The Digital Age has improved the efficiency and work of a Journal Star editor
It is hard for a young person to decide, or even take a guess at, what they want to be when they grow up. However, some people are destined to a particular career and discover this very early on in their life.
Julie Koch, a Lincoln Journal Star sports copy editor, was well on her way to the profession of sports journalism since the sixth grade, when she began by collecting every Lincoln Journal Star sports section.
Koch would follow her dreams and land a job at the Journal Star as a copy editor, where she has now worked at for over 30 years.
As a copy editor Koch is responsible for selecting stories to run in the morning. She comes in to work around 4:00 p.m. and stays until the sports page is finished and she then sends it across the street to the Journal Star’s printing press.
Koch sits at her desk and sifts through the news wire on her computer to find stories that are best suited to go into the paper the next day. Koch is given a list events and stories that reporters are covering and bases her decisions of off local impact and of off national magnitude.
“We use a content management system for our stories,” Koch said during our interview. “It’s a great system.”
A content management system organizes many aspects of a papers stories to their online files of pages. At the Lincoln Journal Star, editors can view AP and local papers stories from around the United States on a server and papers such as the Journal Star, pick them up and run them.
Having access to many local newspapers around the nation is beneficial to getting news that is comprehensive.
“We aren’t stuck having to run with the AP,” Koch said. “Like in Boston, if it’s the Pats, they’re closer to New England than us, they usually have a better lead.”
Koch is also in-charge of making stories fit on the front page of the sports section. She still likes to use paper and pen to lay out what goes where, but eventually has to add it into a file online to send to the design section.
Koch said that the advances in digital journalism have greatly improved the efficiency of journalism when it comes to time it takes to set up a story and put it in a design.
“I used to have to look through our photos here to get them for a story,” Koch said. “Now they’re attached to the stories online.”
The improvement of how an editor is able select stories and edit designs, has been beneficial to the work Koch has put in. However, the faster things move, the faster she needs the reporters at the Journal Star to get their stories in.
“A deadline is a deadline,” Koch said. While this has been a motto for papers for some time, it is more important with the faster paced online presence of papers. Koch wants young reporters to understand that reporters need to get their stories done fast because “editors need the time to edit” so they aren’t forced to cut corners to meet a deadline.
Koch believes that the added pressure of getting a story in fast has changed the way she looks at editing. She said that the getting the news to the public by the deadline is becoming more important and has found herself saying, “screw it, I need to let it go,” more often when editing reporters’ stories.
The web has as allowed for mistakes to be corrected after they have been made. During the major print era, papers had to focus on harsh editing, because once it is out in public, it couldn’t be changed. However, editors can go into a paper’s website and send in a correction to avoid any comments from the grammar sticklers in the public.
The digital age has been a benefit to the journalism community and made life easier for editors, according to Koch. She has been a part of the transition from little technology, to the age of journalism that is done primarily online. Digital journalism is gaining a lot of traction in the public’s eyes and is damaging other news sources such as print.
There are many articles online that claim print is dead. However, Koch believe that print journalism has its place in the world, covering the things the national media ignores.
“Newspapers are not dying if you cover local,” Koch said.