Friday, 13 November 2009

Bill Glisky 2

The debate continues . . .

Bill Glisky, managing editor of the Belleville Intelligencer, responds to numerous comments from TSF readers following his response to an anonymous TSF reader's comments:

Bill, quoting from comments posted, writes:

A couple rebuttal points, just to keep the discussion going:

"I think Bill was over generalizing too."

On the contrary, I was speaking about one particular reporter and his attitude toward his work. As noted in my post, I have worked with many, many reporters who don't have this attitude (including the two I have working in my newsroom now) who "are slugging away doing the best they can with limited time and resources with little (if any) complaint." To this group I say God bless them and would that all up and coming reporters were exactly the same.

"It would be nice if reporters had time to work on stories."

Sure, and it would be nice if dollar bills flew out of my butt and the Swedish bikini team set up shop outside my office, but it's not going to happen. The issue is what are you going to do about it - whine and complain, or make the most out of what little time you have and few resources that are available to you to do something great. I was privileged enough at the ONAs last year to know eight people nominated for awards, all from small newsrooms and all who found the time and took the initiative to do more.

"There's no reward for digging, for doing the extra . . . you get the same pink slip as everyone else."

I have always felt the reward for doing this job right was twofold: serving the readers well and the satisfaction of doing the job right. For me, this job has never been about the paycheque, it's been about, as one commenter noted, "love of working at a newspaper."

"But I'd be grateful for a simple fucking (pardon the language) thank you. Not once has anyone said thanks, thanks for going out of your way to make the paper a bit better."

Same answer. Sure your editors should say thank you, but so what? Be proud of the effort you have put into doing the job right and don't worry about the pats on the back. That's not what this job should be about. It would be nice if it was, but again it's not. So what?

Very early in my career, a wise retired journalist asked me a pointed and poignant question: Is being a journalist your profession or your vocation? I answered the latter, and more than 20 years later feel the same way.

That's why I, like many, will bemoan changes being made, some due to the recession, some due to poor understanding of this business and some made out of greed that could very well make the poster who said newspapers will be dead absolutely correct.

Then I pick myself up, shake myself off and go about doing the best job I can, producing the best newspaper I can despite all the challenges involved in that. And I do so not because of a paycheque or a pat on the back. I do it because that is what I was taught a journalist does.

If that makes me a throwback to the 1960s so be it. But I'll be damned if I'm going to let anybody anywhere change that in me.


  1. As the poster who was looking for a simple thank you from the bosses for the extra on my own time with my own gear, I'm glad I don't work for you Bill.
    Great attitude you have there with the 'So what.' Others on here are saying you're a great guy to work for, but if you can't recognize the simple fact that a bit of positive reinforcement goes a long way, then you shouldn't be a manager. Working in a company that cares little about its employees, any boss that gives a bit of positive reinforcement is a welcome thing.

  2. You want a friend? Get a dog.

    You sound like a little girl whose life needs positive reinforcement for everything you do.

    Hello. Real world. You girls under 30 can't live without your achievement medals for everything you do in life.

    Sorry. The real world doesn't work that way.

  3. Uh, yeah, the world does work that way. If you want people to go through a wall for you, if you want them to dig deeper into stories, if you want them to do all they can just so they don't disappoint you and, in return, the readers, then they need positive reinforcement.

    You can't expect someone to work to their fullest potential if you only give them shit when they need it, but avoid praising them when they've EARNED it.

    No wonder this company is going to shit.

  4. @anonymous 12:39 a.m.
    Actually, I'm not a little girl and I am not under 30. Don't assume anything, because you just made an ass out of yourself. I'm not looking for a friend either. The last thing I want is a boss that acts like a friend, because that never works and can only lead to trouble.
    The above poster is right, you want people to go the extra mile, you give them praise when they earn it.
    I don't need reinforcement for everything I do, but once, just once, would be nice. And I'm sure I'm not alone in this. I'm sure there are a lot of people who work for this company who care about what they do and go that extra mile. I bet very few, if any, get any feedback at all when they do. It's piss-poor management from the top on down with the constant negativity that is driving this company and all the newspapers into the ground.
    And your dismissive and childish attitude towards the comment makes me wonder whether you're a troll, management or a company ass-kisser.

  5. Being supportive of your staff is not a bad thing.
    Positive reinforcement means loyalty, dedication and tenacity. Being the bully or the gruff is old school and gone.
    That's where it should remain – in the past.
    In small newsrooms, it's important that everyone works together and supports each other.
    A misbehaving or abusive manager isn't worth anything.

    Rob Lamberti
    Toronto Sun Unit
    CEP 87-M

  6. Just look at what is going on: Reporters attacking editors, editors firing back at reporters.
    Talk about frustration spilling over. Everyone is frustrated at the state of our business and the uncertainty of the future.
    Just because an editor continues to work through these tough times doesn't mean he or she is on board with all the changes. It means he or she can live with them.
    If anyone cannot stomach the changes, be they editor or reporter, I will point to the door.
    Believe it or not, some editors have stayed on thinking they are the best people to help their reporters through these difficult times.
    We've all had our share of butthead editors. And as an editor, I can say I've had my share of butthead reporters.
    The worst bosses are the ones who lie to you; the worst reporters are the ones who lie to you, and the readers.
    I expect an honest day's work from my superiors and from my staffers, and honesty at all times.
    If you're sick, you're sick. If you screwed up, you screwed up.
    I have no respect for people who try to deflect blame or who try to take the proverbial mile after you give them an inch.
    For anyone who is complaining about the workloads in today's SunMedia reality, I will suggest revisiting your work habits. Chances are your time management skills have gone out the window when you got pissed off.
    I speak to this from experience. Clean up your time management and your days become easier to address.
    If you still can't stomach things, then pull the rip-cord.
    And for the record, if I were a reporter, I'd love to have someone such as Bill Glisky as a boss. He gives a damn.