I sent out several emails to some of my role models in the broadcast industry, particularly in the Phoenix market, for our leadership styles analysis paper. Some are still getting back to me, and a couple of days ago one of my biggest Valley role models responded.
I actually Facebooked Kristin Anderson, one of the anchors and reporters for KSAZ Fox 10 Arizona Morning. She has a heavy social media presence, both on Facebook and Twitter, and I knew I would be able to best reach her this way. When I interned at Fox 10 last spring, she was a friendly presence both in the newsroom and in the field, and I was lucky to shadow her in the field many times. She was a willing leader, and stepped into the role of mentor easily. Kristin had nothing but encouraging and positive words of advice, and thanks to social media I’ve been able to keep in touch with her as she continues to establish herself in Phoenix (she arrived to Arizona Morning in Fall 2010).
My questions for the journalism leaders I interviewed included:
-Who were some of your earliest role models in the industry and out of it?
-How do you define leadership in this industry?
-And what leadership roles have you taken on in the community and in the newsroom?
Kristin is a good example of both a journalism and community leader, and I think I look to her because I am able to relate to her in a variety of ways. Her response to my first question was similar to what mine would have been. She said her dad was her earliest role model, because growing up he made her feel like she could do anything she wanted to do and let her know that she was capable of it, as well. My dad provided this encouragement for me, as well, and as a journalism leader in his own right, showed me that it was possible to go as far as I wanted to when I set my mind to it. These thoughts, in my mind, mirror much of what our goal was in the Legacy Project. We set out to become role models in a way with this project, and I believe we have created something extraordinary that will set the tone for next year’s project, too.
When I asked Kristin about what it means to be a leader in journalism, she responded with the following: “…someone who sets a positive standard professionally and interpersonally. A leader is someone with fresh ideas and continually evolving, always getting better.” This made me think of our setting examples at various events, including the Farm Days event, where we set out to set a positive standard and create a good experience for the children we were volunteering for and with. I agree, too, that a leader is someone with “fresh ideas,” and this brought me back to our Films Presentations, where many groups presented their films in an original way. I particularly think of the School of Rock group, who were well organized and prepared to lead us through their film and its meaning to our particular context.
Lastly, Kristin said that she is fortunate enough to hold a number of leadership roles in the community, but that her favorite is being a mentor to women in the television industry. Having worked with her, I can safely say that she is passionate about her mentorship role, and I think a lot of what I learned about leadership in the newsroom came from working with Kristin and the other strong females in the Fox 10 Arizona Morning newsroom. Likewise, I think this is an important role we can all play in one way or another having taken this class. We learned a lot about leadership from each other and from our own experiences in the Legacy Project and our volunteer projects. These lessons are vital, in my opinion, to our sense of self and our leadership styles.
So I pose the above questions to all of you: what does a journalism leader look like, both in and outside of the newsroom? And what do you think was the most valuable leadership lesson you learned this semester?
It’s been a privilege working with all of you! Thank you for a fantastic semester!
Facebook interview with Kristin Anderson. 26 April 2012.