editor on the verge

Online musings from the newsroom and beyond . . . by Yoni Greenbaum

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In the name of efficiency, think first

March 5th, 2008 · 1 Comment

I believe that the phrase “no one can do it all and frankly no one should” must be part of the discussion at any newspaper serious about their online operation.

As I wrote in a previous post, there is a growing sentiment at many papers that there are just too few people to tackle what seems like ever-growing to-do lists. What concerns me about that reaction is that I fear it reflects organizations who are only considering the first “no one can do it all” part of the above phrase.

While organizations can keep on increasing the responsibilities for their reporters, editors, photographers or producers, the reality is quality will suffer and morale will decline. In my mind, it should not be a case of simply adding, but of adding and subtracting. I would encourage you to look for redundancies or places where you can leverage either your existing print or online operation.

For example:

  • Is the same content being entered twice, once for print and once for online?
  • Is there work that either readers can do or that technology can assist with? For example can letter to the editor be scanned rather then manually entered in your editorial system or can readers be encouraged to complete an online form?
  • Could reporters provide a list of the websites they used to research a story to help enhance it when it appears online?
  • Can copy editors provide a web headline when they come up with the print headline?

I know these are rather basic suggestions, but my point is — if you look at your process before you simply start handing out new responsibilities, you might find that either you can replace existing duties or that someone is already doing it, but in a way you didn’t see. In a time when being efficient is key, it’s inefficient to blindly hand out new tasks.

Tags: Best Practices · Editor on the verge · Editor on the Verge · Editors · Industry · Innovation · Organization · technology · Tools

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Julie Starr // Apr 21, 2008 at 4:57 am

    Hi Yoni,

    I think your suggestions are spot on. I agree that you should start with the basics – by taking a critical (and preferably structured) look at tyour processes so you can knock out repetition and unnecessary steps, find ways to automate, and rewrite your processes to suit the newsroom as it is today, rather than as it was 30 years ago.

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