Jan 26, 2009

Attitude adjustment

The Chicago Tribune, according to a memo obtained by Romenesko, has instituted new performance review standards for newsroom employees, including an alarmingly vague measure of "attitude."

From the memo:
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.
Perhaps reporters could pin some flair next to their press badges? Of course, the real idea behind setting vague performance standards like this is to make it much easier to justify firing someone, and easier for managers to smooth over the rough edges of reality.

Another performance standard that should alarm journalists everywhere is "customer focus." I know it sounds cheery to say reporters should do more to interact with the people leaving racially tinged comments at the end of stories, and I'm not averse to asking reporters to be more engaged and engaging, but this talk is best suited for ice cream shops not serious newsrooms:
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.

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