Twin Cities journalists’ assessment of topic teams

Twin Cities journalists’ assessment of topic teams

Neuzil, Mark

Most workers feel they have less authority and less success getting story ideas into the paper than they did before topic teams were instituted.

Newsrooms have not been immune to management trends. Particularly in the 1980s and 1990s, newsroom managers have been willing to experiment with new, more efficient methods to run their operations, meet economic goals and handle technological changes. The topic team system is one of these methods. But although the team system has been the subject of numerous descriptive articles in the trade press, not much analytical work has been done.1

This study examines the effects of the newsroom topic team system on journalists’ perceptions of their participation in problem-solving and decisionmaking processes – in brief, are the empowerment objectives of the team system being met?

The study is based on a census survey of two newsrooms (n=244) that implemented topics teams in the mid-1990s. The Star Tribune (Minneapolis) and the St. Paul Pioneer Press are published in different cities, but see themselves as competitors in the Twin Cities marketplace.

Background

Newsroom topic teams, also called pods, clusters, and other names, are one recent method used by media managers to restructure the newsroom. Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith define a topic team (also called pods, clusters and other names)2 as “a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.”‘ Teams are supposed to “bring together complementary skills and experiences that, by definition, exceed those of any individual on the team.”4

In newsrooms, teams usually are organized by content areas – public safety, urban problems and leisure time, for example – that often cut across traditional job descriptions and newsroom departments. In a more traditional newsroom, executive-level editors supervise section editors (like sports or features), who in turn are in charge of copy editors and reporters assigned to beats, like the local baseball team or medical news. The traditional newsroom operates with a hierarchical system.

Teams are considered less hierarchic than the old ways, and often the structure is changed so that layers of newsroom management are reduced. For example, at the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, seven levels of newsroom management were made into three.5 In Tacoma, Washington, four management levels were shrunk to two.6 An element of leadership remains, said publisher Scott Campbell of The Columbian, of Vancouver, Washington. “Democracy is not what we’re after. There is still a role for top management to make decisions when it is appropriate.”7

In a team system, a typical team consists of one or two team leaders, several reporters, copy editors, copy aides, and, often, a photographer and a graphic artist. The team leader is considered less of an editor and more of a coach or facilitator. A unit with the title of urban problems team may have elements of jobs held by the former police, juvenile justice and city hall beats. In many cases, terminology like city desk and state desk has been tossed out, and, indeed, reporters often do not work for the specific sections of the newspaper any longer. In some newsrooms, the general copy desk has been broken into many pieces, and each piece fit into a team.

More cooperation among team members is usually one goal of the reorganization, particularly between the visual and written team members. Teams are supposed to add up to more than the sum of their parts. In some cases, as in Vancouver and other places, walls were torn down and the newsroom was remodeled to aid communication and serve as a physical reminder of the new management structure.

One of the intentions of the new system is to empower employees.8 The team design is “what it means to empower people,” said John P. McDonagh, vice president of marketing and advertising at The Columbian. “One of the main principles is involving people who do the work. Get employee representatives in a room, describe our situation, what we want it to be and ways we might get there.”9

Newsroom management texts have picked up on the empowerment approach. In their book Managing Media Organizations, John M. Lavine and Daniel B. Wackman write of the need for leadership and empowerment in the culture of the media company, particularly when it comes to innovation. “The heads of media firms have special responsibility for creating a vision and culture that spawns innovation. A major mechanism for producing constant innovation and high-quality performance is empowerment, which means the expansion and dispersion of power within the firm.”10

In New Directions in Media Management, Jim Willis and Diane B. Willis review articles in the leading business publications Inc., Fortune and Business Week on the question of the “new worker.”11 Inc. magazine said “Workers are seeking new answers to the question of how they can get the most out of their jobs, and many of their thoughts indicate they want more participation in problem-solving and decision-making, and they want more freedom to do their jobs creatively and independently.”12 Fortune magazine found that management saw the necessity of change to fit worker needs: “They are considering options – some inspired by the Japanese – that are more flexible and participative than the rigid hierarchies they grew up in.”13 Likewise, Business Week said: “With the adversarial approach outmoded, the trend in employee relations is toward more worker involvement in decisions, and more job satisfaction tied to productivity.”14 To achieve those ends, Willis and Willis advise newsroom managers to “provide for more worker participation in which employees gain a voice in decision making in their work areas. Among the vehicles for this are self-managed work teams… .”15

