Why newsrooms should be noisy

It’s the middle of summer.

But the Christmas decorations are up, the chunky patterned knitwear is being worn, and the party food has been cracked open.

It’s a sales day. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay.

There’ll be whistles, mince pie on string-eating challenges, cheering – and if we’re really lucky, the ringing of the “we’ve sold an ad” bell.

Traditionally, we serious-minded and ostentatiously hard-working journalists hate it.

We tut our way through the day, humourless sods that we are.

And yet there are lessons we can learn from some of the antics of our commercial colleagues.

It’s a bleak old picture out there in many of the markets in which we operate, and loneliness and rejection are never far away.

So the kind of group hug provided by sales days is vital in creating the positivity, energy and commitment to get things done.

And that’s no different in editorial.

Great news stories don’t just happen.

Most of the ones that fall into our laps are the ones which we should think twice about doing anyway – the easy ones, the tedious charity fundraising ones, the ‘council does its job’ ones, the ‘shouldn’t this really be advertising?’ ones.

The stories that are worth telling are those which need driving along, where editors and newsdesks have to lead a hustling and hassling process passed along the chain through reporters to contacts and official bodies.

Running a newsdesk requires relentness drive and energy; a curiosity that never dims; and the refusal to leave any stone unturned in the search for a compelling angle.

But it also needs lashings of good humour, charm and cunning.

Some of this will be directed at those contacts and official sources.

But most will be poured into keeping your own staff energised, focused and resourceful.

And now and again, that needs a bit of noise.

One of the newsrooms I was in this week was greeting the arrival of good stories with the shouted word ‘boom’ – which was a good start.

I can’t help thinking that a klaxon would be even better, though.

I look forward to the day when the Splash Klaxon hits back against that Ad Bell.

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