Zack Kucharski of SourceMedia Group spoke to Greenlee students, faculty and staff about collaboration October 2. The senior manager of newsroom operations for SourceMedia in Cedar Rapids and was selected as the 2012 Chamberlin Fellow. During his luncheon lecture Kucharski stressed the importance of promoting community conversations, developing unique partnerships and taking chances in journalism today.
“Don’t be afraid to take chances, because I really believe that’s what innovative journalism is about,” Kucharski said. “There’s no one roadmap path. Every organization is going to have a different experience, and you have to be willing to try different things all the time.”
Each year, the Iowa Newspaper Foundation selects a Chamberlin Fellow to represent Iowa newspapers and speak to Greenlee students and the Iowa State Daily. While in Hamilton Hall, he presented to several journalism classes, spoke at the Chamberlin Fellow luncheon and interviewed applicants for internship openings with SourceMedia in the spring and summer semesters.
“He impressed me not only as an editor and executive,” said Greenlee School director Michael Bugeja, while introducing Kucharski, “but also he respects content and information, and I think his innovation is what the INF saw.”
Bugeja presented Kucharski with a plaque which reads: “Honoring dedication to journalism and the education of tomorrow’s newspaper professionals.”
A former reporter and database editor for The Gazette, Kucharski is now working to converge SourceMedia’s news operations.
He said working with other organizations and building connections with the community is becoming absolutely critical to SourceMedia, which is striving to be more collaborative rather than competitive.
“Collaboration really puts the emphasis on the storytelling and the audience, rather than racing to figure out one or two details ahead of somebody else,” Kucharski explained, citing relationships with competing publications, non-profits and community readers as examples of this collaboration.
Kucharski urged his listeners to not give up on collaborative efforts if they don’t work out the first time.
“At the end of the day,” Kucharski said, “we have to trust that we’re further ahead than we otherwise would have been because of working together, so when you have something that doesn’t work out, commit to figuring out why rather than giving up.”