At the Star Tribune, which implemented the team system a few months before the Pioneer Press and got most of the trade press coverage, thenPublisher Joel Kramer wrote that all employees should have a chance to influence how the company operates and how their work contributes to its goals. “Hundreds of supervisors were trained to interact in an empowering environment,” he wrote.lb The “culture of empowerment” was an effort to build more teamwork. “[R]eorganization is unleashing employee energy in the cause of creating our own future, instead of letting the future happen to us.””7

The team system is not without its critics.” Willis and Willis note that a contributing factor in the potential failure of a team system in the newsroom is the high turnover among editorial staff. “Three to five years might be needed to establish a true participative atmosphere,” they said. With a change in management, a new level of trust is needed for each new editor, they said.19

Doug Underwood, an author critical of many management trends in the newsroom, said the language of empowerment and culture change is an attempt to subordinate the news to marketing goals of management. “The management says we must now work in teams. We are going to bring in design people and graphics people and reporters and have them all sit down with an editor – who has never demonstrated any great writing or journalistic skill – and spend a lot of time shaping a story. I’m sorry. That’s just another way of reaching deeper down into the process and exerting more marketing control over your reporters.”20

One might also argue that newsroom topic teams are not true teams. John Russial notes that “skills among newspaper team members tend to be more similar than complementary, and individual performance remains a key element in reporter assessment.”21 Goal achievement is one critical function of the team system, and in a business where the product is information, measuring output can be problematic. What value can be assigned to a news story? A headline?

Russell’s before-and-after content analysis found that when an Oregon newspaper instituted a health and science team, there was an increase in the amount of attention paid to health and science stories in the newspaper.22 He noted, however, that in the absence of an unrealistic expansion in the amount of newshole, all topic teams could not show the same sort of increase in coverage and play unless other areas traditionally covered in the newspaper were going to receive less coverage or no coverage at all.

Star Tribune, Pioneer Press teams

The Twin Cities newspaper market is highly competitive, despite the fact that the (Minneapolis) Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press are published in different cities. In fact, managers at the two newspapers routinely refer to the two cities as the “east metro” (St. Paul) and “west metro” (Minneapolis) as a way to indicate that their market really encompasses both cities and the surrounding suburbs. The Star Tribune opened a news bureau and began distribution of a St. Paul edition of the newspaper in 1987. The Star Tribune, purchased by McClatchy Newspapers in November 1997, circulates 393,800 daily and 678,000 Sunday newspapers, while the Knight-Ridder-owned Pioneer Press’ circulation is 203,000 daily and 270,600 Sunday. The Star Tribune newsroom employs about 360; the Pioneer Press newsroom employs about 240. The Newspaper Guild of the Twin Cities chapter represents members in the two newsrooms.

Both newspapers instituted topic teams within six months of each other in 1995, after negotiations with the Guild on terms and conditions for the changes. The motivations and strategies for making these changes differed slightly. However, internal documents, local and national trade press accounts, public presentations by top newspaper officials, and author interviews with managers and newsroom personnel confirm that the newspapers meant to move away from a product-focus and toward a focus on serving reader and advertiser customers through a marketing approach.

The changes at the larger Star Tribune have received more attention and comment, perhaps because Kramer and Editor Tim McGuire have been outspoken and visible within the industry.23 Together they instituted a highly controversial corporate reorganization in 1993. Their goals were to “achieve real growth in revenue and profit by serving more needs of our reader and marketer customers, with multiple products and services, in and outside the newspaper, while fulfilling the Star Tribune’s public service mission.”24 At that time, the newsroom became part of something called the Reader Customer Unit, responsible for all activities relating to the readers (reader customer sales and service, reader market research, etc.). McGuire became General Manager as well as Editor, with direct responsibility for meeting specific profit goals, a change that caused much alarm in the newsroom.25

In a 1994 presentation to the University of Minnesota Business School faculty and students, Kramer outlined seven goals for the newsroom. First on the list was reader focus. Journalistic excellence was second. This strong reader/ marketing-driven focus colored the newsroom restructuring that followed in 1995.

