To my new media students:

Want a sense of how you’ll be evaluated in this transforming new media market?

Check it out…I’m posting the entire memo because I want to be sure you all read it. I’ve included the link and am making sure you know the source of the information, Jim Romenesko’s blog. I’ve also placed the entire memo in quotation marks, indicating this is NOT my original reporting nor my original words. A Tribune editor wrote it and Romenesko put it on his blog.  I’m using it for my NMC 301: Writing for the Professional Media class as an example of the expectations and management strategies out there.

Memo from Chicago Tribune ed to staffers posted by Romenesko.

Here’s the link:http://poynter.org/forum/view_post.asp?id=13777

Poynter Forums View Forum

Post Topic: Memos Sent to Romenesko

Date/Time: 1/26/2009 7:32:58 AM

Title: Chicago Tribune’s new goals for editorial staff

Posted By: Jim Romenesko From: [associate editor] Winnecke, Joycelyn

Sent: Mon 1/19/2009 9:48 AM

Subject: New performance review standards Jan. 19, 2009

Dear colleagues,

In this time of dramatic change, it is important that each of us understands fresh priorities, the increased expectations, and how we can best contribute to the Tribune Co. turnaround. New performance review standards are aimed at that. We are implementing an online system that will make it easier to set forth specific goals, assess whether those goals have been achieved, and offer candid and constructive feedback. The new system will reflect goals and values on four levels: those that apply companywide, to all of us in Editorial, to departments within the newsroom, and specifically to you and your job function.

You know the Tribune Co. values already: Keep your word. Collaborate. No surprises. Compete. Play fair. Take intelligent risks. Reward successful performance. Question authority. Serve our local communities.

Here are the newly minted goals for all of Editorial. You will be rated based on specific actions you take to advance them.

1. Digital first. Think and act first as a member of a digital newsroom that also publishes newspapers. Create unique, relevant, trustworthy content for publication on digital platforms in concert with print. 2. Deliver on mission. Daily goals are local relevance, watchdog reporting, personal utility, consumer guidance, visual drama and compelling storytelling. Watchdog is standing up for the community, uncovering wrongs and holding the powerful accountable

3. Innovation and customer focus. Embrace change by seeking out new and innovative ideas that serve key audiences and move the Chicago Tribune forward. Demonstrate a customer-first mentality in content creation, delivery, reader contact and service.

4. Urgency. Work with a sense of urgency, managing time effectively to achieve highest-possible efficiency while maintaining quality.

Another new companywide assessment category is Attitude. Our attitudes influence our own behavior and performance, and also that of our colleagues’. We believe positive attitude is crucial to our changing culture and all that must be accomplished for our company to be successful.

The new system uses a four-point scale to measure employees against the established expectations and goals. We hope this moves us away from the letter-grade implication of our previous system-the incorrect impression that a “3” equates to a “C,” or average performance, which has contributed to a tendency toward grade inflation.

The new scale is: 4-Exceeds expectations; 3-Achieves goals, on target; 2-Needs Improvement; 1-Unsatisfactory. We are beginning the process now of establishing goals and standards for each department and for each job function. You will hear about those from your manager in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you should begin working toward our new Editorial goals. Some managers will be reviewed in February. Most newsroom employees will be reviewed in July. Reviews will be conducted by employees’ immediate supervisors, rather than by department heads. The process will include a self-assessment. We view the new goals and process as necessary to help move us toward the consistently high-performance culture we need in this quickly changing environment. Please let me know if you have thoughts or questions.

Sincerely, Joyce

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