14 October 2005
Personnel Management & Human Resources:
Personnel Management: The Importance of Feedback

Newsroom managers usually get very little training on how to interact with staff. This will have negative effects on both the work of the journalists and the newsroom in general.

The Media Management Center of Northwester University in Illinois, the United States, published on 2001 a report called “Feedback: Newsroom employees want it, managers avoid it” which analyses the importance of feedback in the newsroom and gives practical advice to newsroom managers on how to deal with these issues.

The reports shows that newsroom employees would like to get more feedback from their managers, even if it is critical. The feedback should be frequent and not something that is given occasionally.

Newsroom managers, however, often avoid giving feedback to their employees, being afraid of hurting feelings and starting new conflicts about other issues. According to the report, the following things will happen in a newsroom without feedback:
• The employees believe that there are no consequences for poor performance.
• The manager loses trust and respect.
• The employee does not improve in his professional role.
• The atmosphere in the newsroom worsens.

The report also includes a list of pitfalls for managers to avoid and concrete advice about what to do.

Among the main points are:
- Don’t initiate the discussion when you are angry.
- Don’t put off the conversation indefinitely.
- Don’t direct the criticism at the person but at the behavior.

The members of APN are welcome to download the report for free on the following website: www.mediamanagementcenter.org/publications/feedback.asp