You simply can’t procrastinate in the newspaper business – Bluefield Daily Telegraph

I have found over the years that it is best to avoid procrastination. If there is something that needs to be done today, it is best to take care of it as quickly as possible. Sometimes it can be a relatively simple task like balancing the checkbook, or preparing bills for payment.

But there are other routine duties that can be more time consuming, including doing laundry, cleaning up around the house or mowing the lawn outside. And you can only put off those chores for so long. 

For example, at some point you will run out of clean clothing to wear if you don’t do laundry. And unless you have one of those expensive self-cleaning robot vacuums that cats love to chase after, the house won’t clean itself.

Also going one week during the spring and summer months without cutting the grass will make your job the following week even more difficult. As the higher the grass gets outside, the harder it is to cut.

The same goes for our daily routines here at the newspaper. If it is my day to paginate, I like to start working on the page as soon as possible. A lot has changed in the newspaper business over the years, but some things — namely deadlines — haven’t.

We still have a deadline to meet, and that means clearing certain pages at specifically designated times. A failure to meet that deadline is simply not an option. So there is no room for procrastination here.

The thing about the newspaper business is that we are creating a new product each day 365 days a year. Sure there are some magazines out there that publish new issues once a week. But only newspapers publish new editions every single day, and that includes Christmas, the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving.

It’s not an easy job. As every article that is written today is considered old news by tomorrow. The same goes for layout and design. We may have a great looking A-1 in today’s paper — with dramatic photographs, catchy headlines and compelling content. But the challenge is to top and improve upon today’s A-1 tomorrow. 

So procrastination is simply not an option in the newspaper business. You can’t put off what needs to be done thanks to an ever approaching and very real deadline.

By comparison, we can easily put off some of those chores at home. Don’t feel like doing laundry tonight? No problem. Put it off for another day. But we can’t do that at the newspaper. Articles won’t write themselves after all.

Nowadays, it is worth noting that everything occurs in real time in the newsroom. If news is breaking, we will promptly place the latest information about the breaking news event on our website, and our social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. And the breaking news event will be updated online throughout the day with a final, comprehensive report, for our print edition.

Once again, there is no room for procrastination here. If news is occurring, it is our job to get all of the details that are available to you in a timely manner. And one of the best way to accomplish that objective is online and through social media platforms.

It would be nice if we could put a few things off here in the newsroom, but such is simply not the nature of the business. We have a job to do, and it must be done in a timely, fair and accurate fashion. And before deadline. 

Charles Owens is the Daily Telegraph’s assistant managing editor. Contact him at cowens@bdtonline. Follow him @bdtowens.




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