The Newsroom Approach to Gaining Expertise Quickly

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Have you ever watched that HBO Show The Newsroom? It’s one of my all-time favorites. It’s about a cable news team and how they bring stories together, decide what to broadcast, and grow as a work family.

In the first episode of the show, the President of the company, Charlie, makes the decision that they need to stop putting out crappy nightly news episodes. He wants his team to go against the grain and actually broadcast real news, instead of just puff pieces and stories that pander to advertisers.

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At first, there is some uproar and they lose ratings, but over time everyone internally buys in and they become the top-ranked news show.

This was not the first time Charlie did something radical and against the grain as he points out in the episode, and when someone asks him how he went about doing things differently the last time around his response was, 

“We just decided to.”

Recently while on stage at the Techweek conference during our live podcast episode, my cofounder Martin asked the crowd if they had ever had to do an image overhaul. Someone in the crowd spoke up and said that she was making a transition from being a lawyer to wanting to get into tech.

Have you thought about making a leap recently? Maybe changing industries, changing jobs, or flat out quitting altogether?

It was a decision I faced last year as I felt myself burning out at my job and wanting a change. I worked in sales at an ad agency, and I knew that wasn't my path.

So I quit.

I had no job lined up, I had no prospects, and I had no plan.

I had my weekly check-in call with my manager. I didn't even really intend to resign going into the call, but as we started talking it felt right.

In that moment, I took The Newsroom Approach. I just decided to.

We talked here about the idea of not waiting for permission, and how Jay-Z didn’t wait for permission to start what he wanted. You don't need permission to just decide to do something. And it doesn't have to be something radical like quit your job with no plan. It can be something slightly less radical like changing industries from law to tech, or not so radical like starting up a side hustle, or even picking up a new hobby.

Here's where The Newsroom Approach really helps you shine, though. In the show, at first things are rocky as they embark on this new type of news broadcast, but over time they find their style and their niche, and they become #1.

They built their expertise simply by deciding to do something.

Let's go back to my decision to quit my job. I knew sales was not for me, and prior to sales I worked in account management and I also didn't want to go back to that. I had dedicated 50+ hours a week to learning the ins and outs of this ad agency and everything within the industry, but I wanted out completely.

So why wasn't I scared to make a radical shift?

Let me take you back to a previous time when I took The Newsroom Approach.

In 2012 Martin called me and we had a phone call about shitty networking events, which led to us saying, "Want to host our own event?"

So we did. And then we hosted another. And another. And several more. And that led to the creation of our website, and us becoming interested in personal growth and personal branding, and teaching workshops on them, and coaching people, and writing these emails.

I may have spent 50+ hours a week immersed in sales and account management, but in my time outside the office I gained experience and/or expertise in:

Event planning & coordination

Communication strategy

Website copy writing

Content marketing



Public speaking

Email marketing

and I'm sure there are more things I forgot.

I gave myself at least 8 different avenues I could explore outside of the one industry, one company, and two jobs within that company I had to that point.

The point is, you can spend all the time in the world thinking about what you could do, planning out your possibilities, or you can just decide to DO something. You can create your own expertise.

It takes a decent amount of trust in your own ability to figure shit out, but when you throw yourself in the water, you find out very quickly how to swim with the sharks. 

And just like in The Newsroom, at first there is dissent, both internally and externally. People around you don’t really get what you’re doing or why, and some think you’re crazy. You have questions that come up in your own head where you ask “Do I really know what I’m doing?”. But you figure your shit out, over time people start to buy in, and you start to realize you can, in fact, bet on yourself and win.

We didn't start by doing anything magical. We put on an event for 15 people the first time around and hosted it in the party room of Martin's apartment building. 

All we did was take The Newsroom Approach, and build our own expertise.

We just decided to.

Take care and be awesome.

What up! My name is Rajiv Nathan and I'm the Cofounder of Idea Lemon. That banana peel you slipped on to land here came from me. That's because I fancy myself a human Curious George, and the yellow hat I chase is life's authentic moments. I share my chase one story at a time through this blog, our email newsletter, and as a rapper.

Oh and I'm a WWE fan 4 lyf!