Rowlands, Alice J. (2005-05). Student identified leadership competencies, skills, behaviors, and training needs: perspectives of college newspaper editors. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • This study identified the leadership competencies, skills, behaviors, and training needs most critical to a college newspaper leader's success. A Web-based Delphi technique, supported by the Center for Distance Learning Research at Texas A&M University, was used to submit three rounds of questionnaires to a panel of 25 editors from 19 institutions in 13 states. The experts responded to 13 open-ended questions in Round One designed to elicit information to establish the leadership competencies, skills, and behaviors critical to college newsroom leaders. Round One also established information concerning participants' prior knowledge of the top leadership position. The Round Two instrument included seven questions with 189 statements developed from responses to Round One. Panelists rated responses using a four-point Likert scale. Panelists reached consensus in the final round by selecting the three most important of the ranked responses to each question returned from Round Two. Additional questions asked for recommendations for the future training and development of editors. The panel's list of leadership traits agrees with more than 50 percent of the admired traits of all leaders (Kouzes and Posner,1997), and more than 50 percent of the ideal traits of top professional journalists (Peters, 2001). The panel reached consensus on 8 situations they considered unique to the college newsroom that had a significant impact on their leadership experience. The topthree included: the need to manage everything and still publish a great paper, dealing with uncommitted students, and dealing with frequent staff changes. The panel reached consensus on the following as most important for incoming college newsroom leaders: the most critical leadership competency was "ability to communicate"; the most critical leadership behavior was "a passion to improve and develop the newspaper"; the most critical leadership competency editors "lacked" was "ability to take charge"; the experiences they considered most important to shaping their understanding of the role was that it is a full-time, difficult, and frustrating position; and they indicate that "dedication to the newspaper" is the leadership trait that separates an average from a great newsroom leader.

publication date

  • May 2005