By Dylan Genrich
For my Job shadow I wanted to shadow someone in the journalism business, ideally a reporter or editor. I was very hopeful when I reached out to Eau Claire’s newspaper, Leader Telegram, asking whether it would be possible to job shadow someone from their office. To my delight I got a response from reporter Lauren French, Leader Telegram’s Education Reporter. She agreed to let me job shadow her one morning and I got the opportunity to see some of her roles in the office.
First she showed me how she managed the Facebook account for Leader Telegram. She did this by selecting stories that were written and posting them to Facebook on a timer. French explained that there were certain times during the day when social media traffic on Leader Telegram’s social media accounts spiked, usually in the mornings and late in the afternoon. By setting the stories to be published on a timer, she made sure that there was a steady stream of news coverage throughout the day.
Afterwards, I got to observe French putting together the senior page for the upcoming paper, which posed some unique challenges. One was finding news stories to put in the paper that related to the seniors. French said that given enough time, she would usually go and write a new story for the paper, but sadly, she didn’t have the time that week to seek one out. She then had to turn to a news wire for stories. She explained that a news wire was an aggregate of news stories from many different news publications.
Using the news wire, French could find stories by other papers for use at the Leader Telegram, within certain limitations.
Then French provided some tips for laying out the paper, such as smaller stories that used up less columns being at the top of the page, and centered to give the paper a balanced look. She also explained the importance of sub-headings for the particularly long stories, and how they helped break up a news story into smaller, more digestible chunks. Finally she kerned the lines of the story until the entire story fit into the allotted space, and the mock-up for the page was done.
I think I learned a lot during this job shadow about the importance of social media in the news, and how journalists have many tricks up their sleeves for designing page layouts. Seeing the process in action was invaluable to me, and I look forward to utilizing some of the tricks I learned in the future.
Interview with Lauren French: https://soundcloud.com/user-288584833/lauren-french-interview