Let me preface this by saying, this should always be the Wikipedia contingency plan…
One of our reporters tweeted the following:
Thanks to NPR’s Laura Soto-Barra for alerting the newslib community about the passing of Rebekah Azen, who had served as a librarian and consultant for the Santa Fe New Mexican for 15 years.
An obituary for Rebekah can be found here.
Is it November already? I am already feeling left behind by whirls of activity and the holidays are not yet upon us.
And I don’t just mean in my personal life. Professionally, I’m feeling as if the rest of the world is moving on without me while I’m putting out the fire of the day (or fires, on some days) and not making any headway on the pile of archiving on my desk and other tasks on my to-do list.
Are the days moving faster? Am I moving slower?
How do I push my way back out front of the rush? I don’t like to say no to a reasonable request because that just discourages reporters and editors from asking the next time. Plus, as a colleague on our online staff said the other day: no one has free time for anything anymore.
Am I less thorough in my work? Sorry, but this is a definite no.
Do I hand off work to a colleague? As I mentioned earlier, no one else has free time either — and we all have backlogs. I am doing more push back, as in getting a reporter to a certain point and having him or her make the phone calls. Plus, when I’m the only one who knows the best ways to soothe a savage archive, I have no choice but to pull the burr from the tiger’s paw myself. But having unique skills has its own rewards.
Lately, I’ve been trying to embrace the backlog. I can’t change the nature of the work or the daily addition to the pile, so I focus on what I can do at that moment. I climb it, bit by bit. Some days there are lulls and I make headway, and others where I slip down the rocks a bit. But I will still get there eventually.
What are you doing to make headway as you make do with less? Leave your ideas in the comments.
In his blog, Omblog, Washington Post ombudsman Patrick Pexton corrects a previous post where he neglected to mention the work of Post researcher Alice Crites in the debunking of U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s embellished past. Personally, I was impressed that the reporter himself took Pexton to task for the omission.
Pexton then goes on to praise the work of the entire Post research team: “Without them, Post stories, particularly investigative ones, would not reach the quality that they often do.”
Votes for the 2001 election for News Division candidates can be cast using SurveyMonkey. The link to the ballot is URL: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NewsD2011
The slate of candidates is listed below.
Chair Elect: Debra Bade
Debra Bade is currently beginning work as a part-time consultant on product development and user needs for Image Fortress and looking for a full-time job after being part of a reduction in force at the Chicago Tribune in July. She had been at the Tribune for almost 10 years and was the Editor of News Research and Archives. In that role, Debra led research, text and photo archiving efforts and most notably was involved with moving forward plans to digitize the Tribune’s historic photo collection and developing new revenue streams based on the collection’s print and digital assets.
Prior to joining the Tribune, Debra held a number of positions with CNN in Atlanta from 1989 – 2001 including Director of Online Training and Development, Director of News Research, Manager of News Research, and Researcher. During those years her focus was on improving research services, developing end-user research tools and overseeing training for both library and newsroom employees. She also worked as a researcher with the Star Tribune newspaper in Minneapolis, getting her first taste of news research there from 1981-1988.
Debra holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1988 and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She considers her service as a Peace Corps volunteer in a health education program in Gambia, West Africa, to be a big part of her real-world education and something that still influences her in many ways.
She has been a member of the American Library Association, Special Libraries Association, Investigative Reporters and Editors and the Society for American Archivists. Debra was a Snowbird Leadership Institute honoree in 1992 and wrote a chapter on news research published in 1999 in “Information Sources for the Press and Broadcast Media.” She joined SLA and the News Division in 1988 and has been active in a variety of positions. She helped to create a special interest group for broadcast librarians, served on the Education Committee, and as chair of the Nominations Committee. She was Director of Education in 1994-1995, bringing Roger Fidler, Howard Rheingold and Kare Anderson in as notable News Division conference presenters. She was News Division Chair in 2000-2001 (making this an encore of sorts) and Past Chair in 2001-2002. Debra received the Ralph J. Shoemaker Award of Merit Award in 2001 and the Agnes Henebry Roll of Honor Award in 2007. She has been a contributor to News Library News and a presenter at SLA conferences, SLA Illinois Chapter meeting events, and at the Online Information conference in the UK. She also served as a member of the Advisory Board for the School of Information Studies at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville from 2006-2009.
