Managing rolling deadlines

In the video above, you’ll see the steps that the staff of El Estoque takes to manage deadlines for its online publication. Here’s a condensed version of the process:

  1. Before class on Monday, head editors send a Google form to all staff, which is used to pitch stories.
  2. In class on Monday, the staff sifts through pitches and section editors keep track of stories for their sections.
  3. Section editors meet with writers, who take stories and projects for the upcoming week or so.
  4. After assignments are out, section editors update the master spreadsheet with stories, writers, an “in edits by” deadline, and a publish deadline.
  5. When a writer has a story ready for edits, she starts it through the process by marking the “peer edit” column green for her story. She also notifies the peer editor of her choice.
  6. After the peer completes the edit, he goes to the spreadsheet and changes the box back to white. In it, he will mark the date he completed the edit and his initials.
  7. After the writer finishes the revision, she then goes on to mark the next column green. This process continues until the story has moved through the peer, section, two copy, and one copy/adviser edit.
  8. After the final editing is complete, the writer publishes the story on the site and marks the story row gray on the spreadsheet.
  9. The process begins again.

Michelle Balmeo

Michelle Balmeo, MJE, is the adviser of The Whirlwind newsmagazine and online news publication at West Albany High School in Albany, Ore. She's done some print stuff, some video stuff, and some web stuff over the past 16 years as a student media adviser.

Michelle Balmeo has 66 posts and counting. See all posts by Michelle Balmeo

2 thoughts on “Managing rolling deadlines

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  • February 2, 2011 at 12:08 am

    Thanks for these great ideas. We are struggling with this right now. I wish I could download your spreadsheets. Can’t quite make out the different headings. Also, I wonder how editors determine the deadlines? Do they set first peer edit deadlines or just the publish date? I would think some events you would want to have online within 24 hours of the event. Is that the case, or do you just spread out the deadlines so that you’re adding content daily? And, lastly, how do you handle grading with this procedure? When deadlines are carried over because writers “aren’t ready” what happens to their grade?

  • February 2, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Hi, Laura. Lots of great questions. I’ll try to address them briefly.

    1. Editors determine deadlines based on the nature of the story and the outlook for the week. Basically, something like a game review would have a deadline the day immediately after the game, but a short feature for the same section would be placed somewhere else in the week to stagger content. This was to address the problem we had in previous years of the site getting flooded with content on Fridays.

    2. They set a “publish date” and an “in edits by” date.

    3. Some deadlines are legitimately extended with permission, and those extensions don’t affect their grades. But when a reporter misses a deadline and a story gets carried over or spiked, it does negatively affect his or her grade. I assess their portfolios and look at the last few weeks of the spreadsheet at the end of each grading period.

    Hope that helps!

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