Posted by: Ciaran | March 16, 2010

Production day thirteen

I was on the newsdesk for the first time today, as deputy news editor. It took me back to my days as editor of my student newspaper, Forge Press.

It was a mixture of good fun and tremendous stress, with an incessant stream of queries and phone calls and the chance to read a lot of copy from my colleagues, which was very enjoyable.

While I prefer going out and getting the stories myself, I found it really interesting to read the different ways in which all of my colleagues approached their news stories, features, reviews and comment pieces.

But the main skill for manning the newsdesk – aside from literacy – is communication. A good memory helps too. When reporters are constantly phoning in updates on stories and people in the office are keeping you posted on the things they are working on, it’s essential to get straight to the heart of the message and be able to reel it off to the news editor as quickly and succinctly as possible.

Our number of pages went up today, and so we had to pull in even more copy and pictures. We were busy for the whole day, but from about 11am until 4pm it was manic.

Copy was flying in every few minutes and things were changing right up towards the deadline, and it was testament to the quality of the subbing team that the paper got out on time.

Exciting as it was, though, it didn’t beat the rush of being out and finding the stories. But before I can get back out to work my patch, I’m in the hotseat as the news editor on Friday…

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