Student journalists learn how to run meetings, manage staff at College Media Association’s #CMANYC13

Screen shot of my tweet before Mathew Cantore's session began.

Screen shot of my tweet before Mathew Cantore’s session began.

Student leaders can run more efficient meetings if they prepare for them, distribute an agenda in advance to make the purpose clear and keep the staff on topic.

Mathew Cantore, a Hudson Valley Community College professor, said student journalists easily get distracted in meetings and waste time, mainly because they are friends with their staff.

Cantore said there is nothing wrong with being friends with co-workers. It is inevitable when students spend a large portion of their time in the newsroom together. However, he said it is important to make a clear distinction between how you act socially and professionally.

This might mean pulling your friend aside to warn her that as her boss you are going to treat her professionally while at work. It can also be a good idea to set aside time for social excursions. This allows the staff to let off steam and avoid socializing too much at work.

The student leading the meeting is responsible for keeping the group on task to ensure the meeting is as efficient as possible. Cantore’s tips:

  • Have an agenda
  • Set time limits
  • Avoid the 3 “F”s – food, flirting, phones
  • Start on time, end on time
  • Prepare yourself – Give yourself time to organize in advance so you don’t go in frazzled
  • Look professional to act professional
  • Appear organized and in control
  • Don’t let a joke snowball. Laugh and move on
  • Distribute minutes or a summary after the meeting

No funny business

Cantore said student leaders should avoid being the jokster in the group because they do not always know how to ground the group again after it has started laughing.

“As a leader in the meeting, you have less room to be funny and light-hearted than anyone else,” Cantore said.

Student leaders need to learn how to run a meeting, Cantore said. He said most editors and managers of college media started out as writers and reporters. They missed the class on management.