I am the kind of person who makes lists. I can do three things at approximately the same time, and probably remember two more, but give me a sixth thing and the results are not going to be very good. I need a list!
One of the lists I kept for the 15 years I was The Columbian’s metro editor concerns our Sunday A1 stories. We still keep it today.
We like to plan our Sunday A1 stories anywhere from six to 10 weeks out. These stories should reflect our staff’s best work. They need to be local, and of broad community interest. They should shed fresh light on an issue, and oftentimes should bear the fruit of some investigative reporting. They are a chance to reward our customers for supporting our journalism by telling them a story they aren’t going to get anywhere else.
Our reporters and photographers are very busy, and news breaks all the time, so it is tempting to put aside these bigger projects in favor of daily work. Making a list helps us achieve our goals.
How do we decide what goes on the list? We try to get all of our metro and business reporters onto the Sunday cover once every quarter. We have 13 of them, and if you to the math, 13×4=52, that gives us just the number of stories we need. Because reporters are assigned to different beats, that also helps us ensure we have a good variety of stories.