I gambled a little last week, and it paid off big time.
Because of some weird pre-break scheduling, our 90-minute Journalism block was moved to the end of a half-day Friday. It was the last class before a week off, and we’re at the very front-end of our production cycle, so I knew there wouldn’t be a lot of actual work happening. My editors tossed around a few bonding activities when someone pitched a great idea: let’s do a one-day project that involves everyone on staff.
It was ambitious, and I knew that if they didn’t finish I would either end up staying late or it would be a huge disappointment, but… it worked! At the end of the day (granted, I did stay about 45 minutes after to help the few stragglers trying to get everything organized), the project was published to the site and drew a lot of traffic.
You can view the project here. This was timed to precede the closing of our cafeteria building during winter break. We’re beginning a huge construction project that requires complete demolition of the structure.
Here are my totally subjective pros and cons for anyone considering trying this:
There are about a million different ways to execute this, but here’s our step-by-step of making it happen:
- A few days in advance, brainstorm angles and tasks. Each angle/task is a team. (Note: We found it helpful to have a “Web” team and an “Editing” team to get everything edited and to work on setting up the page with placeholders until content came in toward the end.)
- Take volunteers to lead each team. They recruit team members.
- Team leads meet briefly with their teams to discuss anything that needs to be arranged in advance.
- On the day of, jump in and get going right away. I intervened to help teams divide tasks and use their entire group effectively.
The group reported back that it was a smidge stressful but tons of fun. For me, it was great to see the whole group working together so collaboratively because we tend to do a lot of work in small, section-specific groups. I also loved that the project was so timely and relevant. We’ll definitely be doing this again in the future.