One of the elements of our transition work that I think has been most effective is the idea that we’re actively promoting the big picture. The hub desk has been a crucial element in helping me see what’s on the agenda for any given day and how the ICD might be involved in curating that news.
When I was a teenager learning to drive, my father (then a UPS driving instructor) said getting the big picture was one of the most important lessons I could understand as a driver. I see it as one of the most crucial for our editing and reporting students, too. (There were other driving lessons, most of which I’ve selectively remembered over the years. I imagine our students might say the same about what we tell them.)
UPS uses a simple system for teaching its drivers how to be safe. The lesson on getting the big picture has to do with seeing what’s happening around you — being alert to your surroundings — and avoiding accidents.
And this semester, we’ve implemented a fairly simple system to guide reporters and editors on decision-making for our website. They’re thinking about the news that’s happening around them and noticing their surroundings. And we’re publishing stories quickly by using Rim Fast, which was a huge culture shift for me.
Don’t discount the print desk in this “big picture” thinking either. Jake and his crew have added info boxes and more elements to a story that were then transferred to the website. I like that my Missourian print edition shows me exactly what’s the big news of the day — and that often means sports is in the mix.
The other UPS driving lesson that comes to mind with our transition is “Make sure others see you.” We’ve been doing a fair amount of that by tweeting and posting to Facebook. If you’ve got ideas about how the interactive copy desk can improve its social media role, I’d be happy to hear about it.