Feeding the beast – on time
January 13, 2008 4:00 AM Subscribe
Journalists of Metafilter – hit me with your tips for fast filing. My job (as a reporter at a daily newspaper) has gone really well and I just got a promotion!!!! Hurrah! But soon I'm going to have to do a lot more work in a lot less time. So I need to file my copy much, much faster.
posted by t0astie to media & arts (12 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Now: I'm a reporter at a regional daily newspaper. I file 3-6 stories a day of varying length and depth, by 6pm. I meet the deadline, but usually by a panic stricken minute. Maybe one story a day is substantial – the others are usually pretty small. I do most of my interviewing over the phone. If pics are taken, photographers take them. If I go out to a story the photographer drives. I'm find stories through my round and phone calls, or media monitoring of regional and national media – but a fair few are diary-based, or fed to me by my boss.
Soon: I'll be working for the same paper, but out of an office in a nearby town, on my own, filing stories for the parent paper from the region surrounding the town. I'll need to file 4-6 stories a day, at least two of substantial length. I'll be responsible for taking photographs, and driving to and from the jobs as well. I'll also be responsible for finding almost all my own stories and maintaining a diary for the region. And if there's breaking news where I am (car crash, fire and so on) I'll have to drop what I'm doing and head out to cover that. I'll also have to build up new contacts in the region – and that takes a bit of time, in the form of phone calls, and meeting with people for coffee or a drink after work and so on.
This will be great! I hate being stuck in the office all day and the most rewarding part of my job, by a long shot, is when I break a story myself. I also find it much, much easier to write a story if I'm there as it's happening.
But I'm really, really freaked out about delivering essentially twice the work (taking the photographs, writing the copy to go with them) in about half the time (given that I'll be driving to and from jobs) and to a higher standard (longer, more substantial stories) as well as building all the contacts I'll need to break decent stories.
I know this is possible: two other people do the same job in different areas. However, both of them have 5-10 years experience on me. I have exactly one year's experience. And zero photography skills. What's more, I'll be covering a heap of different rounds I've almost no exposure to – court, police, council and politics.
I have about six weeks in my present job before I start the new job. What can I do to prepare myself for the increased workload – and to start filing faster, now?