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When a less-experienced colleague becomes your boss...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by exmediahack, May 16, 2009.

  1. exmediahack

    exmediahack Well-Known Member

    Any tips on how to handle it?

    Here is my situation -- I'm in broadcast and the place I'm at just hired a new news director (essentially, the 'editor'). She's 26, solid but now running a newsroom of people largely older than her. I'm ten years older and was not seeking a management position -- I love what I do here.

    I'm fortunate in that we have worked together for two years, on an unusual shift. At that time, we were at the same "level".

    Now most of the rest of my colleagues are just getting used to her and I'm hearing the terms "brusque", "uncaring", "cold", "calculating" thrown around. This person does have some issues with interpersonal communication but I don't see any major issues with working with her. We're both after the same goal -- kicking tail.

    It's just my colleagues I'm concerned about. Most are between 30-50 and there is already plenty of grumbling.

    Aside from "do your job", any words of wisdom for working with my colleagues amid their grumbling and complaints?

    Thanks, all!
  2. DirtyDeeds

    DirtyDeeds Guest

    That's kind of a tough one, emh. I have worked for some bosses that a lot of people didn't like, and it was never easy. But it sounds like you have a decent relationship with her, so that's a plus. Is it good enough that you could talk to her informally about how she comes across? That's pretty risky, though. If you think she'll work out OK once everyone gets to know her, just reassure your co-workers of that. If she truly is a bitch, there's not much you can do, I'm afraid.
  3. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    The best thing you can do is to respond professionally and work hard. This will set an example for your colleagues, and your supervisor will appreciate it. Your good relationship with her should mean you have her ear should you ever really need to use it.

    Some of your colleagues will never like her, will always find fault, will react unprofessionally. Don't get mixed up in that, and as much as you can discourage others from stooping to that level.
  4. exmediahack

    exmediahack Well-Known Member

    Not sure because the "power" and "money" part does come into it.

    When we started working together, I was probably making 2-2.5 times was she was. Now, it's probably even.

    Not sure if I want to "risk it", as I have thought about an informal chat a few times.

    I just don't think it's worth it even though it might be the "right" thing to do.

    On an aside, I will probably only be in the same room with her for an hour a day because of her meetings and our different schedules.
  5. DirtyDeeds

    DirtyDeeds Guest

    Yeah, definitely don't risk it if you're not comfortable enough with her. If it gets bad, the higher-ups should notice and it'll work itself out eventually. Hopefully.
  6. exmediahack

    exmediahack Well-Known Member

    Not sure about newspaper editors but broadcast news directors have a simple shelf life: The great ones move on after 2 years, the awful ones get fired after 2 years, the so-so ones usually stay for a bit longer. Like being an NBA coach.
  7. DanOregon

    DanOregon Well-Known Member

    I imagine it's not a picnic for her either.
  8. zebracoy

    zebracoy Guest

    It seems like you understand that since you didn't try for the job, you have no reason to really grumble and be spiteful about it.

    As for the others, well, that remains to be seen.

    If that's the case, though, and the others didn't apply for it, a kind reminder of that might do them well.
  9. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    We're missing the important info....

    Is she hot?

  10. exmediahack

    exmediahack Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the replies and words on this.

    As I wrote, I don't see it affecting me in any great lengths aside from the usual mantra of the day in what we do (do more with fewer resources!).

    I just don't want to see any needless morale issues develop with my colleagues.
  11. spup1122

    spup1122 New Member

    This is why, in my experience, most broadcast news directors are hired from outside sources.

    People in broadcast newsrooms have a hard time dealing with someone who used to be a colleague, turning into an authority figure. Anything from assignment editor and up. I was a producer, applying for an assignment editor position for which I was highly qualified, but the news director didn't think the reporters would respect me enough to listen when I told them what their story for the day was.

    I told the news director that it was because while producers are supposed to have some authority over newscasts, it was sucked out from under us by the three managers above us letting the reporters change their position in a show, or their presentation of the story at will. He ignored me. I left about two months later.

    As for your situation, if you're in good terms with her, you could probably sit down with her and talk about the way people are perceiving her at the moment. She may not even realize it's happening. Most are so busy, they don't notice those things.
  12. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member


    I've been in TV about 19 years now and been through the same thing several times. (Well, not with many news directors, but with executive producers -- I'm a producer, and have had several colleagues promoted to become my supervisor.)

    I'm in your spot - I have absolutely no desire to move into management. I have a great shift, and becoming an EP means dealing with a raft of shit that I don't need in my life. So, I just deal with it. It's a weird position, especially when they're younger than you, but I've generally had a good relationship with each of them and over time everything has worked out pretty smoothly.

    Honestly, unless you two are really close I think an informal chat is a really bad idea. Don't worry about everyone else's morale -- worry about yours. If this is her first News Director position she's got a lot of adjusting to do, and a casual "hey Sally, by the way, people think you're cold, brusque and uncaring" won't help either of you.

    And besides, she's not going to be there very long. I've had 11 news directors in 19 years.
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