Monday, April 07, 2008

Passive aggresive editors, newsrooms: not good bedfellows


I think I've just experienced the first breakdown in communication between me and an assistant editor. This person (we'll call it Shaqwueetah) clearly has bottled up a lot thus far in the semester and has just unleashed it on me, via email.

Passive aggressiveness. Never really been a big fan of it. So when I received the email, which included a laundry list of things that Shaqwueetah felt I was doing wrong, I laughed.

Why? Because many of Shaqweetah's listed items were petty and offered no productive suggestions as to how I might make good on the sins that I've committed this semester.

As the head multimedia editor, I've assumed that most of my assistant editorial staff had figured out that in journalism, being an editor means taking charge with often very little direction.

Oh, but not Shaqwueetah.

Here's a snippet. (If you know me, then you know I had to respond to each listed item.)

6) I have no guidelines to edit multimedias. Producers have no guidelines for producing them either, despite promises you made at the beginning of the semester to hand out something you and Josh put together regarding this.

You have your experience. That is your guideline. That's the beauty of having three and four heads editing multimedia work. Each of us is going to take a different approach at editing, which means we're going to have varied styles of work on the site. That's what distinguishes our work from other college publications that do the same thing over and over. That's why we win awards for our site. It's because WE all bring something unique to the table. Just a note: in each producer's folder there is a document called "Producing Multimedia Stories." That's the document Josh and I put together, that you claim is not available to producers. A "MANUALS" folder also includes a Soundtrack Pro tutorial, an [X]press style guide and a Movable Type manual. So, no I'm not really sympathetic to producers who haven't figured certain things out thus far in the semester. Do more research before you send me another email like this.

So anyway, I've just resolved that some people will be difficult to work with no matter how hard you personally think you are working to prevent breakdowns like this. I'm by no means perfect, and I gladly accept constructive criticism. But not like this.

And over email...geez. I'm glad I didn't pick up the phone and respond. Had Shaqwueetah said something crazy, I may have had to get ignorant.

(Not productive, I know.)

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Posted by Aaron Morrison at 12:02 AM | link

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