Communiqué

Special skills are necessary to manage a newsroom full of reporters.


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In the third of our Spectrum Podcast series on the inner workings of local television news, Janelle Bass gives us insight on being a managing editor at an urban television station in Cleveland.

Bass not only manages the reporters at WEWS News 5, but she also heads an award-winning podcasting project at the station. It is part of local television’s entrée into all forms of digital media: print, social media, podcasting and video.

She says every day on the job presents different situations and new challenges. There is no time to be bored or to rest.

She compares her job to trying to organize chaos, especially on breaking-news days.

Earlier in her career, Bass served as a wedding planner in North Carolina. She admits that many of the skills she honed coping with couples about to get married are the human relations skills she now uses managing the newsroom staff.

As an African American woman in media management, Janelle also has encountered some special challenges over her career even though she has a communication degree from The Ohio State University and an MBA from Baldwin Wallace University.

Some employees have balked at taking direction from a woman who is also Black, according to Bass. She says that this prejudice, however, cannot get in the way of delivering the news.

She says when that happens, she reminds them of the job they must do first, and then, after the job is completed, they can discuss whatever gender or racial issues are bothering them.