When the team system was implemented, the top managerial positions went from 13 to seven (news content, features content, visual content, production, administrative activities, change editor, and director of player personnel), led by the News Leader, Pam Fine. Section coordinating editors reported to the seven managers, and reporters and copy editors were assigned to one of 16 content-oriented teams with a team leader or two for each. There were not enough photographers and graphic artists to go around, so they were given assignments to multiple teams. Many of the managerial positions were opened up, so people had to re-apply for their positions. Everyone in the newsroom received a day and-a-half training session when teams were instituted.

Since then, there has been the expected tinkering with both the corporate and newsroom structure. The Reader Customer Unit was dropped in 1996, and the reader sales and service responsibilities were assigned to another corporate unit. McGuire retained his title as editor, and added oversight of the paper’s digital efforts and other content-related products to his portfolio, with a continued responsibility for profit and financial accountability. News Leader Fine’s title reverted to managing editor after she found that folks outside the newsroom with whom she interacted didn’t know what her role was.26 Another manager was added, bringing the total to eight, and team titles and newsroom staff assignments have changed several times.

The rhetoric of the publisher and editor throughout the transition made it clear that there was no guarantee that the future of the company lay with the traditional newspaper, but with information products and services that delivered high-value content to readers where and how they wanted to receive them. The effects of these types of pronouncements on newsroom morale were not good.27 In addition, the newspaper has been embarrassed by several highprofile incidents in which glaring mechanical, production and substantive errors have led to lawsuits or berating from public officials, as well as prominent published apologies.28 This demoralized the staff, which worried that the quality of the news product was suffering.

Across the river, the Pioneer Press managers were making their own changes. In 1994, newly installed Publisher Peter Ridder, who has since left for another job within the chain, invested in a $1 million campaign to attract readers with more local, business and entertainment news, increased amenities for advertisers, and added 11 newsroom positions and seven pages of newshole per week.29 Editor Walker Lundy and Managing Editor Ken Doctor, who has also since left the paper for another K-R job, began asking how they could make the newspaper better and make the newsroom a better place to work. These changes were being made within the larger corporate context of the Knight-Ridder chain, which was undergoing a number of upheavals and shifts in priorities and focus.30

Lundy and Doctor said that their move toward newsroom teams was not mandated by Knight Ridder corporate managers, but they admitted that the Pioneer Press is a case study for the chain because the Newspaper Guild is such a strong influence in the newsroom.31

Managers at the Pioneer Press came up with three reasons why they had to change. The first reason was for its readers (readers are changing and we have to keep up to attract them); the second was for the newsroom (we keep making the same mistakes and we are not improving); the third reason was for the future (we have to keep up with the world out there).32 Because they run the smaller paper in the competition with the Star Tribune, a strong motivation for managers at the Pioneer Press is differentiation of their news product as a strategy for reducing subscriber churn and holding readers. They focus heavily on the east metro, the northeastern and southeastern metro suburbs and a portion of western Wisconsin in their news coverage.

In 1994, two-person teams (one Guild, one management) from the Pioneer Press visited nine newspapers around the country to study the innovations that those newsrooms had instituted. They came back with show-and-tell reports that most papers were moving toward teams. After a call for volunteers, 60 people formed groups to work on the plan for a move to the team system. The new structure was unveiled in July 1995. The “Newsroom Mission Statement” lists four goals:

“We will put readers first.”

“We will cultivate one newsroom.”

“We will work smarter.”

“We will respect each other.”33

The Pioneer Press eliminated the copy desk, the layout desk, and the features and metro desks. It instituted content teams (the number has fluctuated around 15), assigned copy editors to teams, created a production hub responsible for designing the paper, and flattened the management structure from six layers to four, with about 12 senior editors and 11 team leaders who are responsible for generating content for each section. A total of 50 people changed jobs. Senior editors and team leaders had four days of off-site training with a newsroom staff member from another Knight-Ridder paper, the San Jose Mercury News. All other newsroom staff had one day of training on site.

