How the WSJ put out a newspaper after the 9/11 assaults

Dean Rotbart, a former Wall Avenue Journal reporter, has an excerpt from his ebook “September Twelfth: An American Comeback Story” on Fortune’s web site about how the Journal was capable of produce a newspaper within the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist assaults.

Rotbart writes, “Behind the scenes of the Wall Avenue Journal’s Sept. 12, 2001, version—that includes an iconic, six-column front-page headline for less than the second time within the paper’s historical past—will be discovered 4 guiding rules relevant to all company executives and managers. An examination of the paper’s efficiency on 9/11 not solely affords timeless insights on learn how to put together for a catastrophic emergency but additionally highlights the weather of a company tradition that may result in better success three hundred and sixty five days a 12 months.

“The explanation that the traumatized and broadly dispersed employees of the Wall Avenue Journal was capable of report, write, edit, print, and ship a newspaper on the morning after the terrorist assaults rested with a deeply rooted administration type and company values that predated 9/11 by many years.

“The salient options are these:

  • Readability of goal. Steiger, who grew to become the paper’s managing editor in 1991, established and maintained a transparent imaginative and prescient of the Journal’s mission and his expectations.
  • Consistency of management. He and his deputies employed and educated workers who would wholeheartedly embrace the paper’s time-honored rules. Integrity and professionalism have been the information rails for all administration and editorial selections. Even on Sept. eleventh, the editors provided no leniency when it got here to getting the details straight.
  • Respect for subordinates. As soon as he enunciated his priorities, Steiger’s administration strategy was to get out of the way in which of his subordinates and allow them to work kind of unsupervised. To bolster his staff’s sense of self-confidence, Steiger would reward publicly and sometimes, and criticize in non-public as occasionally as doable.
  • Encouragement for risk-takers. Reporters and editors on the Journal have been allowed—even inspired—to take dangers within the hope of elevating the paper’s journalistic edge. If these gambles did not pan out, managers didn’t make an enormous deal of it. Their response: ‘Transfer on.’”

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