Smart Alliances: Relationships that can make your career.

The old saying is especially true in newsrooms:  Guilt by association.  Your alliances are very important, not just for your current job, but for future networking opportunities as well.   That’s why we are providing a series of articles on building smart alliances.  We begin with an overall look at newsroom relationships, then will get more specific based on job description.

Before we begin, stop for a minute and think about your friend base.  In many cases with TV news journalists, it’s all people you work with.  Now think about how those friends in the business are perceived in the newsroom.  We are not saying you cannot be friends with the high maintenance anchor/reporter or temperamental producer/director/assignment editor.  But you do need to consider how much time you spend with your newsroom friends in front of other newsroom employees.  One question managers ask over and over when considering moving a person up internally for promotions is:  “Who are they friends with in the newsroom?”  Managers have a better clue than you might realize who the partiers are, who the gossips are and who keeps a nose to the ground and focuses on getting the job done.

The key to newsroom friends is, you can end up in direct competition for shifts.  People with different job descriptions can still impact how you are perceived in handling your own job.  In upcoming articles we will discuss how to align with people in the newsroom with different job descriptions to help you make the most of your job.  Now we are going to look at the kind of reputation you ideally want as a “friend” in the newsroom.

Ideally you want to either be or align yourself with one of three types of friends at work:  The Diffuser, The Cheerleader and The Funny Guy/Gal.   These people tend to draw positive attention to themselves and get plenty of results.  So let’s delve into each a little more.

The Diffuser is a type of peacemaker who has a solid backbone.  This is the person people look to weigh in when there’s a heated debate over content coverage.  This is also the person who tends to be friendly with all the different personality types in the newsroom.  If this isn’t you, this is the type of person you want to align yourself with.  Chances are the managers are eyeing this person for future promotions.

The Cheerleader puts a positive spin on crappy situations.  This person is not necessarily an ass kisser though.  You will hear cheerleaders complain about a decision or issue, then put a positive spin like:  “I really hate being put on overnights, it really hurts my family life, but at least I have a job.”   This person is usually very good at handling office politics and because he/she is considered a positive person, managers may consult with him/her on and off before making certain decisions impacting a specific shift or group.

The Funny Guy/Gal is really good at lightening the mood.  Even if he/she can be sarcastic, management usually considers the person harmless.  Like a class clown, one of these is expected in a newsroom and most of the time, everyone appreciates the chance to laugh.

Now a closer look at the type of reputation you want to have.  You want to be seen as someone who shoots straight, doesn’t stir the pot and is fair.  This not only helps get management’s attention, it also helps you weigh through the inevitable personal battles waging in newsrooms over shifts, who is backstabbing who, and whether people are more loyal to the bosses than coworkers.  Keep these characteristics in mind when choosing your smart alliances at work.