In a couple of hours I will walk through the doors of KQED and start my new job as senior arts editor there.
KQED is one of the country’s biggest and most well-respected public media organizations. I’m feeling excited and a little intimidated about what lies ahead.
I learned a lot from my two years at Colorado Public Radio in Denver. It was essentially my first ever full-time, salaried job. I’d always worked for myself until I went to CPR to launch and lead its then brand new arts bureau.
Some of the things I picked up from my time at CPR that will serve me well in the new gig (it’s a very general list that will probably have many of you going “duh!”, but still):
- Listening carefully.
- Learning to be patient. Bringing about change in public media organizations often takes time.
- Understanding that I don’t have control over a lot of things that happen in the workplace and that I have to be flexible and calm and roll with whatever comes my way.
- Knowing that the best ideas often come to me at unpredictable moments and that forcing stuff to happen isn’t generally productive.
- Knowing what battles to fight and when to walk away.
- Staying enthusiastic while keeping it real. Vacuous perkiness is irritating as I discovered from spending time around one or two of my colleagues in Denver.
- Keeping a good sense of perspective.
- Maintaining transparency and openness.
- Spending time getting to know the building and as many of its dwellers as I can — walking around and talking to people not just in my team but also all over the organization is a must.
- Taking breaks.
- Having fun.
- Knowing that I don’t always have to have all the answers right away.
- Maintaining boundaries.
- Understanding that I cannot possibly see every single piece of art happening in the region. But I can get to a bunch of it and build my understanding of the area’s cultural life bit by bit.
- Putting diversity front and center of my thinking when it comes to commissioning stories and who should cover them.
- Experimenting. Wildly.
- Questioning. Unrepentantly.
- Respecting tradition even as I question it.
Wish me luck!