Thursday, October 4, 2007

Brick walls, brain drain and dreams

You know those days when you read the comic "Dilbert" and you could swear Scott Adams has a spy in your office?
Many journalists might have felt that way when reading Alan Mutter at "Reflections of a Newsosaur." He wrote about the brain drain that traditional newspapers face as young journalists get frustrated with the pace of change.
The comments tell the story: Several anonymous postings say, "Yeah, that's my shop."
Add some perspective and seek the positive: The post has 10 comments, two of which I recognize, one of which I respect. Many other journalists are out there, quietly working to be the change.
What the elders and managers need to remember: Brick walls can drive talent away. Many young people have never experienced the frustrating lack of success that can sometimes accompany work in a corporation.
Then the elders need to do what dying professor Randy Pausch did in his "Last Lecture." Give perspective and help others fulfill their dreams. The short WSJ version of the Pausch lecture is here; if you want the nine-minute version, search YouTube.

1 comment:

Andria said...

It's not just newspapers. Ben Worthen of the WSJ notes it's all companies at

He suggests letting people complete for a piece of the budget pie. In media, that's a little harder. How about at-work "sabbaticals," in which workers can compete with good ideas/proposals for a month of time to develop and document the ideas/projects? Like story project pitches, except for things like:
1. How to get a photo into the newspaper with the cheapest/easiest software and as few steps as possible;
2. How to create and maintain a story budget with the least amount of time but the most amount of information;
3. How to create and build an ad and get it billed and in the paper in the fastest, cheapest way?

Maybe more later; have classwork to do, but couldn't resist this idea. Someone told me Google gives workers 20 percent of their time to develop their own ideas. Why can't we? Even 10 percent?