There are few work relationships as adversarial as that of reporter and editor. An editor’s job is to challenge a reporter’s story. Reporters, who bristle at control, just want to chase it. With luck, the tension between the two leads to a better product. But it goes more smoothly when they trust the other’s judgment.
■ The leader: Angela Rosemond, local TV-news boss
■ The challenge: Corralling headstrong employees under tight deadlines.
■ The techniques: Never refer to employees as difficult or high-maintenance. Only use the most glowing terms when speaking of them. Know their jobs as well as your own.
To gain credibility among reporters, Chicago editors have to know city politics, history and basic geography, like where Wacker Drive is. After working in the Chicago news market for 22 years, Angela Rosemond, managing editor of WMAQ-TV/Channel 5 since 1997, knows her stuff.
It also helps that her leadership style is low-key, despite the fast pace of the newsroom, where stories are constantly breaking, changing and, sometimes, falling apart. "I’ve never seen her raise her voice," says Nesita Kwan, the station’s health reporter, who has worked with Rosemond for 10 years.
"I’ve never seen her throw things—the classic broadcast news things. She just doesn’t do it."
Rosemond’s personality is a sharp contrast to those of many reporters who, under pressure, lose their temper when they don’t get what they want. She has a calming effect on them, says reporter Charlie Wojciechowski. "The fact that she’s not high-maintenance makes her better-equipped to deal with people who are.’’
Rosemond, 45, would be the last one to call her staff difficult. "I haven’t had any issues with people giving me a hard time. We really get along really well," she says.
The key to being a good leader in this job, Rosemond says, is staying on top of the news and being helpful to reporters. It’s also a matter of keeping her own house in order. She’s at her desk by 6:30 a.m. to pore over newspapers and newswires. She keeps police scanners on all day.
"You have to be really organized from the minute you sit down," she says. "You have to communicate clearly what is expected of people. You have to be willing to accept there may be a change, and you always have to have a plan B in your pocket."