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Let's play a game: Build the staff

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Versatile, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Your task: You're the sports editor at a major metropolitan newspaper. You get 24 full-time employees and 7 part-timers/interns/contractors. You must hire assignment editors, reporters, bloggers, designers, copy editors, Web editors and clerks using those numbers. But we'll be a bit more specific. Here are the things you're covering:

    • NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL teams, listed in order of popularity. There are also MLS and WNBA teams to worry about, but neither has a huge following. None of these teams is dominant, but none is the Pittsburgh Pirates, either.
    • Two major college athletics programs, neither directly in your city but both within your coverage area; one strong mid-major college basketball program (think Xavier) without a corresponding football team that is in your city; and a flurry of lower-tier universities. There's also a niche sport (think Iowa wrestling or Syracuse lacrosse or Oregon track and field) that one of the big schools is dominant in and has a sizable following.
    • A rich high school sports scene with at least a dozen schools in the city limits and many more in your coverage area, including perrenial powers in every sport. That same niche sport the one college dominates is a big deal in local high schools. Your city hosts most of the state tournaments.
    • A few reasonably significant auto races, including a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race and an Izod IndyCar Series race.
    • A bundle of community events, standard to any city, such as a marathon, Champions and LPGA tour golf events, a cycling race and a middle-tier tennis tournament.
    You publish season-preview sections for NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAA football, NCAA basketball and spring, fall and winter high school sports.

    Furthermore, those 24 full-time employees are broken down into pay tiers: five senior-level (about $75,000-$100,000), eight middle-level ($50,000-$75,000) and 11 lower-level ($35,000-$50,000). Your job: Come up with a breakdown of job titles and how many you would staff each title with, based on those requirements. (You're the sports editor, so don't include that position.)

    Your freelance budget is minuscule. Photographers are already on staff.

    I got this idea from a combination The Washington Times' (somewhat) recent sports reboot and what USA Today is going through with everyone having to reapply for jobs. But in this case, there's no current infrastructure and your desk is expected to have complete autonomy.

    Feel free to be as specific or vague as you want, of course. If you're so inclined, you can even name specific people whom you think would be great fits in particular jobs.

    (And before anyone wisecracks, there still are a few sports departments this big. To cover all I laid out, 30 full-time employees would be most appropriate. But this isn't 1995.)

    YGBFKM Guest

    What does this have to do with masturbating?
  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Joe Cowley, women's sports. Some a dem could build my staff, you know what I'm sayin' Joe?
  4. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    So in 2012, I'm the sports editor at a major metropolitan newspaper? With all those things to cover, and a minuscule freelance budget?

    I put in my application for these positions, and call in every marker I can to make at least one of them happen:


  5. boundforboston

    boundforboston Well-Known Member

    I'd start with two columnists, one an opinion-maker and another who's more feature-based. They would earn senior level pay.

    Next, you have to have beat writers for each of your four pro sports. It appears two of those will be senior level pay (NFL and MLB). The other two would likely be middle level.

    Two college beat writers who would earn middle level pay. Would also have a third college beat writer fort the basketball team and does the other colleges as well. Would be a features-based writer. Middle level of pay.

    Three high school reporters, obviously the low level of pay. They would also split time on the four major sports teams and handle the secondary sports for the major college teams.

    One general assignment (largely NASCAR, MLS and WNBA). lower level

    One features writer who could produce huge stories. Would be senior level of pay.

    6 copy editors/designers who would earn lower levels of pay

    Would have high school sports editor; city/"other" sports editor; college sports editor; pro sports editor (last three are middle level, first is low)

    Would have my part-timers mainly focus on the niche sport (I'm assuming they have the specialized knowledge of wrestling or lacrosse)
  6. Uncle.Ruckus

    Uncle.Ruckus Guest

    Of fucking course. ::)
  7. 3OctaveFart

    3OctaveFart Guest

    How cute - this thread can sort of be a Young Studs roll call.
  8. Piotr Rasputin

    Piotr Rasputin New Member

    I'm not sure you'd have to pay anyone "senior level" these days. Lot of quality people would take the job at a reduced pay level, from preps coverage to pros.

    Knock everyone down to no higher than middle level, and then you can pay your copy editors and designers a bit more so they don't get tempted to shoot up the place.
  9. Uncle.Ruckus

    Uncle.Ruckus Guest

    Urge to kill ... falling.
  10. Versatile

    Versatile Active Member

    Here's my list.

    Full-time employees:

    1 deputy sports editor (senior-level), who manages MLB, NHL and college sports coverage (NFL, NBA and high schools, along with general oversight and budgeting and all that good shit, would fall to me)
    1 high school sports editor (middle-level), who manages online and print high school content, organizing clerk and part-timer scheduling and game coverage while working big high school sports nights on the desk, editing stories and keeping the Web updated
    1 sports columnist (senior-level)
    1 enterprise and features reporter (senior-level), who also helps with beat coverage
    2 NFL beat reporters (one senior-level, one middle-level)
    1 MLB beat reporter (middle-level)
    1 NBA beat reporter (lower-level)
    1 NHL beat reporter (lower-level)
    3 college sports reporters (all lower-level), who switch off on beats
    1 high school sports reporter (middle-level)
    2 general assignment reporters (both lower-level), who cover small professional beats and assist in coverage of all other sports
    1 copy-desk chief (senior-level)
    3 copy editors (two middle-level, one lower-level), who would handle online posting at night
    3 designers (one middle-level, two lower-level), each capable of copy editing
    1 Web editor (middle-level), who manages online content and creates photo galleries and such during the day

    And the part-time employees:

    1 blog contractor, who is responsible for three blog posts a day on local sports on the Web and such (think poor man's D.C. Sports Bog)
    6 agate clerks/high school sports reporters, who switch off answering phones and covering games
  11. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    Yup, because the staff that makes sure the writers look like geniuses and write the snappy headlines should get paid the least. :p
  12. spikechiquet

    spikechiquet Well-Known Member

    OK, took a while, but I will bite on this:

    All reporters would have a Twitter account to maintain and beat writers would be expected to blog at least once a day with info sent into Web Editor

    5 Senior
    Sports Editor
    Assistant SE - lead designer and special section editor/desginer as well
    Main Columnist - 3/4 times a week focusing on major events
    High School Editor - coordinates coverage and also covers games
    Web Editor

    8 Midlevel
    NFL reporter
    MLB reporter
    2 designers/copy editors - people who do bulk of layout 7 days a week along with ASE
    2 main copy editors

    11 Lower-tier
    Major College reporter 1
    Major College reporter 2
    Mid-Major Bball/Racing/Community events
    Small Colleges/Community events
    2 high school reporters
    copy editor/designer - younger, newer member, does less pages, edits more copy.
    2 copy editors
    Outdoors reporter - 3-4 stories a week along with chipping in on niche sports
    Web desk coordinator
    2nd Columnist - 3 times a week; plus writes 1-2 features a week on niche sports, community events, small colleges or enterprise piece

    7 Part timers
    3 Agate clerks - 1 in each night along with a high school writer to answer phones. All hands on deck Fri/Sat.
    3 Blog/Web detail (reporters send blog posts in, they edit and post along with keeping up new copy)
    1 reporter (possibly an older full-timer that wanted to "retire" but stick around. They would keep up with the niche sport, high school features)

    By my count, that is a stable of 14 reporters with 2 columnists and 9 copy editors/designers with a strong web presence (baring the reporters keep up with Twitter and keep the Web desk informed of what they are doing).
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