BY KELLY PARSONS
AWSM Intern / The Washington Times
Journalists are in the business of communication. But sometimes, even they need a tip or two to refine those skills, especially when it comes to intra-office relationships.
Washington Post sports copy chief Ed Guzman and former Roanoke Times night sports editor Carrie Cousins on Thursday led the workshop “What’s Going On Around Here?” — an informational session focusing on ways in which writers and editors can improve intra-office communication in order to produce top-quality journalism.
Guzman said it was important to have a give-and-take relationship, something he said is highlighted by an editor’s ability to give time in order to nurture relationships with staff members, but also accept criticism at the same time.
Having an open-door, communicative environment in the office, Guzman said, will only help reporters make the final product better.
“Take initiative. Don’t let things drift,” Guzman said. “If you see an opportunity to point something out or have a conversation, seize it.”
The second half of the session was an open forum, during which the editors and reporters in the room bounced communication tips off each other and asked questions of Guzman and Cousins.
Cousins, who now works with social media in her job with the Roanoke Regional Partnership, also gave social media suggestions, citing the importance of Twitter to communicating with readers. Engaging with readers through Twitter, she said, gives them the feeling that they’re involved with the news and keeps them coming back for more.
Sports stories might not always make for A1 news. But without proper communication, the potential could be lost.
“Sports stories have universal appeal,” Cousins said. “More and more sports people are considered celebrities. So get your stories out. Get them on the front page. Get them in a sky box, if nothing else. It’s a collaborative effort to make sure everyone is getting good play.”