Monday, April 20, 2009

Whose dumb idea was this? Oh yeah, mine…

News coverage at my paper lately has been far from comprehensive. Reduced staff, reduced hours and reduced morale are at least in part to blame – but was this publication ever able to provide the complete countywide coverage it so loudly proclaimed?

I don’t know.

I’ve been here less than a year. During that time, I saw my fearless leader and a seasoned news editor sent packing – two casualties of the “economic situation” and what may be the slow and agonizing death of the community newspaper.

Since then it has been a struggle to find the happy medium between the bad days and the good.

On bad days, I send my resume anywhere and everywhere – it’s like a message in a bottle out on the open ocean and I am like an island castaway: I don’t know who will get my message and I really don’t care, I just hope that soon I will be rescued.

On good days, I want to make my paper the best it can be and in so doing create more work for myself. More stress inevitably follows.

I am not the editor. Certain responsibilities are not within my realm of authority. But in this brave new world of part-time and virtual editors, it is unlikely (if not impossible) for those who are in command to have any idea what is really happening on the ground. An intercessor is born.

I quietly made a list of our “perceived” coverage goals (those concocted with a larger staff) and compared it with a list of our “actual” coverage. I wasn’t surprised to find a gaping discrepancy.

Actual coverage and perceived coverage were two entirely different creatures.

I presented my findings to the part-time/virtual editor, along with a proposed plan of action. The plan of action will require me to pick up a lot of the slack and reprioritize my workload; meaning some things will still fall by the wayside. However, I believe the truly important areas will receive the attention they require and future disasters will be averted.

If only there was a way to translate this brilliance into something resume-worthy instead of just added work for the time being.

Lucky for me, today is a “good” day and on good days I believe that making the best of the bumpy road I am on will lead to something profoundly better, albeit with its own challenges, in the NEAR future.