Hollywood’s 2001 movie follows detectives Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke around for 24 hours. While I look for gainful employment (trailing spouse, photo editor, life story synopsis here), I thought I’d take advantage of time. I signed up for a year’s subscription at Lynda, an online software training site.
We all skill build. The question is how much time is realistic? I just added up the time commitment for my video course choices on Lynda. My training day exploded into 9 weeks or 357.25 hours. I’ll be 102 years old by the time I finish. Where do my hours stack up in relation to industry averages?
A 2007 Nieman article said that on average, U.S. companies put aside 2.3% of payroll for training. The newspaper industry is woefully behind in spending only 0.4% of payroll. Six of 10 newsroom have cut training budgets. Only 30% have increased training. We all know the saying that newsrooms are slow to change but now more than ever innovation is a necessity.
Many newsrooms don’t tie strategic goals to training. But they should because studies link successful goal achievement to training. We aren’t talking morale or happiness goals. Oh no. How about a 38% increase in visitor traffic? A 10% increase in single copy sales? A 40% decrease in staff turnover? Steve Buttry brings up other examples a 2007 blog entry.
At a recent NEAPNEA conference in Concord, N.H., that focused heavily on video, many attendees decried the lack of multimedia training before being sent out into the field. Knowing where to start and how to ask for training is half the battle. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation researched newsroom training is a good place for stats and examples.
Anyone developing a plan to ask for more training or supoprt – for real world, get-started-now advice, check out the News Improved tools. The ‘Guide to Setting Goals’ pdf is an excellent first step resource.