The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) seeks an entity to design and implement a professional development fellowship initiative for station managers who oversee public media newsrooms (“Initiative”). The Initiative will engage 50 fellows (“Fellows”) in small cohorts, over a timeframe of two years, with a customized curriculum of onsite and virtual training and activities, supported by ongoing mentoring and coaching, to improve the knowledge and expertise of these managers.
Over the past several years, many public media stations have hired new station managers, many of them overseeing newsroom operations. These locally owned and operated newsrooms are a critical source of fact-based information in their communities, helping audiences distinguish fact from fiction, responding to sometimes life-threatening public emergencies, and contextualizing complex issues impacting their lives and communities. Even as public media continues to be a trusted source of information, Americans’ overall trust in media is at a historic low. Meanwhile, the rapid news cycle and increasing pressure to develop more public media presence across more platforms are pushing newsrooms to produce content at unprecedented levels.
At a time when the craft of journalism is under increased scrutiny, it is critical that public media general managers that oversee newsrooms have the support and training they need to uphold public media journalism’s highest editorial standards, including accuracy, fairness, objectivity, balance, and transparency. Station managers impact every part of the newsroom operation – from enforcing editorial firewalls to establishing workplace culture, overseeing budgets to greenlighting innovation, managing crisis response to partnership development. The Initiative will provide training in all these areas and will also create relationships among the Fellows with the objectives of advancing system collaboration and strengthening public media’s local-national journalism service.
The Initiative will provide a customized curriculum that incorporates the distinct needs of each Fellow, which could include station managers who are first-time news managers, experienced journalism leaders who are new to public media station management, and managers leading newsrooms at stations licensed to state governments or universities. The goals (“Goals”) of the Initiative are:
• To build the organizational leadership skills of public media station managers who oversee newsrooms;
• To equip these leaders with the tools they need to enforce clear editorial firewalls and make ethical decisions in high stress, high stakes news situations;
• To support institutional evolution and accelerate change in public media newsrooms, so that they can better meet the information needs of communities;
• To create mutually supportive cohorts for these station leaders, so that they see themselves as part of a larger public media ecosystem; and,
• To provide ongoing training, coaching, and support.