Detailed project management is my forte. I have had many successful projects involving numerous individuals and departments.
I believe that a clear calendar of deadlines and specific expectations at the start of a project helps the process goes smoothly. Clear expectations allow me, as the manager, to touch base throughout the process to make sure all is on track.
Late in 2008, the newsroom planned a special section to commemorate the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States on Jan. 20, 2009.
Reporters and editors from throughout the newsroom would be involved and much of the work would be scheduled over the winter holidays, complicating assignments.
Attached is a memo that I generated on December 1 breaking down internal deadlines and responsibilities for both print and online elements for this project.
From: “Sandra Kleinsasser” <firstname.lastname@example.org>Date: December 1, 2008 1:33:14 PM CSTSubject: Proposed Inaugural backout plan
I converted our Sunday project deadlines to accommodate a January 20 publication. Since this is a Special Section, it may require a separate/early press run, so I made allowances for that and tried to work around the holidays.
note: all of these time markers are ‘deadlines’ — the latest date to accomplish each task. ideally, we’ll beat many of these deadlines to help ensure we make the ones that follow.
Dec. 9 or earlier
— before reporting begins in earnest, reporter and assigning editor discuss their preliminary budget with photo editor, graphics editor, online editor, page designer, copy editor and weekend editor
— based on those discussions, reporter and assigning editor revise budget and submit requests for budgeted graphics, photos, videos and interactive elements. graphics and interactive requests include source material.
— Determine production issues: Tab or broadsheet, # pages, type of paper, etc
Dec. 16, 5 weeks out
– reporter and assigning editor meet again with photo editor, graphics editor, online editor, page designer and weekend editor to finalize budget
– check that requests have been submitted for all budgeted graphics, photos, videos and interactive elements
– assigning editor emails backout schedule to all of the above, plus news editorDec 23, Tuesday– reporter has filed a draft of all copy.– early drafts of large graphics (quarter page or more) have been reviewed by reporter and assigning editor.– submit space requestDec. 30, Tuesday– reporter has filed a second draft of all copy. besides the assigning editor, this gets a look from one other senior editor (department head, weekend editor, an ame, etc).– drafts of all graphics have been reviewed by reporter, assigning editor and one other senior editor.– all budgeted photos filed and edited– page designer has reviewed photos and graphics– photo editor, designer and weekend editor discuss what additional photos might be needed and time frame for producing themJan 6, Tuesday– early version of interactive elements reviewed by reporter, assigning editor and one other senior editor– reporter has filed final draft for copy editing– interactive elements ready for copy editor– elements to marketing for big promotion if that is desired– video filed and edited– last straggler photos have been shot– graphics complete except for final proofing and polishing– if package needs legal review, send to lawyerJan. 7, Wednesday– Designer shows rough draft of design concept to design AME– Order sigs, labels, other elements as needed– Begin copy editing, suggesting display type, writing captions for photo galleriesJan. 13, Tuesday, 7 days out– Begin teasing ahead to sectionJan 9-13 (Fri-Tue)–Design all days of package.–Write display type and captions for print.–Write online captions and other online elementJan. 12, Monday– send statcom production desk an updated budget with status of all elementsJan. 13, Tue— Last read packageJan. 14, Wed noon– Proofs available to writer, editors, photo editors, etc– final interactives ready to go liveJan. 15, Thu noon– Proofs back to designer/copy editor for final tweaks.Jan. 16. Friday noon– Package, including interactives ready to publish online or as determined.– one last set proofs for comparison if needed. To be read by copy editor or other fresh set of eyes who has not been involved previously. Pages released for possible press run Saturday, Sunday or Monday.Jan. 20, Tuesday – Publication date