Working the web into your work flow

It’s a nice virtuous thing that Meranda Watling is proud to work for a newspaper. But that’s not the reason I’m linking to her post. This is:

That story that broke at 4:30? It came in via an e-mail tip. I actually “broke” the news about 4:40 p.m. I had quickly confirmed the gist of it and wrote two paragraphs to post immediately. Because the editors were in the daily budget meeting, I had another reporter read over it, and then I had a copy editor post it asap so I could begin chasing the sources who were leaving their offices at or before 5 p.m. After I reached those sources, I wrote into the online version and updated. When my editor got back he swapped it out and posted it in the No. 1 spot online.

I went to my board meetings armed with notebook and pen — AND a laptop, Internet card and my Blackberry. I continued to report and write during the meetings. On my drive between the two meetings? I made calls on the A1 story.

When I got back to the newsroom around 8:45 p.m., I made a few more calls and banged out the A1 story and then two more about the meetings I’d covered. All before the 10:30 print deadline. I made cop calls, and half-way down the 10-county list we heard a shooting over the scanner. I went there and called in a Web update from the scene.

That is a sampling of what “newspaper” reporters are expected to do today, at least at my newspaper.

Now that’s a fine description of what today’s news reporter needs to do to help keep his or her community completely informed. Too often we hear, “but we don’t have time.”

Well, you only don’t have time if you don’t know how to weave the digital responsibilities in with your traditional duties. Reporting for online is A) more efficient than reporting for print; B) really doesn’t add that much extra time or work.

It can be done. Meranda just proved it.