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Northern Reporter makes time to talk time

May 31, 2012

I thought it appropriate to begin my life under the B.C. Reporter Reporter umbrella by talking about time, or, more specifically, the lack of it.

For instance, when Reporter Reporter announced the merger of our blogs, I had meant to write something to get the ball rolling.

That didn’t work out so well.

As time went on, time slipped by. How very cruel.

The more I thought about the lack of time on my side — I effectively have no personal time at the moment — the more I thought about how that affects the work I do. I’m just going to assume I’ve mentioned in the past the fact that I have, in my career, worked in a single person newsroom.

Even in the non-single person offices, the news beats for all the reporters basically comes down to who’s in the office when something happens (Well, somewhat.).

Resources can be scarce, is what I’m getting at.

To go back a little farther, I recall a fact I did reveal in one of my early entries is that I’m not a journalism school graduate. I’ve worked with such people, and they’re great, and being around them makes me feel at a disadvantage. They’ve worked under professors, done their research, did the scholastic training. Most, if not all, of what I know I’ve learned is through trial and error. (Hence the reason I exist as a blog.)

So, time is lacking, and I personally lack the formal training many colleagues have. That’s the basis for the trouble I sometimes feel I get into. I don’t have enough time or training to follow up on news tips for larger stories.

For instance, I was asked to follow up on a story about a company that’s working in the area which, in contrast to earlier, stated objectives, might not be hiring all the local people they can hire, preferring outside workers. That’s entirely speculation, of course. But I don’t actually have the training to form a strategy for approaching such a story, or even the time to do such.

I can just ask the company, but I’m sure I’ll get the usual statement as any company would give. Then what? Do I track down all the eligible local companies I can which could be doing work? How ‘local’ do I define ‘local’? And I suppose I would have to know what qualifications are being sought to really understand who’s being left out, if anyone. That’s a lot of work in a week for a single story.

And when there’s all the rest of the stories in the week that need written, and only so many people available to write them, how can it be justified to shift resources into a single, albeit potentially important, story?

I wish I had an answer to all this, but it’ll have to wait. I’ve run out of time for now.

Categories: Uncategorized
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