" Nope. It was scramble time and they didn't need the interruption. We had a plan. I needed to let them pull it off (which they did).

    However, if disaster struck and I was there? I'd stay. Happened a couple of times. If I wasn't there, I'd call and see if they needed me.
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