One of the controversial decisions that St. Paul managers made originally was to forego creating a general assignment team. As newsroom staff began to work within the new structure, they quickly discovered that general assignment coverage was slipping and they were missing many breaking stories because they could not free up staffers from content teams to cover news as it happened. In July 1996, several original teams were abandoned and a Cover/General Assignment team was created to try to re-establish a focus on breaking news. As at the Star Tribune, tinkering and refinements continued, with staff concerns and grumblings occasionally breaking out into the local alternative press.34

Research questions

The research questions in this research, which is part of a larger survey of the team system and newsroom management, focus on the topic of empowerment.35 Research literature and the way that the team system was sold to the newsrooms indicate that people lower in the hierarchy are supposed to gain more power to control their own work. This to two research questions: Will the team system allow journalists to perceive themselves as having more authority in their jobs? Second, given the criticisms of the team system published in the alternative and trade presses, and the Willis and Willis idea that rapid editorial turnover is problematic for the team system, the second question is: Who has the shorter job tenure, editors or reporters?

Method

This study, which examines journalists’ assessments of the effects of the newsroom team system on empowerment, authority and job tenure, is based on a series of focus group interviews and a census survey of newsroom staff in the two newspapers. Researchers conducted interviews with two newsroom focus groups at the Pioneer Press in May 1996 and two newsroom focus groups at the Star Tribune in June 1996. Focus group participants included section editors, team editors, reporters, copy editors, photographers, graphic artists, and layout/production staff. Researchers received approval for the study from management and Guild representatives in each newsroom.

Based on the information from the focus groups and a review of the literature, a six-page, 80-item questionnaire was designed to elicit journalists’ responses about the effects of the team system on their work, time management and efficiency issues, assignment of work, quality of journalism, communication in the newsroom, and leadership and responsibility issues. The final, openended question left space for comments “about the team system and its relationship to news production and news quality.”

The questionnaire was pretested in August 1996 with seven newsroom staffers representing a variety of job categories. The revised questionnaire, along with a cover letter and a stamped return envelope, was delivered in September 1996 to every newsroom staffer at both newspapers. Staff at each newspaper helped distribute questionnaires in newsroom and bureau mailboxes. A total of 597 questionnaires was distributed (360 to the Star Tribune and 237 to the Pioneer Press). Two weeks later, staff helped distribute a reminder postcard to newsroom mailboxes. The number of completed questionnaires returned to researchers was 244, for a response rate of 41 percent. One hundredfifty respondents wrote comments in the open-ended section.

It should be noted that no claims can be made about applicability of these findings to other situations because this survey was administered to a census of staff at two case study newspapers.

Results

As might be expected, there is a variety of opinions about the effects of team journalism. In addition, both newspapers instituted a redesign at about the same time the team system was introduced, and several journalists were careful to note that their impressions may have been colored by production and design changes.

It is generally the opinion of the journalists at the two papers that the team system has not given them more authority in their jobs. Typical of the written comments from the reporters was:

From the beginning, leaders paid much lip service to ’empowerment’ of news staff while holding on to most of their power. The trend in recent months has been to gather even more power to themselves, to make decisions without any concern for the opinions of the people who do the work. It is worse now than before the team structure was put in place. I find I often have greater responsibility than before and, at the same time, less authority.

A team leader noted:

The newly empowered newsroom has obscured authority so that few people (except coordinators and team leaders) are held accountable and everything turns into a negotiation.

More than half (52.6 percent) felt they had less authority under the team system. However, nearly three out of four (74.47 percent) said they had more responsibility.

Who has less authority? What does it mean for journalists to have less authority in their jobs? In general, the findings seem to conclude that people who feel they have less authority say:

they are likely to be on a team of 11 or more people,

they are more likely to be labor; management says it has more authority than before,

they are more likely to work during the day than at night,

they have less success getting their story ideas into the paper; also,

they have a harder time getting a page one story into the paper

they are unsure of their goals, the chain of command and who makes the final decisions about their work. About one in four said there is less communication with others in the team system.

Team size

The larger the team size, the less authority the team member feels, and the “too big” size is more than 11 people. Table 1 summarizes the responses on the size of the team and the authority felt by its members.

When the size of the team is less than 11, a majority of the team members (56.9 percent) said they had more authority than before the team system went into operation. But as the team size grew, the more likely the team members were to report that they had less authority. For example, 56.3 percent of the members of teams with 11 to 15 people said they had less authority; and 68.8 percent of the team members with 16 to 20 people said they had less authority.

The smaller the team, the more likely the team members feel they have more authority than under the old system. One reporter on a smaller-sized team said, “I like the interaction with other team members and – to the degree that the ideal is honored – the independence of the team.”

