Wick Communications

Posts Tagged ‘Deadlines’

Deadlines are good for you

In Innovation on 26 Aug 2016 at 8:17 am

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We all have one thing in common: Not enough hours in the day.

You get up before the sun, shower and brush your teeth. You plan dinner, put out the trash, pay a couple bills over a bowl of cereal. Maybe you have kids to rouse and rush to school. You fight traffic. … All this before you land at work for a full day.

And work is filled with dozens of tasks that conspire to keep you from your bliss. If you are a writer, you probably have a story that has been rolling around the back of your mind but just can’t seem to get to it. If you are a manager, you want to spend more time coaching and helping your direct reports succeed. If you are a publisher, you could be shaking hands with advertisers or soliciting testimonials or planning the next magazine if not for all this busy work.

But there just is no time. Right?

This isn’t a guilt trip. You really are as busy you feel. Yet…

When the race is run, you might not be remembered so much for all the little things you do throughout every day as for the true accomplishments that stand like peaks in your life. It might be running a marathon or writing a novel. It might be redesigning the front page of your newspaper. You might feel like there is no time for any of that. The truth is, there is time for nothing else. And you know what? If you had more time, you likely wouldn’t reach any more of those peaks. … Read the rest of this entry »


The Duke, deadlines and you

In Deadlines on 22 May 2014 at 2:56 pm


Do you work better on deadlines? I do, and I suspect that is one of the things that drew me to this business. Instinctively, I think I knew that journalism was a good place for a slightly scattered, hard working, nosy guy who didn’t always study until the all-nighter the day before the big test.

I’m in pretty good company. Take Duke Ellington. He was unquestionably one of America’s greatest composers and one of the most prolific, too. In his memoir, Music is my Mistress, Ellington wrote about his own working style. He said he didn’t long for free time in which to fold note after note into masterpieces like “Black, Brown and Biege.”

“I don’t need time,” he wrote. “What I need is a deadline.”

Deadlines have a way of focusing attention. I know I feel a sense of urgency, a physical thing, that can be either debilitating or exhilarating, depending on my surroundings and my support. Reining in that feeling is a delicate thing. So how do you make things happen on deadline without locking up like a dear in the headlights?

Keep perspective. No one ever actually died from missing a newspaper deadline. At least not that I know of. It’s important to hit deadlines; missing them is not the end of the world. Overplay the importance of a few moments and you run the risk of letting the moment overwhelm you.

Ask for help. No man is an island, particularly on deadline. Marshal your forces. Make sure everyone has an achievable goal. Work together and not at odds with one another. … Read the rest of this entry »

Going to extra innings

In Online media on 3 Nov 2011 at 3:57 pm

As someone who has been there myself, I pity the staff of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. They were all over coverage of Game 6 of the World Series – a crazy 10-inning affair that featured more comebacks than William Shatner’s career – but the late hour limited what they could do in print. At least initially.

Some print subscribers got the issue you see above at left. Imagine your surprise, when you wake up with your rally squirrel hat still plastered to your uncombed head on Friday morning, and you see that on your front stoop. Game 6 was one of the biggest stories in St. Louis in … forever. But loyal print readers got a “sorry folks” at the bottom, noting that the game was just too late.

As you can see, the staff rebounded on the Web. By mid-day Friday, the Post-Dispatch was selling the cover you see at right for $14.95 as a print ready for framing. And the newspaper’s website was simply alive with good coverage – blogs, fans photos, videos, columns.

I guess it’s an object lesson in the limitations of print when hard deadlines limit what can be done in the middle of the night. It can also be seen as an example of what can be done after the paper’s gone to bed. Some lessons from the Post-Dispatch: … Read the rest of this entry »

A smooth election night

In Deadlines on 17 Oct 2008 at 9:21 am

If you’ve been in this business for more than a couple weeks, chances are you have been through a political season or two. And over that time, I’m sure you have developed some schemes for lightening the load on election night, which is traditionally one of the most daunting – and most invigorating – evenings of the year.

While most of us have been through it before, the game has changed a lot in recent years. Elections managers in most places have embraced the Web. Consequently, often it isn’t necessary to have a reporter at the elections office any more. And electronic voting machines and counting mechanisms have sped up the process in some places and slowed it significantly in others. There are some things you can do to ease what can be a long night for everyone from the phone operator to the press staff.

Plan ahead. This seems obvious enough and I’m sure everyone puts some thought into election night ahead of time. If you are planning a side rail with election results, design it a week or more before the big day. Make sure you have mugs of all the candidates… Read the rest of this entry »