Staffing concerns with a print & online publication

One of the publications I advise is also a “two-for-one” class — print and online.

I do not have “online-only” writers — everyone is expected to produce content both for the print version and also produce separate original content for the online site. My goal is that the staffers will leave my program seeing themselves as multiplatform journalists who are equally comfortable in creating longform print pieces, short-deadline online pieces, broadcast “action clips and broadcast “feature pieces” and think of all of these as living both separately and converged through the site.

All print pieces go up on the website, for example. But every week, each writer should be creating additional content for the website, as well. I like to see new content on the site every day, if possible.

Facebook and Twitter links promote new content when it happens.

Photographers shoot for both print and online.

We use our beats and on-campus news as part of our guide/calendar about “when” to post, along with an effort (though not an OFFICIAL requirement) to upload an editor-checked piece with minimum one photo (and preferably short video, too) within 24 hours of the event we cover.

Additionally, we have at least one “regular” staff columnist every year who is responsible for creating both print and online columns. I have that student choose an “upload day” when his/her column will regularly appear.

That helps build readership — last year, I had a great columnist who chose Sunday nights for uploads. She made that decision because Facebook traffic is heavy then, so when she posted the Facebook link to the story, it drove a major uptick in readers over to her columns.

This fall, we are working on establishing video guidelines for the website, too (this is newer territory for the staff). We want to post at least one new “video feature” standalone piece every week on the front page (not hitting that yet, but it’s a vision), as well as separate short video pieces for sports stories. The video content is currently mostly light segments or feature packages on a player/team/technique.

THAT person (the video editor) is separate from the print edition — although during print production, she jumps over and handles page designing.

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