Vision for future, flexibility help women rise to management

women in management panel

Panelists Sue Deans, Patti Dennis and Deb Goeken talked to 30 attendees, many younger members, about their challenges and offered advice to those who want to follow in their footsteps. All three said hard work was a major factor in their promotions.

"You can't have it all, but you can have a lot," they said. Also, women in management shouldn't necessarily pattern themselves after men, but rather, be authentic. Women managers tend to listen better, collaborate better and internalize situations.

Boulder Daily Camera editor Deans said as a baby boomer growing up, she never imagined that she would one day be an editor in charge of a newsroom. Once out of school, she wasn't drawn to typical careers for women such as teaching or nursing.

Because of the demands of newsrooms, she recommended management as a career move after early childrearing years. Being a reporter and raising her son was more feasible. After working at the Rocky Mountain News, she moved to a smaller paper because she enjoyed news at the community level.

Dennis, now KUSA vice president for news in Denver, said her promotions were unexpected. To be an effective manager, she asks employees to come to her not only with problems, but also with ideas for solutions.

She said the most important part of newsroom management is taking time to do a quality job during the hiring process. She asks candidates "What will I know about you in six months?" and "What's the worst thing about you that I'm going to find out about you?"

Managing editor Goeken said she wouldn't trade her 20 years at the Rocky for anything — it's flown by quickly. To ascend in newsrooms, it's crucial to be able to tell stories well, she said. Also, up-and-coming journalists must be able to cross media, write for online and print, have a voice for radio and podcasting, and handle video broadcasting.

Sue DeansPatti DennisDeb Goeken

All three said the ability to be creative, get involved with vision for the future, and push the boundaries of traditional journalism will be important and valued at good news outlets.

— Christine McManus, Colorado Press Women