Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Exciting new opportunity for newsroom managers

By Annetjie van Wynegaard

Rhodes University’s Sol Plaatje Institute for Media Leadership will host a five-day course entitled “NEXT Newsroom Management” from 9 to 13 September 2013. The course is aimed at editors-in-chief, news directors and news editors who supervise journalists and media professionals in multi-platform newsrooms.

The course is designed to give participants conceptual and analytical tools, and practical knowledge and skills, to manage media organisations effectively.

Francis Mdlongwa, director of the Sol Plaatje Institute for Media Leadership, said: “This course has been designed specifically for senior African media leaders and managers who want to delve deeper into the issues that define leadership and management in today’s rapidly shifting media landscape.”

During the course participants will use case studies, role plays and other methodologies to address the key issues and challenges of media leadership and management that newsroom editors in Africa and the world face. The course is called “Next Newsroom Management” to acknowledge that the news environment is increasingly becoming ambiguous and constantly undergoing deep change.

Mdlongwa explained: “We thus examine a range of leadership styles and their impacts on followers and how followers themselves impact leaders; we look at how to bring about change to an organisation and the challenges that this entails from the organisation’s culture, power, politics and structure; and we zero in on the increasing importance in today’s networked world for organisations to cultivate and nurture mutually beneficial relationships with key stakeholders.”

The course is divided into six modules. They are Leadership for Excellence, Strategic Management, Managing Change, Managing Teams and Individuals, Managing Stakeholder Engagement and Partnerships, and a Take-home Management Tool Box. The leadership for excellence module explores different leadership styles and how they apply to a news environment. The discussion will focus on how leadership can be shaped as a positive motivating factor to create a good work environment and increase productivity.

Strategic management introduces participants to media business strategies, both inward and outward-facing strategies, to achieve a competitive advantage in the local and global media marketplace.

The managing change module focuses on the drivers and inhibitors of change in African media and how media organisations can use the drivers of change to transform their organisations to become more successful and sustainable.

How do you manage your employees in the workplace? What makes them tick? The module on managing teams and individuals explores what employees want and why in the workplace and what motivates/demotivates them and strategies of getting the best out of them to achieve organisational goals, both as individuals and teams.

The module on managing stakeholder engagement and partnerships examines how people can achieve the triple bottom line of profit, people and planet by nurturing mutually beneficial partnerships with stakeholders. These relationships that are formed in an increasingly social digital environment are important to achieve a competitive advantage in the market place.

Participants will leave with a management tool box, drawn from their own experiences and key lessons from the course, including participants’ reflections on challenges that media managers will face in the near future and how these could be overcome. The course is designed to be highly interactive and will let participants learn by doing – what is known as action learning – using a range of methods.

Mdlongwa, referring to the modules of the course, commented: “All of these issues have become more critical today than ever before because our world has become more unstable, more uncertain and more ambiguous than before. Thus managers and leaders need to have a holistic understanding of their changing landscape and how they could cope with it and thrive. They also need to have appropriate tools which they could deploy to seek solutions to many of these change-challenges.”

The Sol Plaatje Institute is the only university level institute in Africa and the developing world that trains graduates and editors in media leadership and management. Interested candidates may email the workshop coordinator, Linda Snam, at or, or telephone her at 046 603 8949 for registration, details and accommodation requirements.


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