Wanted: The Next Generation of Newspaper Leaders

By Don Smith, West Virginia Press Association Executive Director

Future success for newspapers and news operations in West Virginia, or across the country, isn’t linked to a new website format, a new video platform or in a new social media campaign.

Like our headlines, technology changes daily.

The news industry’s hope for future success is directly linked to the quality of the industry’s next generation of leaders. The most interesting and rewarding profession in the national marketplace has to again attract the best and brightest minds. We must develop new leaders who can use online technology, deal with today’s business climate and understand the marketplace to find the opportunities for success in the news industry.

New leaders aren’t waiting for their opportunity within our traditional media operations. Downsizing to maintain profit margins has been stripping away the value of industry experience by favoring continuing the existing process over developing potential. Two decades of limited innovation make it difficult for the existing news industry to react to today’s marketplace.

If new leadership is the hope for success, a program such as NewStart at West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media is vital.

NewStart embraces creative and innovative thinking on all levels of the news industry. The program shares the value of providing great journalism to the public. NewStart also makes it clear that any successful news operation requires a good business model along with an outstanding investigative reporter.

The next generation of leaders will redefine success for local news operations. The development of NewStart ensures those leaders will understand the issues and be prepared for the challenges of being successful.