Taking on a new role at work

by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

I’m excited to say that I’ve been promoted to a new role at work: managing editor of Poynter.org.

As managing editor, I’ll have many of the same responsibilities that I did when I was associate editor; I’ll be writing and editing stories about the media, overseeing the How To section of the website, moderating live chats, teaching sessions on social media, and helping to grow Poynter.org’s audience. Now, I’ll also be more involved in the day-to-day decisions about what we publish and the storytelling approaches we take.

I’m lucky to work with talented colleagues at a place that encourages experimentation and innovation. When I started working at The Poynter Institute five years ago, the editor who hired me said: “Challenge us to think about things differently.” My current boss has given me similar advice.

I try to put her good advice into action, and I always keep two words in mind: “grounded” and “growing.” It’s important, I tell myself, to stay grounded in traditional journalism values, but at the same time grow — and open myself up to new ways of telling stories.

At Poynter, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to grow. In the past year, I’ve been asked to join committees aimed at shaping the institute’s curriculum and future, and I’ve started teaching more. Teaching has forced me to step outside of my comfort zone and, in turn, has given me a newfound sense of confidence. (It’s much easier for me to “teach” via the written word, as opposed to teaching in front of a live audience.)

It’s been great to see how my teaching and writing overlap. After I teach a session, I often write a Poynter.org piece related to it. My teaching informs my reporting, and my reporting informs my teaching; it’s a creative cycle of learning and discovery.

As I take on my new role, I look forward to continuing to learn new things. I want to keep striking a balance between writing, editing and teaching. I want to grow as a writer, an editor and a leader. I want to work hard, and still make time for fun and the people I love.

I have a good feeling about the weeks and months ahead; there’s lots to be happy about.