After learning a little about them – and I mean, just a little – I was having a conversation in the newsroom with the majority of the Editorial staff about the possibility of launching podcasts; perhaps a weekly news analysis one and perhaps a local sport-related one.
The general response from the staff was pretty positive. Then something surprised a handful of our veterans, myself included. One of our young, 20-something staffers chipped in how she thought it was a good idea because podcasts are so popular with her generation. I was taken aback. It only makes sense that the technology would be favored by young people. Instead, I guess I had this vision of podcasts being very specifically targeted at narrow audiences. Well, I was due for an education and got one – on how widespread the popularity is, how immensely diverse podcast offerings are and how many well-known figures can be seen and or heard on podcasts. Fascinating!
Now, I am not committing us to launching MDN podcasts this year, although it’s something to explore.
Instead, what occurred to me later in a chat with another veteran of the newsroom is what a benefit, what a joy it is that MDN enjoys the benefits of generations of Editorial staff members. I’ve not had a staff like the staff that serves MDN readers, and the combination is, to me, a winning one.
Often I trumpet the experience we have in the department. Without citing any single individual’s tenure, we have more than 150 years experience in Minot reporting in the office. This is extraordinarily rare in the industry, and it is a tremendous benefit. Nothing has happened in Minot in decades that these veterans didn’t cover, weren’t a part of or don’t have intimate knowledge of. I cannot recall how many times the past two years that a reader has mentioned something about which I was unfamiliar. I subsequently walk into the newsroom, state the topic, and after the to-be-expected sass and sarcasm, get a comprehensive briefing on the topic. It is amazing, and truth is, I love to show off the depth of my staff’s knowledge. Oh, someone in another department or our publisher asks about something, and to quote the hilarious internet meme, “Hold my beer.” Guaranteed someone on my staff can deliver a national security level briefing on the topic. It is quite amazing. Those of you who have gotten to know our staff veterans are probably not surprised.
Yet, it’s the generations that bolster our staff. The team includes people who have been with us for four decades and for two decades – and we have staff members who celebrated their 21st birthdays in the newsroom recently. (OK, so this really amazes me. 21? Can you imagine?)
This many generations of staff members provide a combination of experiences, sensibilities, awareness, talents, knowledge and acumen. It is not a homogeneous team or an echo chamber of identical perspectives and values. Instead, the team in whole represents generations of similarities and differences.
I could write weekly about how much I value our Editorial team, just as I could praise the fine people all throughout our building. Their humility keeps me in line most of the time. But sometimes, an occurrence prompts me to step back and marvel at what all they bring to the table every day.
Sometimes that singular occurrence can be something as simply as a younger staff member schooling those of us with a few more miles on our tires.
And what a wonderful thing that can be.