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Respect your colleagues, you need them to shine

The news value chain is quite long, with many actors feeding into it. From the correspondent in that far-flung village who gets a breaking story all the way to the end user — the reader, the listener or the viewer — and everyone in-between, it is a wonder that the end result is achieved at the close of the day, every day.

Getting a great end product cannot and has never been achieved by only one or two actors in the value chain; it takes the input of all those involved. And even though the writer whose by-line appears on print or the reporter who signs off on air tend to get all the accolades, a lot of work has usually gone into their stories by people behind the scenes that the audience knows nothing about.

The sooner everyone in the news value chain appreciates that a good newspaper, TV or radio bulletin depends on teamwork the better. This cannot be emphasised enough.

Journalists should learn to respect their colleagues, even those who are not in their departments, and remember that no single actor is more important than the other. The writer who got the story and the driver who ensured the newspaper reached the market are each performing a critical role. The executives who bring in the adverts and the graphic designers who put together the newspaper both have vital functions. The sub-editors who panel-beat the stories before sending the pages to the pre-press officers who then ensure the paper goes to print are important cogs in the wheel.

And who says that man who hardly speaks and whose work it is to print cannot spot a typo in a headline or the wrong date at the tail end of the production process that escaped all the eyes trained to catch these, thereby saving the whole organisation the embarrassment that the error would have caused?

The TV reporter needs a cameraperson to shoot the event, but the clip must thereafter pass through a video editor. And can you imagine if those charged with the responsibility to clean the washrooms refused to do so for just a day? Even the CEO wants to use a clean washroom. In all these instances, and many more not mentioned, the one cannot do without the other.

A good working relationship with one’s colleagues not only makes work move along faster and with less pressure, but also ensures that a lot gets accomplished for the benefit of the organisation.

Respect is a soft skill but one that is just as important as one’s professional training. You don’t have to or may not even get along with everyone in your organisation, but if you respect each one, first as an individual and then in their professional capacity, then the working environment will be positive and all will stand to gain.

So, if you have never considered how the functions performed by your ‘unseen’ colleagues help you to shine in your role, perhaps this article will cause you to pause and appreciate them. It would be well to remember that it is not about ‘me’ but ‘us’.

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