Amanda Zamora, Dheerja Kahur, Rebekah Monson talk team building
Amanda Zamora (from left) and Dheerja Kahur discuss team building with moderator Rebekah Monson during the Thursday afternoon keynote session. (Photo by Chloe Meister)


The final keynote from Day One at SND Charlotte covered a topic that was relevant to everyone at the conference: teams. Every organization is made up of them, and Rebekah Monson of WhereBy.Us moderated a conversation with two very successful women with a lot of great insight on what makes teams work. Dheerja Kaur of The Skimm and Amanda Zamora of Texas Tribune spoke about their experience, the many facets of effective product design and the qualities that make up a great team. Here’s 10 inspiring quotes from their discussion:


On what product design means to them:

“Product is all-encompassing, in a lot of ways. It’s anything we create that users are consuming.” –Dheejra

“It’s not something you launch on any given day. Product is everything. It’s how you conceive a story. It’s how you write that story. It’s the way you produce journalism and connect with any audience.” –Amanda


On the importance of knowing your audience:

“It all comes back to the audience. Every single person, whether you’re a writer, an engineer, a designer, a salesperson — we’re all thinking about the persona we’re creating for.” –Dheejra


On what makes a good team member

“I have the expectations that you’re going to be an awesome journalist, that you’ll be creative and that you’ll do more than what you’re asked.” –Amanda


On helping your team grow:

“You should be stretched to the point where there’s a 50 percent chance where you’ll fail. Nothing will be easy or what you signed up for.” –Dheerja

“Spending the time is important. If you don’t feel like the person on your team will be receptive to the feedback you’re ready to give, why are they there?” –Amanda


On the importance of diverse teams

“Just because someone doesn’t know you’re thinking doesn’t mean they can’t contribute or don’t want to learn.” –Amanda


On creating great products

“Listen to your gut and create a hypothesis. Figure out a way to test it. Be scrappy about it. 99 percent of the time, you don’t need many resources.” –Dheerja


On the changing scope of products

“It’s about the person we’re writing for. That’s all that matters. Email might not always be there, but that person will.” –Dheerja


On creating a good environment

“There are a lot of moving parts in a newsroom. We always try to be conscious. We try to make sure that everyone on staff is in the loop. We want a culture where everyone can voice their ideas. It’s valuable to think about the big picture and plan strategically, and it’s important to make sure that everyone is invested in what you’re doing.” –Amanda