Earlier this week, I was the editor of a news website for a day, and I'll tell you one thing - it is rather stressful!
I'm in my final year of study at Southampton Solent University, studying for a degree in Multimedia Journalism. It has challenges, rewards and a LOT of work, but I have enjoyed my time there very much. One of the unique elements of my course is 'news-days' - a day dedicated to us, the students, finding stories and reporting on them, through the use of a multimedia package. This includes various different media platforms, mainly video, audio and photography, as well as a copy. Over the past three years, we have learnt this skills and our lecturers have let us loose on rather expensive camera equipment - but it is worth it.
Everyone in my year on my course has two weeks of being on the editoral team; there's five of us, working together to gather content from the third and second years, which will then be published on our course website. I'll admit, I was nervous at first, walking into our 'newsroom' early Wednesday morning but really, I shouldn't have worried.
My fellow editors and I had spent the week before talking to the different years and our lecturers to keep them up to date with stories we were expecting - which was a lot. Both third and second years were expected to submit a full multimedia news package, as for both it was part of our assessment. The week before the actual news-day is what we call a 'prep' news-day - it's just us organising ourselves and our colleagues for the following week. We would give those who were struggling stories, ideas on what to film and what angle to take.
The day of the news-day arrived and to everyone's joy, it was a big success. My team and I worked incredibly well together - it's an amazing thing, team-work. We communicated well between ourselves and our lecturers, as well as our friends and colleagues who were working feverishly hard at their stories. Nearly 30 stories were submitted in that one day, but thanks to our organisation, we pulled it off well. We tweeted various snippets of information through our Twitter account, we overtook a whiteboard to note the stories we were expecting and whose were completed, and we worked simultaneously together to sub news stories. Our course leader was very happy with how it all went when we held our meetings throughout the day - so much so, that my team will be the one that will be helping out on a very important news-day in the upcoming months!
It is incredibly stressful being an editor, I discovered that. Running around like a headless chicken (not literally) is not my idea of fun, but if you communicate, it will work. Every news-day, we film bulletins, small snippets of the local, national and sport news throughout the day. Having told those we were meant to be on this bulletin team the week before and reminding them of this fact, it was hugely frustrating for them not to turn up, bar one. A couple of them did appear later in the day but to start with, we had problems with getting our bulletins online by the deadline. It's annoying when you rely on people and they don't bother, but hopefully we have suggested a few ideas to rectify this in the future; some very kind course-mates of mine oversaw the bulletins section and when they were recorded and published, it was very successful. We also could have used our Twitter a lot more to publish stories, but having nearly 30 pieces to sub, we lost track of time - another idea we'll do in the future is to designate one of the team solely on Twitter.
Overall, despite the stresses, we pulled it off well - aided with a large can of energy drink - and really, communication is the key to success. If you work as a team, altogether, you can achieve good work from hard work.
If you'd like to look at the stories we do, please go to www.solentjournalism.co.uk