The View From Here

Normally by this point in the semester I’d have a better idea of what our situation is regarding production nights – whether they will be long, dreary nights filled with despair, stress, and hatred, or if they will be short, productive hours where everyone is on task, focused, and does good work.

Right now it’s up in the air. But I can say that I’ve got a healthy amount of faith in this staff at this point. At the beginning of the semester, they thoroughly impressed me by managing to get fresh new content up three or four days out of the week, and without tapping themselves out for the print edition.

When the print edition did roll around, we had enough written on the board, and enough content online, that it didn’t seem like we’d have any trouble filling out our space.

Then, of course, things changed. In what was the biggest news event on campus since I’ve been a student here, there was a shooting at our very own Skyline College. Thankfully nobody was seriously hurt, but it still threw everything happening that day into chaos.

It also happened to fall on the day of our first production night, which was both fortunate and unfortunate for us.

We were fortunate in that there were many more of us in the newsroom when the shooting occurred than there may have been otherwise, and that contributed to our being able to cover the events in a more compete fashion.

It was unfortunate because it threw our first production night by the wayside, and so I still have no conception of how we’re going to be able to handle our deadlines.

Still, the events of that day lent me a huge amount of confidence in the staff. It was the best application of the phrase “trial by fire” (or maybe “learn by doing”) I’ve ever seen.

Many of our staff members were brand new to being on staff, and some were even brand new to journalism. But when things got chaotic, I found that I was able to rely on then for tasks that even some veteran staff members I’ve known might have folded on.

In the newsroom a few days ago, we covered the goals we wanted to set for ourselves as a staff and as a production. One of the things we established was that we wanted to learn to be able to depend on each other and work together better as a team.

In many ways, I think the shooting on campus, a terrible incident though it was, sent us a long way towards that goal. It’s one thing to see a writer come through on writing you a movie review over the weekend, and another entirely to see them take initiative, grab a camera and recorder, and run out the door during a breaking news event.

That goes a lot farther than any task I could have set for any one of the staff members, and it goes a long way towards showing that when they are really needed, I’ll be able to depend on them without having to persuade or bargain or beg.

So while the issue of how we’ll do under deadline is still up in the air, I’ve got a lot of faith that this staff could be the one to finally pull it off and consistently be done with the paper and out of the newsroom before that looming deadline of 10 pm.

It’s a lofty goal, but I’m feeling more and more like it’s an achievable one. I guess we’ll find out.