See You At Your New Job by Russ
February 18, 2009, 10:14 pm
Filed under: Russ | Tags: , , , , , ,

There’s been quite a bit of talk about meeting deadlines lately. Here’s more.

David Johnson sent us a rather gentle (in my opinion) email this week about meeting deadline:

“It is important that your stories are filed with enough time for production. If you don’t respect the deadlines, you are disrespecting your colleagues and abusing their time on class day.

File your content.”

He’s right, and frankly, this is the nicest thing an editor will ever say to you about making deadline.

When you’re still working on something Wednesday morning, that means a copy editor is sitting around waiting for you to finish… a multimedia person is creating a graphic that might be all wrong or just doesn’t fit with the content that’s coming… and you’re not helping produce the issue.

Does anybody notice? Maybe not. But after you graduate, someone will.

Like the man says, “You break the chain, it compromises what we’re capable of doing.”

I’ve heard that if you repeat things enough times people will begin to believe them. So, tell us Amy Eisman, director of AU SOC’s writing program, and former powerful editor at places you might want to one day work, what would you tell someone who can’t make deadline? What if it’s just 12 hours late – like, they were supposed to have it in by 5 p.m. Tuesday night and they got it in first thing Wednesday morning?

We’re not in broadcast, we’re in the netherworld of online, converged media. Dead air = a lame tired, occasionally updated Web site.

This week’s managing editor David Coffey has established tight deadlines, and I’d like to see them enforced. If content isn’t in – it shouldn’t go. Too often we publish something because it’s there – somebody took the time to write it, way past deadline, right up to the last minute. Today, Johnson gave us a new mantra to repeat in our heads as we’re working towards deadline:

“We’re not going to publish it because I put the time into it, we’re going to publish it because it’s good.”

If things go poorly this week maybe we can adjust the deadlines – build in time for something that might need it – but we shouldn’t be compromising deadlines. In the real world, late content just doesn’t exist. Tell ’em, Amy.

Okay, Amy correctly stated that good journalists push the deadline – but don’t get hung up on that, she also said the best make their deadlines.

For the sake of the Observer, for the sake of your content getting good play and turning out the way it should… make your deadline!

Cross-posted at Blog/19 and AmericanObserved.

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