Prioritize Your Story List

via businessweek.com

via businessweek.com

I know I’ve said to plan ahead, but how do you prioritize when you should be writing and pitching those stories? It’s a tough choice sometimes. You have to think about it with a special eye.

My life runs off lists. I have a specific notebook that never leaves my bag that tells me what stories I have to write and which ones I am still working on. I don’t have any tricks for this process. It’s common sense.

Some stories are just more timely than others. That has to be your first decision. What can you hold versus what had to run tomorrow? And sometimes that decision is harder to make because you are really gung-ho about a certain story, but it’s not that timely. Timeliness takes precedence over all. It’s frustrating at times. But, if you really want it in the paper, do it on your own time. I’ve done that a bunch of times so I get things in a bit faster than they normally would.

Depending on how many stories you are working on, your list will change daily. Stories will get pushed back and replaced each morning and as the news happens throughout the day. You have to be prepared for that. I’m not saying you should number your stories from the highest to lowest priority, but, in the back of your mind, you should be thinking about it. It’ll save you time and stress.

It’s good to have a few backup stories as well. When you pitch your stories to your editor, you should already be thinking about what you are going to write for the rest of the week. It’s crucial because you don’t want to run out of stories and you need to be prepared.

If you have a feature coming up, that should also be in the back of your mind. It throws off your regular news story flow and could set you back a day or so in the stories that you want/need to get in the paper. This is all a balancing act that you need to be aware of.

Even now, I get frustrated. I have about 10 stories to write and not enough days in the week to get them all in the paper when I want them to run. It’s something I have yet to master, but the tips in this piece help me out on a daily basis. It’s a process that doesn’t get any easier over time, either.

I strive to get as much information about my towns into the papers as possible, but sometimes you get bogged down with town for a period of time. You deal with it and adjust as time goes on. If you are the only person covering your towns you make the best of it and you get back into the swing of things.

Again, it’s all a balancing act.

Jonathan

Advertisements

One Response to Prioritize Your Story List

  1. Pingback: Plan for Holidays | Just Starting Out

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: