July 12, 2021
Top stories
Many Americans lacked access to affordable, decent housing before the coronavirus pandemic, a challenge that has disproportionately affected communities of color whether as renters or would-be home buyers unable to secure quality credit. 

Now, the situation is reaching crisis levels across the country, with millions of renters at risk of losing their housing when a federal moratorium on evictions expires this summer. That combines with the historically unprecedented high price tag for home purchases, which has effectively priced out large swaths of the American middle- and working-class. The intersection of housing policy with systemic racism is a coverage area in serious need of deep, nuanced journalism.

Join the National Press Club Journalism Institute and a distinguished panel for a discussion of how to cover these issues in collaboration with the people most affected.

Panelists include:
  • Alexandria Burris, a business reporter for the IndyStar in Indianapolis, covers corporations, real estate, and development, and recently reported on racial bias in the home appraisal industry.
  • Lauren Lindstrom, a reporter for the Charlotte Observer, covers housing and homelessness, including the region’s struggle to create and maintain affordable housing. She is a 2019 Report for America Corps member and previously reported on health at The Blade in Toledo, Ohio.
  • Dan Reed is a writer, urban planner, and community advocate who works with communities all over the United States to make their streets safer, enjoyable, and equitable. Their writing has appeared in publications including Washingtonian Magazine, the New York Times, CityLab, Architect Magazine, and Shelterforce.

Registration is now open for this program, which will take place on Friday, July 23 at 11:30 a.m. The Institute is offering this program at no cost thanks to a generous grant from the Gannett Foundation.

If you have questions about this program, please email Julie Moos, Institute executive director, at jmoos@press.org.
Advice from Jill Geisler, Bill Plante Chair in Leadership & Media Integrity at Loyola University Chicago and Freedom Forum Fellow in Women’s Leadership, shares the most common ways that managers can mess up difficult conversations.
You know my mantra: The most important thing leaders do is help others succeed. To achieve that goal, managers coach people on performance, provide ongoing feedback, listen to their hopes and fears, and challenge them with stretch assignments. 

There’s another thing they should do that managers sometimes miss: set clear expectations about collaboration across teams, groups, and divisions. The best way to do it is by example. If you’re well-networked in your organization, people are likely to take a cue from you.

But some people may need more than that. They need to hear specifically and frequently what you value. For example:

  • Do you help your team members get a handle on how other groups in your organization operate? Do they have enough knowledge to respect others’ deadlines and pressures and to know what success looks like for them? Some of my favorite management workshops are those that bring people from all parts of the company together. I love asking them to share very specific tips on “how to get the best out of my team,” then seeing people discover insights that break down barriers to collaboration. Don’t wait for a workshop. Start some good conversations.

  • Is your “default” to requests from other teams positive or negative? Saying “yes” more often than “no” has the potential to build reciprocity. A member of my newsroom management team - our planning editor - was famous for this. If other stations asked us for a favor, he would do everything possible to help. He saw it as relationship-building for the future, and kept a meticulous file of notes and names to call on when we were the ones needing help from afar on big stories, breaking news, staff recruiting, or reference checks.

  • If a staffer says “I don’t know what that person does all day!” to diss someone in another group, is your answer “Beats the heck out of me!” or “What are you doing to find out?” Think about the illogic and unfairness when someone posits that their lack of knowledge is proof that another person is goofing off. Are there slackers in the world? Sure. Just be sure there’s watertight evidence, collected over time, and strong enough to sustain a tough conversation about work ethic or workload disparities.

  • Do you encourage (and model) the same level of collegiality no matter the status and power of others? Are you and your team equally good neighbors to the custodial staff as to the company’s legal team? One of my mentors told me he could tell a lot about a person’s capacity for leadership by observing how they interacted with the waitstaff at a restaurant. Did they treat them respectfully as professionals - and as people? A friend who runs a very competitive fellowship program includes support staff in the final selection process. My friend checks in to see how the candidates treated staffers who set up their interviews and travel. It’s a very effective screener for jerks, for which that program has no room.

We’re in a perfect moment for you to rededicate or redirect your team to playing well with others. We’re reuniting in office spaces and redesigning hybrid work. We’ve learned painful lessons about the need to see the world through the eyes of others during a pandemic and racial reckoning - and to act with empathy and allyship. We’re working entrepreneurially across teams on projects and products to keep our journalism thriving.

Let’s lead the way - collegially.

Get more career advice: Read Jill's columns | Watch Manager's Minute videos
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This newsletter is written & edited by the National Press Club Journalism Institute staff: Beth Francesco, Holly Butcher Grant and Julie Moos. Send us your questions and suggestions for topics to cover.

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