'The Murrow People': Training, networking and community

August 4, 2015 01:30

Board members Chris Carl and Scott Libin lay out a timeline for a new
initiative as Executive Director Mike Cavender looks on

By Amy Tardif, RTDNA Chair

RTDNA is known for many things, including our efforts in advocacy, training and networking for electronic journalists. And thanks to our prestigious news reporting awards competition, we're perhaps best known as "The Murrow People." Now, the Murrow People are formulating a strategic plan with several new initiatives for our members, as we move toward our 70th year of service.
“This is not your father’s RTDNA,” said planning facilitator Tim Daniel, describing the new direction in which the Association’s strategic planning committee hopes we’ll go. For the past 15 years Daniel has guided executive teams at some of the top broadcast TV, cable and radio companies in the US and Canada through the same kind of process RTDNA’s Executive Committee and committee chairs experienced this past weekend in Denver.

Using a very disciplined and logical approach, we examined our strengths, opportunities and the organization’s emerging issues. We searched for what Daniel called RTDNA’s "key log" opportunities. Those are key issues, which, if resolved, fix a "logjam" of pent-up energy and momentum toward building our future.

Using those techniques and the results of the member survey many of you completed this spring, the group identified those "key logs," which included training, networking and a sense of community, and came up with four projects that will come before the full board for approval at the Excellence in Journalism Conference in September:
  • In response to our membership's strong interest in training, RTDNA will soon launch a new series of best-practices videos from some of the best practitioners in the business. Tapping into the expertise of Edward R. Murrow Award winners and other experts, we hope to provide a fresh form of mobile, multimedia how-to content, which will be free to RTDNA members and available on a trial basis for a limited time to non-members. The program will provide practical pointers from nationally known journalists, accessible from any screen, with new content available each month.

  • We want to reach members where they are -- in their regions, in their states. Taking a page out of the current social trend, we hope to set up meetups, where members can meet others in their local community with shared interests. For example, our plan is to use meetups as an opportunity to celebrate our regional Murrow winners. As these informal gatherings grow, and we learn what else our members want to share with the community, these meetups will inspire future networking and possibly training events on a local/regional basis.

  • We have developed a long-term proposal we hope will restructure our membership categories, levels and benefits. It encompasses a number of Association and member needs. Additionally, we propose a larger digital presence that will push our marketing and promotional capabilities to new heights.

  • Finally, we hope to create an incubator group of millennial and other professional journalists who have cracked the code on using social media and other emerging platforms. This group will inform and advise us on future training, growth opportunities, marketing and the overall success of our Association and the electronic/digital journalism industry.

Once approved by RTDNA’s full Board of Directors, these dreams, crafted in a board room at iHeartMEDIA’s building in Denver, can begin to take shape and bring the world’s largest electronic journalism association four big steps into the future.

The RTDNA Planning Team thanks our host Kathy Walker, and facilitator Tim Daniel, for without his innovative, kind and philosophical leadership, much of this work would not have been possible. He reminded us of many things, including Aesop’s fable of the boy who removed the thorn from the lion's paw. He said, comparing the fable to RTDNA's efforts to support our members, "People will never forget that touch.”