By: Jim Pumarlo
From: Inland Press Association & Foundation

5104b7cc5e086.imageTo meeting reader needs, editors and reporters have always needed to multitask, but the challenges are ratcheted up in today’s digital newsroom. Everyone is expected to be adept across the spectrum of news gathering— writing breaking news for the web and a more complete story for the print edition, taking and posting photo or video on the web, tweeting about a sports event or city council meeting, updating your Facebook page.

I characterize it as organized chaos.

Digital tools can be a great assist in collecting and distributing the news. They should not, however, replace the tried and-true methods for solid reporting. Best practices remain at the foundation of all effective coverage, no matter the platform. It boils down to setting priorities, then being organized to deliver.

Here are a handful of elements—and accompanying digital tools—for ensuring your news product remains relevant to your readers and advertisers.

Keep a calendar

Identifying news benchmarks for the next several weeks, even for the next year, helps you strengthen content and target opportunities to generate advertising and promote circulation. Digital tools allow you to share real-time calendars with news and ad staffs. Google Apps has a great calendar and other integrated services like email and chat for keeping up with what’s going on. Share Outlook calendars, too, so editors know the availability of reporters when fielding story requests and scheduling assignments.

Likewise, meet early with individuals in charge of the events to discuss new approaches for coverage. Calendars should be routinely reviewed and communicated to readers. Tools like Basecamp, Mavenlink and a host of other project management tools can help schedule tasks as well as assign them and follow up. Designating one place to check all your tasks keeps everyone on the same page.

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