Managing a student newsroom can be a difficult task. On the one hand, you want to make sure your publication is as professional as possible but at the same time you are aware that your team are all volunteers who are working around their studies. Often you are a student yourself with your own commitments to honour besides your publication.
First things first, the summer is a great time to organise your newsroom. Once the university year starts there is very little time to do forward planning so get as prepared as you can as soon as you can.
From how your organisation works, to the printer codes and computer logins, it’ll be easier to plan it now before the mad rush that is freshers.
If you don’t already, it might be helpful to write down job descriptions. It saves people fighting over what they’re doing later in the year.
You can also help train your team up by running workshops. Some basic role playing can be useful, for example, getting an editor or senior team to sit in the middle of a large circle made up of the rest of the team, who fire potential problems, or maybe even previous issues from last year.
Create a staff manual. This might sound basic but it can iron out a lot of problems. It is always useful for your team to know that they have a single document they can refer to if they get stuck on anything.
To help members of your team (and yourself) plan their commitments around essays and exams, make sure you let them know of any deadlines well in advance.
Use breaks in the term such as Christmas, Easter or even reading weeks to reflect on the issues/editions that you’ve produced so far in the year. This can help you look at what areas you want to improve on as well as see just how much progress you’ve made.