There is a lot to be proud of with the group of journalists who work so hard every day trying to keep the community informed, but one particular thing struck me today.
It’s their ability to work collaboratively often without even being directed to. Sometimes it’s as simple as asking for a person’s number, but other times it’s much more significant.
For the fastest breaking stories, assignments fly around the room like plates in the “Be Our Guest” scene of “Beauty and the Beast” and they rarely drop a plate. (Odd analogy, I know, but it’s top of mind right now.)
Even though journalism may seem like an inherently individualist activity, it is not. Even a story that carries a single byline will be touched by at least three people in the newsroom, likely four if there’s a picture included.
The process for a story varies based on its importance and complexity. Those stories may be assigned weeks out by an editor. The reporter then goes about the news gathering process but may return to the assigning editors throughout the process for advice and direction.
We also try to bring in a photographer and graphic designer about two-thirds of the way through the process to start thinking about how the story might be presented visually.
When the reporter is finished with his or her first draft, it will go up through at least one editor, likely two, and probably be sent back with notes, questions and suggestions. After those changes, it goes back to an editor. Throughout that process it will be paired with photographs and possibly infographics. That will all go to the person laying out the paper that day.
Throughout the process, we try to ensure everything is as accurate and error-free as possible. Of course, we’re human and we miss stuff, but we live by the words of late Washington Post Editor Ben Bradlee: “Put out the best, most honest newspaper you can today, and put out a better one the next day.”
Happy birthday Thursday to Barbara Jenkins of Sherman; Aneya Allen; and Zaneya Allen.