Rotate Online News Staffers Through A Variety of Weekly Jobs To Keep Them Focused and Fresh

One of the things I’ve struggled with through the years is how to keep my online staff busy day in and day out. Don’t get me wrong, there are always things to do, everyone is just not moving the same direction day in and day out like my newspaper staff is. The web staff has always been a bit more like the wild, wild west with people working on social media, others creating content and some simply keeping the site functioning.

In my attempt to organize the chaos a bit this year, I’ve tried implementing a few things to give the web staffs a bit more guidance and not let days go by where everyone is sitting around wondering what’s actually been accomplished.

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I’m going to share some of the calendars I’ve created to make things a bit more organized. The verdict is still out on what I’ve created and how it’s all going to work, but I thought it would be good to share now in case someone else was looking for something similar.

The calendar I’m sharing today is for my FHNtoday.com web team. Here are some things I took into account when I was creating it:

  • I asked all the students on the FHNtoday staff what they liked doing. This falls in line with my Rule of 3 system that I’ve used for years and my philosophy behind it.
  • I then went ahead and tried to lump their interests into similar jobs and then created the following categories: Edit Content, Write Stories, Track Analytics, Maintain the Site and Publish a Weekly E-Newsletter.
  • I then took the sevenish students who work with FHNtoday.com on a daily basis and  created a four-week rotation where each week a student was in charge of one of the categories. For instance, here are two staffers and what they will be doing during their rotations:
    • Sarah: Week 1 – Write, Week 2 – Copy, Week 3 – Analytics, Week 4 – Site Maintenance
    • Ethan: Week 1 – Analytics, Week 2 – Newsletter, Week 3 – Site Maintenance, Week 4 – Write
  • To give them a little more guidance each day of the week for the different things they will be doing, I also created this day-by-day weekly calendar. Some of the calendar items have different things to do each day of the week, others have more of a general guide/checklist for the week.
  • The system allows students to do something different each week to vary up their responsibilities a bit. I’ve found that having someone do the same thing day after day gets a bit too trite. Giving them a break so they aren’t copy editing stories every day of every week keeps them be more fresh when they are on for the week and helps make their fixing and feedback better.

You can download a copy of what I’m working on with my FHNtoday.com staff here.

On this sheet you will find five different jobs. Here is what each essentially is essentially charged with:

  • COPY: This person will be charged with editing and scheduling stories to post daily as well as giving feedback to writers.
  • WRITE: For one week out of the cycle, some people will be given the week to work on a story for the website.
  • ANALYTICS: For this rotation, staffers will dive into the Google Analytics a bit to track visitor data, share top stories from the past week with the staff and analyze and use the data to adjust coverage moving forward.
  • FRONT: The person on the Front rotation will essentially be charged with making sure the site is functioning properly, the homepage and sidebars and current and content is being rotated through on a daily basis.
  • NEWSLETTER: To share information and promote the site, the team will be creating and emailing out a weekly newsletter to subscribers.

In the coming days/weeks I will be sharing what I’m using with my social media team, the FHNgameday.com sports team and my advertising team which is also in the hour.

Aaron Manfull

Aaron is in his 20th year of advising student media. He is currently the Director of Student Media at Francis Howell North High School in St. Charles, Missouri. He is the Journalism Education Association Digital Media Chair and co-Director of Media Now. He created The Next 26 and is a former Dow Jones News Fund National Journalism Teacher of the Year. He is one of the authors of the textbook "Student Journalism and Media Literacy." You can find him on Twitter and Instragram @manfull and on Snapchat as aaronmanfull. He's a proud father. A transplanted Iowan. And an avid Hawkeye Fan.

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