Get ready for Teamwork Thursday

It’s the time of the week when I move into Mr Motivator mode.

Thursday means news day. And that means at least three Ss: stories, of course. And sweets.

But also slogans.

I’ve taken to encouraging our students with a few words of wisdom.

Last week’s didn’t pull too many punches.


But a previous one was a little more subtle.

I first heard those wise words on the brilliant TV series The Missing, which comes to what will hopefully be a suitably dramatic and conclusive end tonight.

They were extremely timely as I tried to get over the point to my student friends that the very best moments in journalism come from teamwork – from a sense of shared goals and values.

Often when you ask journalists about the very best days they’ve had, the answers will be about battling in the face of adversity, about overcoming problems which seemed insurmountable, or resourcing difficulties which seemed impossible.

One of the greatest senses of achievement I can remember was the time when we produced a one-sheet replacement front page after a major development in a long-running murder inquiry which frustratingly came hours after the paper had been printed.

It’s that team spirit that gets you through so much in journalism

We literally went around supermarkets stapling the new front page to the existing paper.
Different times, obviously.

But it’s that team spirit that gets you through so much in journalism, and which keeps people in their jobs long after logic would have sent them to more financially lucrative and less physically exhausting employment.

There was a reminder at the weekend of the need for the world of education to search harder for ways to emphasise the importance of teamwork.

The BBC’s arts editor Will Gompertz had been the guest of honour at a conference of independent school heads, where he had championed collaboration over the isolating individualism of the exam regime.

It was inspiring stuff from a man whose eccentric hair style covers a considerable intellect.

Just a few days before, I’d sat in one some presentations given by groups of our students as part of a magazine module.

It’s one of the few times when students on our courses are marked as a group.

And, my God, did they step up to the plate.

The groups had to pitch their ideas for a new magazine to us, and they did so with confidence, creativity and conviction.

What’s more, they showed the power of teamwork at every turn.

And I loved it.

It could be argued that the smaller newsrooms are, the more important it is for individuals to shine with their multi-skilled brilliance.

And there’s a lot in that, as last week’s excellent NCTJ skills conference heard.

But, in the end, the best journalism will always come from collaboration and co-operation, from communication and camaraderie. As well as, I’ve said many times before, from craic.

So, what’s the slogan for tomorrow, then?

I think it’s going to be this one.


Until I stumbled across it on the Skip Pritchard website, I hadn’t a clue who Ken Blanchard was.

Now that I have, I very much like the cut of his jib.


Wish us all luck tomorrow. And happy Teamwork Thursday to you all.


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