Director – Education/Professional Development: Nina Johnson
Nina has been in news librarianship since 1992; first as a solo librarian at the Columbia Daily Tribune and since 1997 at the Columbia Missourian. The Missourian is the only city newspaper produced by journalism students. The Missouri School of Journalism provides real-world training for journalism students in its various “labs” such as the newspaper, KOMU-TV and KBIA radio. It is now also home to the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. Nina has been a member (non-continuously) of SLA since 1990 and served as board secretary for 2010-2011.
She earned her Master’s degree in Library and Information Science in 1990 at the University of Missouri.
She is interested in possible collaboration with the Reynolds Journalism Institute in developing some non-conference workshops, especially in the area of archiving online news sites and digital preservation.
She finds News Division members an incredibly talented and interesting group and looks forward to continued involvement with the Division.
Treasurer: Catherine Kitchell
Bureau of National Affairs, Washington, DC
Editor, BNA’s Directory of State and Federal Courts, Judges, and Clerks, since 2001
Reference Librarian, December 1990 – Present
Marin Independent Journal, Novato, CA
Head Librarian, August 1989 – August 1990
USA TODAY/Gannett Co., Arlington, VA
1983- July 1989
MLS, University of Maryland, May 1986
BA, Art History, University of Virginia, May 1982
SLA: SLA member since 1991. Managing Editor of News Library News, 1996-1998. Treasurer, Washington Chapter, 1999–2002. Received DC/SLA Board of Directors Award 2001-2002. Treasurer, News Division, 2001-2003, Director of Publications, 2008-2010, Currently Treaurer, News Division, 2010-present.
Director – Publications: Julie Domel
After a year as a business and science librarian at the Houston Public Library, Julie Domel joined the news research staff at the San Antonio Express-News, her hometown paper, in 2000. When not doing research, she serves as the super-user for the NICA photo archive and works on entries for her blog, “From the Vault.” She has a long history of contributing online content to mysa.com, the paper’s website, including a defunct online column and blog. She currently contributes to “The Potato Report,” the Express-News’ blog for TV watchers, and tweets via @askresearcher. Julie won the Express-News‘ 2010 Philip True Journalism Award for Researcher/Copy Editor of the Year.
Julie has served as managing editor of the News Division’s News Library News since 2008, and maintains the division’s LinkedIn group. She is also the treasurer of the Texas Chapter. Julie earned a bachelor’s degree in Finance and an MLS from the University of Texas at Austin. In her spare time, she keeps plants alive in a drought, watches way too much TV and would rather bake than cook.
I overheard an editor and reporter the other day discussing coverage of upcoming events in the reporter’s beat. She had looked through all of her materials and couldn’t find a thing going on: “It’s August. Who would want to get out in this heat?”
This is the month when everything slows to a crawl. We’re used to the heat in South Texas, but it’s been brutal even for us. We’re even running out of ways to describe it; I recently saw the phrase “still very hot” on our weather page –after three days of “very hot.”
However, I don’t think it ever gets truly “slow” for any of us anymore. It just means that perhaps we have a chance to get to all the tasks we had been putting off while the daily workload was heavy. Now, we just have to remember what all those tasks were…
Go through your task list. Or more likely, excavate the pile of stuff on your desk or in your to-do bin. Confront your inner procrastinator by doing the one thing you’ve been putting off the longest. Check your Favorites on your Internet browser and look at some blogs or websites you haven’t visited in a while. See what they are talking about.
Navel-gazing has its benefits. We can become more efficient, troubleshoot problems, find a new resource, analyze our methods and more… if we would take a moment and do it. Of course, if you have the attention span of a gnat, like I do, try not to get too distracted (or click on too many unrelated links).
Since we’re not getting out in the heat, curl up with your circular fan and contemplate! Let the whirring of the blades become your white noise against all the distractions and pressures of your worklife.
Or call up a colleague at another library — one you haven’t talked to in awhile or would like to know better. Have a virtual back-porch-swing chat (some iced sweet tea might help too). Talk about a project or problem that’s been at the back of your mind but which you’ve been too busy to tackle. Let the conversation take you where it takes you. Perhaps you’ll learn a few things or solve some additional problems.