“After Workshops” is a new BSUJW column that focuses on taking skills and themes from Summer Workshops and applying them to your school’s media staffs.
Having a tight knit staff can help your publication run smoothly and will make working more enjoyable. An integral part of achieving this goal is to implement team-building measures for your staff. Here are some tips and tricks to mastering team-building activities and policies for your newsroom:
Get editors together in the summer.
The first step to having a connected staff is to have a connected editorial team. Editors meeting up in the summer gives them a chance to gel as a team and plan for the year. At BSUJW Summer Workshops, we have students participate in a number of team-building exercises to take back to their schools. Coming to Workshops in and of itself can be a major team-building experience for everyone that is there before school even starts. This often gives editors a way to bond before taking over the newsroom and gives them an idea on what types of team-building activities they can put forth for their own staff. However, if coming to BSUJW isn’t in the cards for your team, you can still meet up! Gather in your local Starbucks on a few Saturday mornings or hold a personalized “editor’s retreat” at one of the editors’ homes over a weekend. Having a tight group of editors before school starts, can help ensure staff bonding during the school year.
Once school begins, Implement early and often.
Start the year strong with a team-building activity on the first day. Spend the first class period of the semester performing ice breakers and getting-to-know-you activities. This helps first-year staffers break out of their shells and allows unfamiliar members to learn names and interests. Once deadlines get rolling or work begins piling up, don’t forget to continue team-building days! Pick one day a month where you can get out of your newsroom, find a patch of grass outside and wind down with your staff. It can be hard finding time in your schedule for this, but it is ultimately worth it. Activities during these times could include: STEM exercises, like building pasta towers or trust-building activities.
Consider some “rolling” team-building activities.
Try out some activities that are somewhat “rolling,” or that take place in the background on a day-to-day basis. These can take many forms, though one of my favorite is a “little”/”big” system, where a new staffer is paired up with a returning staffer to learn the ropes and to have someone to talk to about problems within the newsroom. This works especially well if you can pair up students from similar sections or jobs. Other “rolling” activities could be anything from birthday celebrations to deadline incentives.