This account was written for the MidAtlantic News Research Conference on July 18-19, 1997.
A Day in the Life Teresa Leonard The News & Observer News Research Department Monday July 14, 1997 Monday is typically a day of meetings, and this Monday is even more heavily scheduled than most. This afternoon we were scheduled to meet with Cascade representatives about their Mediasphere archiving system. We had received lots of documentation from them and from other Cascade sites, all of which had gone into my "To Read When I Get Time" pile. Now I was down to the wire. I arrived a little after 9 am. My schedule varies through the week and through the year, but I'm tending to start a little later on these summer mornings. The exception is Wednesday when I arrive between 6:30 and 7 am to take advantage of that quiet time and leave mid-afternoon. I always start out by checking email and phone messages and get my calendar set for the day. After that, I started in on preparing for this afternoon's meeting. I had done some reading over the weekend, but there was still plenty more to digest before 3 pm. Folks stop by my office off and on through the morning. I take out some time to check over and sign time cards. At 10:30 I attend the daily news meeting. Chris Hardesty, our research manager, always attends this meeting, but I try to go when I can to keep up on what's going on. I especially try to go on Mondays because there will often be administrative-type discussions in addition to the usual news budget update and critique of the day's paper. Also, Monday is the day I'm best prepared to contribute to and learn from the critique because I've spent some time with the papers over the weekend. Too often during the week, I don't get a chance to really read the paper until that night. In fact, I often note stories that look interesting while they're hanging on the conference room wall during this meeting. Still trying to learn all about data funnels and natural language processing, I continue going through the Cascade material during lunch. I seem to go in cycles of working through lunch or going out. Often, it seems the only time you have time to meet with someone and have their full attention is over lunch. At 1:30, we have a mini-meeting of NRD managers in preparation for the newsroom managers' meeting. Colline Roberts (archive manager), Sperry Krueger (resource manager) and Denise Jones (IQ manager) and I meet in my office. Chris is out today. This is really just a "touch base" meeting so that we have a chance to come together and let each other know what we're working on. We spend most of the time today talking about preparing for the upcoming MidAtlantic News Research Conference. At 2 pm, we head downstairs for the newsroom managers meeting. Sperry suggests using an online forum for some of the diversity discussions we're having, and I announce an upcoming newsroom staff meeting where News Research services and resources will be highlighted. At 3 pm, I attend the Cascade meeting, along with our operations manager, programming director, newsroom systems manager, archives manager (Colline), photo archive manager (Peggy Simmons), and a photo editor. The meeting runs until 6 pm. In between meetings, I try to work on various ongoing projects. At one point during the day, I checked the task bar on my Windows 95 screen and saw that the following operations were going on: 1. Zmail, our electronic mail reader. I start this up first thing in the morning and leave it running all day. 2. Netscape. Also runs all day. I refer to it for quick reference throughout the day, as well as checking out sites I learn about from email or other sources. 3. Telnet. I'm connected to sunsite, making updates on the conference web pages. 4. Foxpro. I'm working on a database of N&O employees with their email addresses, work and home telephone numbers, and departments. This will become a searchable database on our NeRD pages (company intranet). 5. Ontime. This is my calendar software. I use it to keep up with appointments and the never-ending todo list. 6. Netscape again. This screen holds the source code of a page I'm stealing from for the conference pages. 7. Excel. I'm updating a spreadsheet of revenue from IQ, our fee-based research service. 8. Access. I'm also updating the timecard database. 9. Access again. This is running an application I wrote to keep up with invoices that come through and are sent to our business office. I also let email interrupt me throughout the day. I'm a sucker for mail of any kind, so I just have to open up email messages as soon as they arrive. Today I was receiving lots of updates on the conference, including "Day in the Life" pages that needed to be added to the web site. There were lots of things I didn't get to, like preparing for a foxpro class I'm teaching next week or calling the department heads I'm working with to update a web-searchable staff database, or working on the chapters of the new ethics policy that I'm supposed to write. Those projects will just carry over onto tomorrow's calendar.
A Day in the Life
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Last Updated: 09/16/02
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