Last Wednesday I took part in a chat on Twitter about web journalism. One thing that became clear early on, even within “web journalism” many roles and responsibilities are highly specialized. Answers to questions regarding what a web journalist is, what responsibilities people have, and what titles people hold varied greatly depending on their role in their organization. There were back-end tech people who manage databases and work with code, reporters who were starting to use Twitter and still cameras, editors who help to produce packages and train staff, etc.
This may have been the reality for many of last week’s participants (working in dedicated, albeit small, web/online teams) but it is not mine, and I doubt it is the reality for other Web editors in many small market, rural areas. So what do I do on a typical day at work?
From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. my day usually involves pagination and copy editing.
Copy editing: The aspect of my work most foreign to me, I will typically read through all of the days stories at some point in the day for content and/or for grammar/spelling.
Pagination: This usually involves paginating two local pages and, at times, two or three wire pages.
After 1 p.m. (we are an afternoon paper) my days usually involves a mix of posting content to the Web, blogging/social media management, training, podcasts, a mix of either shooting stills, creating audio slideshows or video, and the ever-present meeting.
Posting to Web: Fairly straightforward and not much different than any other CMS I’ve used it in the past whether it be College Publisher, WordPress or SaxoTech. The new AP Marketplace does add a slight hiccup to my workflow and, on the off chance that some other Web editor reads this, if you know of a way to publish select content to Marketplace without auto publishing everything, but also without having to enter each field manually, I would love to hear it.
Blogging/Social Media Management: Upkeep of the Telegram’s photo blog (soon to be multimedia blog as soon as I finish this post). Keeping content fresh and interacting with users on Twitter, Facebook and our SWKTalk forums.
Training: Weekly new media training for reporters and photographers. I also maintain www.danielsato.com/gctelegram, where I recap our training sessions and provide links to other tutorials and examples.
Podcasts: I have even gotten in to the podcast world, hosting “Talk of the Town,” where I discuss some topic that is pertinent either to Garden City or southwest Kansas each Wednesday afternoon at our local coffee house.[audio:https://www.danielsato.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/tott-SierraClub-01-06-10.mp3]
Stephanie Cole, of the Kansas Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign, discusses the organization’s view on the 895-megawatt coal-fired power plant that is proposed to be built in Holcomb.[audio:https://www.danielsato.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/tott-AnimalAntibiotics-01-14-10.mp3]
Dave Sjeklocha, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Haskell County Animal Hospital, discusses the use of antibiotics in feed animals.[audio:http://assets.mediaspanonline.com/prod/3811135/podcast-USD457-12-16-09.mp3]
USD 457 Board of Education president Mike Utz and board member Gloria Hopkins discuss the recent decision to join Schools for Fair Funding, which is considering the idea of suing the state for funding promised to schools. Schools for Fair Funding has since decided to proceed in its lawsuit with the state.
Photos, slideshows and video: Every now and again, I also get to go and play outside of the office.
The potential upside the amount and variety of work I do: I have experience in 9 of the top ten areas of expertise sought after by online media, and 17 of the 23 skills listed. Mark Shaver, who maintains the blog Depth Reporting, mentioned that his areas of expertise, computer programming and database management, were well down on the list, though I imagine they have gone up in demand since Serena Carpenter’s 2008 study, which the rankings originated from.