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The madness of December

Glenda M. Gloria

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The madness of December

2016 CHRISTMAS IN ESTANCIA. We held our party in the newsroom, our first Christmas in our new Estancia office at the time in Capitol Commons, Pasig.

And rays of hope for next year

Like most companies, Rappler views December with cheer and trepidation. 

We have an annual competition for the best Christmas party presentation – and I tell you, it is fiercely fought. All the fun preparations are done in between deadlines, using all the tools that we use in our storytelling. Each participating unit gets to show its talent during our Christmas party (happening tonight!), which flows with food and booze and alcohol-induced episodes that are not fit for print.

But December also demands and requires a lot of the managers. The elders are their stooges every Christmas. We ask for the targets they have achieved (or haven’t) and explanations for them; we listen to their budget asks and demand justification for any teeny-weeny proposed increase; we ask for their biggest ambitions – and hold them to account for them, if approved.

Unlike most companies, Rappler is not the kind that does assessments and feedback and reviews once a year. We work in an industry that is at the receiving end of changes in technology that travel in fury like molten rocks flowing from an erupting volcano. We thus return to the drawing boards every so often – shifting a priority here, burying a plan there, hiring this “unbudgeted” staff here, cutting costs there, buying new tools here. 

Our managers are asked to do one-on-ones with their staff as needed and not wait for the required yearly appraisals. The expectation is that, if you are heading a unit then you must be aware of its members’ problems before s__ hits the fan. (We’ve not always been successful in this, but part of what we intend to change next year is to review how we assess performance and improve career-pathing for Rapplers.)

Then there’s our audience and communities, their behavior being reshaped by a world of curated realities and performative activism. 

And to find the sweet spot between doing good journalism, truth-telling, and  throwing in a dose of sugar and carbs has always, always been the real challenge for any newsroom today.

To top it all, you’re aware of the legal cases we continue to fight and the social networks that have been DNAd to attack independent newsrooms and critical voices.

Thus as we end another year, we’re toying with the idea of bringing the lessons we’ve learned to a bigger audience – perhaps starting with you, the + community – and sharing best practices in running organizations and companies, managing risks, dealing with crises, and adapting to the changes out there.

What do you think? Is this something that we can start together as a contribution to communities that would benefit from it? 

Email us your thoughts! – Rappler.com

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Glenda M. Gloria

Glenda Gloria co-founded Rappler in July 2011 and is currently its executive editor.