9 November 2015
Journalists need foundation in business and economics, former Seattle Times editor says

By Sice Wu and Yaqi Xu

Editors should hire people smarter than them, said former Seattle Times executive editor David Boardman at a lecture at Hong Kong Baptist University last Thursday.

“Don’t be afraid of being challenged , know what you don’t know and know what your people — especially the young techies — don’t know,” he said.

An editor must be strategic with mission, vision and action to “make people feel that they are ready to follow,” Boardman said. “An editor needs to be the spiritual leader, walking among the people, like Pope Francis or Dalai Lama ”

Boardman spent 30 years at the Times, including seven years as its chief executive editor and senior vice president. Under his leadership, the paper won four Pultizer Prizes.

With economics, editors can understand how the world works, so they can initiate revenue-producing ideas, he said.

“Be an advocate but not an adversary, initiate and embrace revenue, create rather than just ask for resources,” Boardman said. “Make your organisation a hub, a town square and a convenor…Try to be the best newspaper while we still have one,” he added.

As the dean of the School of Media and Communication at Temple University, Boardman said his school is opening more business classes and attracting more entrepreneurs.

Journalism students should learn the principles, tools and language of business, he said.

Boardman holds two degrees in journalism and communication. If he could do it over again, one of those would be in business or economics, he said.