Hey all. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Mary Daly, your Missourian transition reporter/observer/analyst (haven’t quite come up with a title yet). While working as a reporter and page designer, I’ll also be monitoring the progress of the transition, talking to and shadowing people in all the different departments about their ideas and reporting my findings through this blog each week and meetings every few weeks, where we can all get together to discuss.
Week one got us off to a successful start. I’ve heard a lot of compliments about the new newsroom setup, both from returning staff members and new ones. The hub desk seems to be a hit. It’s definitely been beneficial to have all the people who help facilitate decision in one place, and from the reporter’s viewpoint, new students seemed to know right away that was the place to go to find an ACE or editor.
I also must say the new print desk got off the ground running this week, with some great-looking papers (if I might say so myself). But in working on the print desk, I found there are definitely some improvements to be had. First, we need to make better use of the TAs and print copy editor because sometimes I found myself with a million things to do in designing 1A and an inside page, and they were sitting around with hardly anything to do. It could be helpful if a task of the print copy editor was to read stories on the print budget online and see if there are any opportunities for good info boxes or pull quotes. That would take some strain off an overworked designer and make our paper more reader friendly.
And speaking of budgets, ours really needs to be simplified. I really like the example of the spreadsheet at the bottom of the budget. If we went in that direction, we wouldn’t need all those crazy colors and abbreviations to denote how stories are being told. Also, now that we’re amping up our blogging, I’d really like to see a blog budget or even just a Google doc. with a list of blogs published each day. I think this would serve a couple purposes. First, we’d be able to see how well each blog is doing and where holes in our coverage exist. Also, page designers could go into the blog budget to see if there are any interesting blogs to pull for print or tease to online, especially if editors mark them as such. Sure, designers could visit each blog to do the same thing, but this simplifies the process.
Finally, one small item we ran into this week is where reader submissions should go. We had a couple stores this week where we really promoted reader submissions, Stafford demolition and Beetle Bailey, and I heard a lot of questions about where reader-submitted photos should be sent versus where any text stories should go. I think we just need to pick one location, so it’s not confusing for our readers, and once we choose this location, make everyone aware of the policy because sometimes that final step falls through the cracks.
That’s all I have. I will be making a transition question/comment/concern drop box to be placed on the ICE desk this week. I’ll make an announcement about that as soon as it’s there. Please enlighten me about anything you’re seeing regarding the transition and anything I’ve written about that might already be dealt with. Although I’m trying to be especially observant in the newsroom, I’m only one set of eyes and ears, and in order for the transition to be successful, we need conversation from everyone involved.
Please comment on the blog, use the forthcoming newsroom drop box or e-mail me at email@example.com with your thoughts. Great work this week, everyone!