Another said

The bright spot is my team – it’s the ONE thing in the last six or seven years that has made a positive difference in my work life. Being on the … team is like being on a small newspaper’s staff: I am surrounded and supported by professionals, who believe in me and each other, and that atmosphere has made work a place I enjoy coming to.

Reporters on larger teams said stories can be “over-planned” and the teams are “top-heavy.”

Labor versus managment

There is a perceived shift in power to managers. Nearly six out of 10 hourly workers (labor) say they have less authority under the team system than before, while almost two-thirds of the managers say they have more authority than prior to the team system. Some of the shift may be due to job changes such as a reporter appointed as a manager during the reorganization.

Day versus night shift

Some authority seems to have transferred from the day shift to the night shift under the new system. A slight majority (55.6 percent) of the daysiders say they’ve lost authority, while a similar percentage of nightsiders (57.5) say they have gained it. “I believe the team system might be fine in a business where everybody works Monday-Friday 9 to 5. I do not believe it works in a 7-day operation where major shifts stretch from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. It’s not possible to build team cohesion when team members aren’t even in the building at the same hours daily,” wrote one respondent.

Story ideas

Journalists at the two papers who said they have less authority have less of a chance getting their story ideas into the paper. Of those who answered the question, 85.5 percent said they have either the same or less chances of getting a story idea published. “There is no one minding the store!” said one. “Technically, since no one is in charge, no one is accountable. I’ve informed editors of stories and have been passed along to someone else.” Only 13.8 percent said that it was easier to get a page one story under the team system. “Senior editors carry a lot of clout,” said another. “Reporters are pretty low on the food chain.” Another wrote: “[It’s] led to the top-down story assignments by editors rarely outside of the office and made it almost impossible for a reporter who sees a good story to just go do it.” “Stories must be bartered,” said another.

Hierarchy and goals

Those who perceive less authority are unsure of the chain of command, or at least its top links. When asked if they knew who made the final decisions about their stories, 68.1 percent said they did not know. In terms of goals, 62.6 percent said they were unsure of the goals for their own work. One respondent said, “it is a system that works well on teams where everyone `buys in,’ less well on teams that have people who dislike the team system or their team assignments.”

About one in four (23.6 percent) said there was less communication under the team system than before it. Only 34.8 percent said communication had increased, and some written responses indicated that the relationship with the visual image workers was better. “On the positive side, it has brought reporters into a closer working relationship with graphics and photo earlier in the process. That is good.” Another wrote, “I know who is going to copy edit my story and can involve them in the process early on.”

In the case of job tenure at the two newspapers, the reporters are more experienced in their jobs than the editors. Reporters at the papers have a mean of 14.54 years of experience at their newspaper, while editors have a mean of 10.635 years of experience at their newspaper (p

A word of caution is in order. While it is interesting that editors have a statistically shorter tenure at their specific papers than reporters do, one must be careful about making a flat claim that there is a higher turnover rate for editors. One factor which could be at work is that someone at the Star Tribune or Pioneer Press who is now an editor may have been a reporter for several years somewhere else, so they may be very new at the job of editor. That could translate into an even higher turnover rate for editors, of course, but the survey was not able to capture that dimension.

Discussion

What does it mean to lose authority as a journalist? In a study of managerial innovation in newspaper organizations, Sharon Polansky and Douglas Hughes found a relationship between authority and autonomy, and found that people have to have autonomy in order to be innovative.37 It is difficult for management to inspire innovation among employees when more than half of the staff reports that it has lost authority under the new system.

If one goal of the team system is to give employees more freedom, and thus “empower” them, that goal is not being met for a substantial number of newsroom workers at the two papers in this study. The feeling of a top-down power flow was evident in the open-ended answers in the survey, as well as the focus group interviews.

One person wrote:

The wonderfulness of the team concept is to share the authority. It works as long as the team members and team leader work closely and are honest with each other. Otherwise, it comes back to the old problem about one person playing power over another. And if an unpleasant change occurs that way, it is far more devastating because there is some betrayal of trusts involved more than just disappointment.

