LEADERSHIP: In fall and spring terms, the photo desk is typically led by a photo editor and assistant photo editor while the video desk is led by a video editor and assistant video editor. In summers, this desk typically has a single photo editor and absorbs the video desk. Fall/spring editing duties are divided as editors see fit.
STAFF: In fall and spring terms, the photo desk typically has two senior photographers, two junior photographers and interns as available while the video desk has two videographers. In the summer, this desk typically has one paid position to be used as the editor sees fit.
PLANNING: These desks each should hold one meeting a week to plan the next two to three weeks of coverage beyond breaking news events or day reporting. Senior photographers have higher expectations in terms of hours logged and work produced. Organizationally, you need a master budget/calendar system for upcoming coverage as well as major visual events and opportunities on campus, in Norman and at times in the metro.
COMMUNICATION: Leaders of these desks should regularly monitor key newsmakers’ social media accounts and read competitors like The Norman Transcript, The Oklahoman and others including local TV and SoonerSports. Communication should be a blend of in-person where possible and in Slack for broader transparency and understanding throughout the photo editors, video editors and their respective desks. Often, that manifests in a Slack channel for photo editors and another for the photo desk as well as the same for video. It’s especially important for visual editors to communicate and coordinate with editors of other desks about coverage needs and possibilities as well as the process of securing credentials, which news, sports or culture editors typically handle for any season-long events that require them. Visual editors traditionally handle their own credential requests on single-use instances.
MINDSET: The most successful visual desks are on their toes, actively seeking out news, rather than ones on their heels, waiting for news releases and press conferences. Additionally, editors should keep in mind the varied audiences – on campus, in the city/state and beyond – our work can serve.
DAILY REPORTING: These are commonly called “day reporting” shifts in our newsroom, or “general assignment” in others. It’s a coverage that develops and needs to be fully covered in a single day, or some instances be handled immediately. Assignments like this include breaking news, meetings, speeches, etc.
FULL STORIES AND ENTERPRISE: These are pieces worked on for longer periods – multiple days, if not weeks or more – that add deeper value to our news report. In particular, visual staffers should invest most of their energies in this type of work. Be they news or features, these are longer and more rigorous to produce in terms of sourcing, run time, general complexity, etc. They are must-watches that provide our audience deeper value on our core topics than our competitors often might, and they also are the types of pieces hiring editors want to see in candidates’ portfolios.
BUILDING BLOCKS FOR DESK ORIENTATION: TK.