Things were quiet at today’s TA meeting, so I’ll start the conversation here.
First, now more than ever because print is so separate, there needs to be a system for correcting errors in stories found by the print desk on the website. Currently, when something is corrected on the page, the TAs brought up that no one is quite sure whether it should be the print desk or interactive copy desk that should correct it in the online version. I suppose this could also happen if a story that has already made it to the print desk is corrected online. In this case, someone needs to notify the designers to correct it on the page. But this is an easy fix as long as people know their duties. We’ve also had issues with several stories coming in very close to the print deadline, but as long as the designers are getting constant updates about length and any art that might go along with the story, they should be able to work with that if need be. But if there’s no reason for those stories to be coming in so late, that needs to change. Finally, we’ve had issues with non-sports people working on sports pages and not being entirely comfortable with it; however, we discussed that either Greg or Grant are most always around and can help in those situations.
So, as the outcome of the TA meeting suggested, the transition is going swimmingly, but there’s always room to improve and take our newsroom further. Laura and I had a long talk today about our newsroom withstanding change so well because, as we theorized, it alters drastically every semester anyway with a new crop of reporters, copy editors, designers, photographers, etc.
Because we’re already so resilient to change, I’d really like to see us go to uncharted waters now. And that has to begin with discussion from everyone.
City editors: How is the beat and GA system working this semester? Do you see it changing next semester? What more could reporters be doing to make their stories have better play both on the website and in print?
Photo: What’s up? How has the transition changed the way you function? What else could we be doing to make the website and print more visually interesting?
ACEs: How’s life at the Hub? What are you telling reporters about deadline, and how could we be getting a consistent influx of stories to freshen the website throughout the day?
Nick: I love that you’re telling copy editors to put an “interesting” word in a print headline. What else are they being told about print, and why are they apparently so terrified to come into our little print corner?
Interactive copy desk: Define the interactive part of your job. Now, how can we expand that?
Jake and designers: How can we make the print edition different from the website? Why should people pick up the paper? What more could we be doing? I’m fascinated with an idea I’ve been thinking about that’s probably already been coined somewhere else, but I want to make an interactive print edition. How can we make our paper a service to reader? What can it have that the website doesn’t? If we’re truly going to separate online and print, we need to be offering something more than the same stories readers could find online but in a well-designed paper form.
And everyone else: What are your questions, comments and concerns about the transition or the newsroom in general?
These questions are only scratching the surface of our newsroom potential. We have a gift of being a unique news organization with an abundant staff of young journalists who want to learn. We need to remember besides being a news outlet, we’re also a teaching institution, and if each person in the newsroom could learn something new each day and put it into practice, I don’t see any boundaries on how far we could take this transition.
Please, extend your comments. Ask more questions. Put me in my place. Let’s get a conversation going.