Another wrote:

It is a concept that could work and be exciting if it led to more empowerment of a greater number of people in the newsroom, because I firmly believe we have a sharp and talented staff. However, in practice at our newspaper it has increased the power in decision-making of our top two editors, “leveled” all other managers-giving them more responsibilities with fewer rewards and true authority; caused more competitiveness, bitterness and infighting between team leaders/senior editors and all staffers…

Some of the problems of the team system can be traced to its newness, job shuffling and staff turnover in the newsrooms, plus redesigns of the newspapers. “Lots of shuffling that is making people very unhappy seems to be due to poor planning at the start,” wrote one. It is difficult to tease out some of the production troubles that may be due to the team system and those which are due to the new procedures involved in the redesigns. “I think teams work,” wrote one staffer. “The newsroom reorganization and redesign caused much more work, more confusion and more errors… The problem isn’t in the teams it’s the reorganization and speed-up it caused.”

Conclusion

There maybe some structural characteristics in a topic team system that make it a poor model for newsrooms and other jobs where creativity and certain professional standards are important. The team system as it debuted in the Twin Cities’ newspapers was not empowering the majority of the employees, according to the employees themselves. Those who feel less authority under the team system are on larger teams, have a harder time getting their stories into the paper, are unsure of the chain of command, tend to work the day shift and are reporters rather than editors.

Participatory management systems have been sold to newsrooms as a way to make people lower in the hierarchy feel they have more control over their work. The theory is that people with more control over their work are happier, more productive, more loyal and more eager to do the job. Although there are some exceptions, a majority of newsroom staffers at the two papers in this study have not experienced those benefits.

Willis and Willis note that journalists may be different enough from other workers to cause problems for new management systems that have been successful elsewhere: “… the newsroom staff presents possibly the greatest challenge because journalists often operate from different motivational criteria than do the other task-oriented employees or business/sales staff. That is one reason why some newspapers are experiencing trouble in trying to innovate new leadership styles in the newsroom.”38

Examining the team system should be important to newspaper managers, particularly since so many of them have converted their newsrooms into the participatory management style without benefit of extensive research as it applies to journalists. Indeed, a backlash against the team system has developed among some scholars and writers.39 A central criticism is that outside of certain manufacturing-related industries, the team system is not well-suited for the workplace. Especially for those in positions that demand creativity and for whom rewards are based on individual accomplishment, the team system actually might be counterproductive.

In newsrooms filled with workers who pride themselves on their creativity, staffers may perceive that the team system simply multiplies the opportunities for meddling with individual creative effort. The comments from some of respondents confirmed that the team system was perceived as a means to garner more work out of fewer people, and for managers to exert more control over editorial content.

The topic team system in newsrooms, then, is problematic in terms of the staffs of the two newspapers in this study. Managers who sold the system as a means for empowering staff were perceived as being naive, if not disingenuous, by staffers who felt they actually lost authority after the implementation of the team system. In terms of the empowerment issue, the results of this study indicate that, although some workers have benefited, enough have had a negative experience to give managers pause before implementing the topic team system. At minimum, the team system in newsrooms should not be positioned as a staff empowerment innovation.

Notes

1. One exception is John T. Russial, Topic-team performance: A content study. Newspaper Research Journal, Winter/Spring 1997, pp.126-144. 2. For examples of structural newsroom changes, see Scott Johnson, Newsroom Circles. Quill, March 1993, pp. 28-30; Carl Sessions Stepp, Reinventing the Newsroom. American Journalism Review, April 1995, pp. 28-33; Janet S. Weaver, Wichita is Doing Fine Without a Copy Desk. American Editor, January/February/March 1996, pp.14-16; Betty Wells, Challenges of the 1990’s are Reshaping Newsroom Structures. ASNE Bulletin, December 1992, pp. 4-11; Raleigh Mann, Restructuring Adds to Stress on Desks -But Help is at Hand. American Editor, November 1995, pp. 5-7; Rebecca Ross-Albers, New-Age Newsrooms. presstime, April 1995, pp. 31-35.

3. Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith, The Wisdom of Teams. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1993, p. 45. 4. Katzenbach and Smith, op. cit., p. 18.

5. Cole Campbell, New Mission Statement. ASNE Bulletin, October 1994, p. 22.

6. Art Popham, Reconfigured Newsroom Should Allow More Agile Decision-making. Tacoma News Tribune, September 3,1995, p. B-1. 7. Nancy M. Davis, Testing Teamwork. presstime, February 1994, p. 27. 8. Michael Hammer and James Champy, Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for the Business Revolution. New York, Harper Business, 1993; Katzenbach and Smith, op. cit.; Marshall Sashkin and Kenneth J. Kiser, Putting Total Quality Management to Work. San Francisco, Berrett-Kohler, 1993.

