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Four-man department

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Pops, Jul 14, 2006.

  1. Pops

    Pops Member

    Two questions:

    1. What do you consider the ideal structure of a four-man sports department? This is presuming pagination and reporting is handled by the same people.
    2. Would you ever agree to a system in which four people equally split writing, copy editing, pagination and proofreading duties and a six-man copy desk will not read one word of sports copy, even if all six are on the clock and usually finish well before deadline?

    Any and all takers welcome ...
  2. DyePack

    DyePack New Member

    I assume the six-man department you refer to is in news, and of course, those people do nothing other than insert thumb into rectum all night. All copy, photos, graphics, etc., naturally flow into place, specs intact, on the news side.

    That being said, if you have a copy desk that isn't reading copy, then your newspaper is fucked up.
  3. Precious Roy

    Precious Roy Active Member

    Four man department:

    SE writes, copy edits and takes calls
    ASE writes, copy edits and does agate page
    Designer takes all other pages, selects photos, and minor copy editing
    and a repoter that just writes and takes call-ins
  4. Cousin Jeffrey

    Cousin Jeffrey Active Member

    How it usually breaks down:
    SE writes, copy edits, designs and does editor-type things
    2 Writers that write, copy edit and design
    One yahoo that can either only write or only design, takes brunt of late night calls
  5. Brookerton

    Brookerton Member

    We've got a five-man staff.

    The SE writes, reads copy, proofs pages, takes calls
    One writer, writes, reads copy, proofs pages
    Then we have three people that are writer/copy editors. One peson is on the desk, while the other two are writing or one of them is off. If it's a game night, one of the writers will pick up the agate page or another page if necessary.
  6. funky_mountain

    funky_mountain Active Member

    At my first job out of college, we had a four-man staff and it broke down like this:
    SE – he loved to design and was good at it; he did that three, four nights a week, plus wrote columns, other stories and covered games
    ASE: wrote mostly and designed the paper twice a week
    Writer: wrote, wrote, wrote and wrote and designed paper once a week
    Writer: wrote, wrote, wrote and wrote and designed paper once a week

    We also had two part-timers to help with calls and we had a few stringers who wrote and took calls

    as for question no. 2, i'm not sure it's feasible that four people equally split those duties. some write better than others. some design , edit and write headlines better than others. play to strengths.
  7. Frank_Ridgeway

    Frank_Ridgeway Well-Known Member

    Be careful what you wish for.
  8. Claws for Concern

    Claws for Concern Active Member

    Question 1:

    SE designs, writes occasionally (column mainly), copy edits and does editor-type stuff
    ASE writes more, copy edits and does design 1-2 nights, might take a few calls
    Reporter -- writes, takes calls and may be asked to copy edit some, should be interested in learning design
    Agate/calls person -- that's what he or she does as they're learning the ropes.

    Question 2:

    If someone from that 6-person desk isn't willing to help out the sports department in serious crunch time (Friday night football or something else) while they're still on the clock, that's lame. Really lame. After all, in situations whenever I was available to help out if a big story broke and the manpower on the newsside needed a hand, I'd be first in line to provide any help I could.

    Good luck with your situation Uncle Aldo.
  9. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    How many pages does your section run each night?

    It all depends on the skill set of the four individuals you have.

    If one person's stronger at layout, make them do the agate page and front, plus the rest of the section if they're okay not writing much. If one person sucks at layout, make 'em write and edit, or just write.

    The SE should, of course, edit and proof everything.

    You should have two people writing.

    Make sure you've got more than one person editing and proofing.

    Geez, this starts to feel like that "get the family and the robbers to the other side of the river" game.
  10. Appgrad05

    Appgrad05 Active Member

    SE does the majority of "slot" work.
    One of the writers "rims" and potentially write as well.
    Other two write.
    We all edit and proof.
  11. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    add another reporter and you have the five-man department I just left.
  12. huntsie

    huntsie Active Member

    Ours is the most bizarre. We have a three man staff and liberal use of a stringer.
    SE desks Sunday, Monday, Tuesday Wednesday
    2 other staffers (one of them me) rotate weekly on the other desk shift. If you're the second edit, you're staffing the office Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, desking Thursday and Friday evenings.
    Otherwise, you're the field guy, starting Wednesday and staffing events as necessary. You might be in the office Wednesday writing advancers, or staffing a baseball or hockey game that night. Thursday the same, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, you're staffing weekend events.
    Stringer covers the car races each weekend because none of our staffers are really into the stocks.

    The desker is alone to put together and edit a six page section nightly. Sometimes, if I'm working in the office, I hang behind to provide help as it becomes necessary, but that's just me. It's not required or expected. We got a new executive editor last year and I expected he would address this but so far, no. Our guy has been SE for 20 plus years, he's one of the senior guys in the entire newsroom, so they leave him alone to run it as he sees fit.
    Nobody complains, so they don't care.
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