Friday, 2 November 2007

Newsy news: nearly up to date

I can't believe that I am writing this but I am sort of, nearly, almost up to date with my trumpet news editing job. This is so fantastic - it's simply wonderful to be typing those words. This morning I printed out and put in the post a letter relating to the most recent story and that is pretty much all that can be done directly with stories at present.

Nothing, of course, is ever quite that simple so there are one or two caveats which, until they are dealt with, will probably prevent the opening of champagne:

  • I've lost the paperwork on a non-story which I am currently struggling to resolve. This is pretty annoying. I have written them a nice letter but I cannot post it without some detail I need from their letter, and I cannot carry out a promise to pass some music on to Gary for them until I find it all. It has been around for months and for me to mislay it now causes rage of apoplectic proportions.
  • If/when I resolve that one, that really is me up to date with all current story-submission-type entities. This would be jolly good. Sure, there will always be a few lurking around that are semi-current, marked BITC (Ball In Their Court) but that's fine and perfectly healthy. I only have to feel guilty about the ones where the said ball is in my court.
  • However that still leaves two tasks I'd like to see done, or at least studied and some decision taken, before the corks go pop ...
  • ... The first of these is some work tidying up inside the news directory structures on the web. I can't remember if I have told you this before so forgive me if I have, but it's all a bit of a mess, having grown organically rather than really being planned. So some directory names and structures are illogical, the news pseudo-root, which should be almost empty, is badly littered with ancient individual news stories and graphics files, and so on. It would be good - and a gift to my successors - to tidy this all up a bit. Various levels of tidy are possible and there are, of course, issues about the disruption of existing URLs and how the effects of this may be ameliorated. But if at least I sat down and thought it through properly, and maybe moved an ancient story and graphic or two, this would be a lot better than doing nothing.
  • The other thing is to write some decent guidelines for submitting stories. Again, sorry if I have already droned on this topic. But it causes massive waste of time, for both story submitters and the editorial staff, that we don't have this. It wouldn't be that hard to do, and the part on "what it is OK to submit" already more or less exists. It needs that part tidying up, and the practical bit adding - how many words, how to send graphics, how to not drive me insane (refrain from embedding your graphics in Word [gah!!] or using some cute cheapo photo album editor to embed them WITH NASTY COLOURED FRAMES in horrid HTML email messages) and so on. Eminently doable. If I can do something - almost anything - about these guidelines then I will be very happy indeed.

So really it is just those few bullet points that are standing between me and the champagne'n'pies that I crave. If I can just keep my head above water, keep the current momentum going, keep dealing with new stories as they come in, keep at it when BITC changes over to BIMC, make some progress with these last few ideas, and find that d*mned letter then I might just make it through to 11th April 2008 in something like a happy and almost respectable state.

Onwards and upwards!

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