By Ashlie Fanetti
I recently job shadowed Barry Hoff at his office in Bloomer, Wisconsin. Hoff is the managing editor of the Bloomer Advance newspaper. He does a variety of jobs around the office as editor, but also as a general manager including: writing, editing, page layout, photographer, payroll and acting as an overall assistant to his employees when needed. Hoff spends a lot of time behind a desk, which seems a little boring at first observation, but it can also be very interesting as new stories come up. In talking with Hoff, I learned that his job can be chaotic at times, which keeps him on his toes. Fall is a very busy season for him as school is back in full swing and so is high school sports, a very popular topic among his readers. He stressed that it is very important to balance time in his job because in a small newsroom like the one he oversees, a typical day does not exist. Listen below to hear more advice from Hoff on important skills to learn in order to be successful in his field.
The bulk of Hoff’s day is spent finding content, copyediting and working on page layout as he is responsible for the front page, the back page and the sports section of the weekly newspaper. Hoff utilizes the Adobe Creative Suite to produce his assigned pages. He recommended that a person should have at least some prior exposure to or knowledge of the software before starting on the job, especially Adobe InDesign and Photoshop. When he creates his pages, Hoff has the final decision as to what goes where throughout the whole newspaper, which means that he has to make some tough decisions. He pays attention to what readers respond to and tends to put the most popular topics towards the front, which typically means human interest or hard news pieces often end up on the front page.
Hoff didn’t always know he wanted to do this job. He worked his way up to it. After he graduated high school, he took his general education at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and found himself a job in the Barron News-Shield print shop in Barron, Wisconsin. During this time, he also was taking an online business management class through Thomas Edison University located in Trenton, New Jersey. In 2006, Jim Bell, Hoff’s boss in Barron, bought the Bloomer Advance and appointed Hoff to the position of managing editor. Hoff told me that it’s not where he originally planned to be, but that he enjoys his job and finds it to be fulfilling work as he learns new things every day.