Mentorships matter, top editors agree
By Shauna Rempel
Mentor relationships are crucial in newsrooms, say top editors in three of Canada's major newspapers.
During a panel discussion at the recent CAJ conference, editors from the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail and Postmedia were asked about the role that mentorship plays in the newsroom.
The mentor-mentee relationship, while important, can get overlooked in the hustle and bustle of a newsroom ever striving to do more with less.
But the panel, made up of Globe editor-in-chief John Stackhouse, Star executive editor Murdoch Davis and Postmedia senior Vice-President Scott Anderson, agreed that the mentorship of younger journalists is vital to the continued development of not only the mentee but the mentor as well.
Davis noted that mentoring can work both ways in the newsroom. "The mentoring becomes a two-way thing. Certainly there are more people coming in to newsrooms in the last handful of years who have the multimedia skills, already have the social media skills and can really demonstrate how to use that -- how to use Twitter or information gathering for source location, all kinds of things like that," Davis said. "There's a lot of interesting cross-pollination that goes on. "
Stackhouse agreed, adding, "It's critical and generally well-received to create mentors relationshipsin whatever structure works best in your newsroom so that more experienced reporters and as well as editors are able to guide the younger ones."
The Toronto Star's internship programs include mentorship opportunities for journalists joining the newsroom. Interns are paired with one or more experienced journalists who can share their knowledge over a coffee, beer or even via email. Interestingly enough, many interns find that in addition to their official mentor(s), they might develop a similar unofficial relationship with other journalists in the newsroom. These relationships, official or otherwise, can endure long after the contract ends.
Read more about the Star's internship programs.
Watch a raw video of the panel discussion, courtesy of Ellin Bessner from Centennial College.
Shauna Rempel is a former Toronto Star one-year intern and currently helps co-ordinate the Star's internship programs. Follow her on Twitter.