This account was written for the MidAtlantic News Research Conference on July 18-19, 1997.
Lee Hemphill The State Newspaper Columbia, SC The State newspaper is located in Columbia, the heart of South Carolina. It is an average sized newspaper with a circulation of 122,000/160,000. We have three full time (two professional) and one part time employee. Dargan Richards is the Librarian, I am the Reference Librarian, Hope Lusignan is the full time Library Assistant, and Dave Roberts is the part-time (25-hours) Library Assistant. The State is staffed from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. M-F, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, and 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday. My hours are normally 9 a.m.-6 p.m. M-F. My average day at The State consists of responding to requests for information from newsroom and other company staffers, and limited response to outside requests; enhancement of published stories for SAVE; processing of periodical and supply invoices; working on the 1998 budget; preparing for internal and external classes; writing my weekly column and other articles; attending newsroom meetings; etc. The following is a typical day for me: 9:00 a.m. Arrived at the library and distributed incoming mail (newspapers, magazines, requests for information, bills, etc.). Checked internal and external e-mail messages; no action required except electronic filing of schedule and new-people notices. Made three phone calls to companies about problem periodical invoices, answered two phone requests for dates that a story and a recipe ran in our paper, and began enhancing the Health section. 10:00 a.m. Attended the daily editorial meeting where first-plans for Wednesday's paper were discussed. We discussed this morning's paper, comparing the play of stories with four other dailies in the South Carolina area; then went around the room with each editor noting possible stories for tomorrow. After the meeting, I returned to the library and completed enhancement of the Health section. 11:15 a.m. Received a request from science reporter for information about the Mir Cosmonauts; searched Lexis-Nexis Requester, retrieved several major newspaper articles and printed them for the reporter. 11:35 a.m. Made phone calls to local sports card dealers in preparation for my weekly card column; called other show promoters for updated card show information. Began writing column. 12:25 p.m. Received a request from staff columnist for confirmation that an individual he is writing about has or has not been in the U.S. Marine Corps. I contacted Marine Corps PAO; will call me back. 12:40 p.m. Lunch -- While out, picked up copy of SC annual report needed for our files from the SC State Library. 1:30 p.m. Collected and bundled "contest papers" for the past two months. These are papers we save in anticipation of journalists who enter SCPA contests, usually in October/November, and require tear sheets. 2:45 p.m. Processed seven newsroom periodical renewals telephonically using the Knight-Ridder Procard. 3:20 p.m. Provided SAVE searching guidance and training to the Leisure Editor; he was having difficulty within our new DeWar View system changing databases to find specific years. 3:45 p.m. Received a request from a reporter for information about the local utility company (SCE&G) history. From our database I found and printed four good articles, and located an SCE&G report and history in our files, all of which I gave the reporter. 4:30 p.m. Worked on the Internet for possible new resources to be included in our developing Electronic Reference Shelf. Good sites will also be incorporated into my next Internet class to be presented to all interested company employees next fall. Charlie Paschal, our resident Internet writer, and I present quarterly Internet classes for selected company groups. Appropriate sites are also identified and bookmarked for each newsroom circle. 5:40 p.m. Received a request from our religion writer to find anything written by major newspapers about the reactions to our flying the Confederate flag by church groups. I searched Lexis-Nexis and found three interesting articles, which I printed a gave to reporter. 6:05 p.m. Weeded and filed movie and other entertainment photos from press kits. 6:50 p.m. Cleared area and departed for the day.
A Day in the Life
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Last Updated: 09/16/02
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