So much to do, so little time

I realized as my exams are coming up this week: it’s a third of the way through the semester.

(Insert the expletive of your choice here.)

Starting out, a semester seemed like so long to accomplish what I and the other editors wanted for the paper.

Now, looking back on the first four weeks, I’m starting to feel panicked.

I’ve just figured out payroll and how to get people paid — even our business manager noted that my payroll Excel spreadsheet looked better this pay period. I’m working on a new budget that meets our needs. We’re still trying to get a CMS. I’m still frantically trying to get people to take their press pass photos and give me two forms of ID for paperwork. Copy editors still need to get their names listed on the masthead — if any of you read this, I promise I’m sending out the e-mail tonight.

I don’t really realize how little time we have with the Alligator until I see it all slipping by. Suddenly, it’s hitting me that I need to start checking things off my to-do list on a regular basis if I want this semester to have lasting impact.

Here’s that list:

  • Have a full staff of reporters.
  • Have a workable budget.
  • Submit stories, photos and special projects for awards.
  • Get ALL the paperwork in.
  • Figure out why the papers have been so small lately.
  • Do a headline workshop with copy editors.
  • Ask section editors about their goals for the rest of the semester.
  • Start the “Best of the Week” wall and recognition for writers with the highest inch counts.

I’m learning to appreciate the accomplishments along the way, too — like reading great in-depth stories that choke me up during editing, watching freelance reporting students improve by leaps and bounds or painting the aggressively rust-colored editor’s office a calming blue.

I’ve got my calendar and to-dos in hand, but I’m enjoying every second of my work.

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4 Comments

Filed under Managing

4 responses to “So much to do, so little time

  1. Hello,

    First of all, let me say I enjoy this blog. I have the feed bookmarked so I can catch up on all the new posts.

    But I was curious about the recognition for writers with the highest inch counts. Do you have trouble getting longer stories? Do you ever have problems with stories coming back long, but filled with nothing?

  2. Mel Umbarger

    I’m enjoying the blog, too, but I second the question about inch counts. Speaking as a copy editor and designer who has to argue with reporters and hack stories to fit ever tighter space on a daily basis, I can tell you that we would never reward reporters with the highest inch count! 🙂 Papers are going more and more toward inch caps on stories, so learning to write tight should be high on the list in college!

    Perhaps a better reward system would be items contributed?

  3. Hilary Lehman

    Inch counts are more for the total week. So writers get rewarded for writing more stories — not necessarily longer stories.

    Our writers get 5-inch stories and briefs assignments pretty often. We have more trouble getting them to write longer than write shorter most of the time.

  4. That fall semester zips by all too quickly — believe me, I know. Keeping your goals manageable is a good idea, because the day-to-day functioning of the paper can be such a challenge in itself. New CMS or not, though, you seem to appreciate the quieter accomplishments of the Alligator, which I think is great. It’s the little things that keep you excited about the job.

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