9. Davis, op. cit., p. 24.

10. John M. Lavine and Daniel B. Wackman, Managing Media Organizations: Effective Leadership of the Media. White Plains, New York, Longman, 1988, p. 150. 11. Jim Willis and Diane B. Willis, New Directions in Media Management. Needham Heights, Massachussets, Allyn & Bacon, 1993. 12. Willis and Willis, op. cit., p. 223.

13. Willis and Willis, op. cit., p. 223. 14. Willis and Willis, op. cit., p. 224. 15. Willis and Willis, op. cit., p. 224.

16. Joel Kramer, How To Change a Newspaper. presstime, March 1994, p. 48. 17. Joel Kramer, Creating Our Own Future. Newsmakers, February 8,1994, p. 2.

18. Tom Koenninger, Newsroom Darwinism. ASNE Bulletin, September 1993, pp. 4-13; Albers, op. cit., Jim Sachetti, Journalists are Loners. ASNE Bulletin, April 1995, pp. 2021; Stepp, op. cit.

19. Willis and Willis, op. cit. p. 225.

20. Richard Broderick, Joel and Tim’s Excellent Adventure. Minnesota Monthly, August 1994, p. 97.

21. Russial, op. cit., p. 127. 22. Russial, op. cit.

23. Kramer, op. cit.; Broderick, op. cit.; Patrick Garry, Re-Inventing the Star Tribune. Minnesota Journal of Law and Politics, March 1994, pp. 9-15; William Glaberson, Press Fad, or Future, in Minneapolis. New York Times, August 21, 1995, pp. C1, C6; William Souder, Welcome to the Fun House: Strange Days at the Star Tribune. Mpls./ St. Paul, June 1996, pp. 55-57+.

24. Joel Kramer, Creating Our Own Future. Newsmakers: For and About Star Tribune Employees, Special Edition, February 8, 1994, p. 2. 25. Garry, op. cit.

26. Burl Gilyard, Oh, the Winds of Change. Twin Cities Reader, June 26-July 2, 1996, p.7.

27. Souder, op. cit.

28. Burl Gilyard, Suing the Strib for Fun and Profit. Twin Cities Reader, October 9-15, 1996, p. 7.

29. Rebecca Ross Albers, Extra! Extra? presstime, June 1994, pp. 55-56. 30. Susan Paterno, Whither Knight-Ridder? American Journalism Review, January/ February 1996, pp. 18-27.

31. Author interviews with Lundy and Doctor, May 8, 1996. 32. Author interviews with Lundy and Doctor, May 8, 1996. 33. St. Paul Pioneer Press Newsroom Mission Statement, 1995.

34. Burl Gilyard, The Big Fix Is In-Again. Twin Cities Reader, July 12-23, 1996, p. 6. 35. This work reports on just one aspect of the data generated by this study. The researchers chose to look at the authority/empowerment/tenure issue since it has received much of the attention of the trade press and others. Additional findings will be reported in future articles.

36. Respondents to this survey were 59 percent male and 41 percent female. Ninetythree percent of the respondents belonged to the Guild. The labor-management breakdown was two-thirds labor to one-third management. Seventy-six percent of the respondents worked the day shift. Their mean number of years of newspaper experience was 18, while the mean number of years of experience at the specific paper was 13. Seventytwo percent of the respondents were on a team that had been in existence 10 months or longer.

37. Sharon Polansky and Douglas W.W. Hughes, Managerial Innovation in Newsroom Organizations. Newspaper Research Journal, Fall 1986, pp. 1-12. 38. Willis and Willis, op. cit., p. 224.

39. For example, see Harvey Robbins and Michael Finley, Why Teams Don’t Work: What Went Wrong and How to Make it Right. Princeton, New Jersey: Peterson’s/ Pacesetter Books, 1995.

Neuzil is associate professor in the department of journalism and mass communication at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. Hansen is

associate professor and Ward professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The authors were assisted by the University of St. Thomas Research Assistance Grant and the Partnership in Learning grant programs.

Copyright E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Winter 1999

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