John White: Lifting the lid on our sausage-making machine

This one is from the “I Bet You Didn’t Know” file…

This one is from the “I Bet You Didn’t Know” file…

As the regional editor for West Kootenay, I manage six different papers and their websites for Black Press. On top of Castlegar, I manage the Arrow Lakes News, Rossland News, Grand Forks Gazette (GFG), Boundary Creek Times (BCT) and West Kootenay Advertiser (WKA). That I’ve already shared.

I’m extremely hands-on with Castlegar, Rossland, Arrow Lakes and the Advertiser. Kate Saylors covers Grand Forks and Greenwood (BCT) and she is fairly self-sufficient so my time spent on GFG and BCT are minimal.

This means my time each week is divided among those publications, their websites and social media channels. I try to give time proportional to audience size, so Castlegar and WKA are major focuses.

Mondays are spent editing stories for WKA, Grand Forks and Arrow Lakes News, and booking the stories for WKA.

Tuesdays are spent proofing pages for WKA and Arrow Lakes and editing stories for Rossland and Castlegar. These are typically very long days.

Wednesdays are print production days where I’m proofing all pages for Castlegar and Rossland. I also schedule all of our stories to publish to the web for Thursday mornings at 7:30.

Thursdays are spent cleaning up the websites, ranking stories and scheduling all content to be posted to our Facebook and Twitter channels.

Fridays are generally for administrative and HR work and column draft writing.

I also spend several hours a day on our social media channels, engaging with readers, sharing content, monitoring analytics, fishing for story ideas and tips and staying on top of world news.

Some weeks I also cover news or sporting events and write about those, and shoot photos as well. We’ll also be live-streaming council meetings and other major public events going forward, so watch for those in the future. Many readers have requested this feature so we are thrilled to start broadcasting from key meetings and events.

It’s a lot of spinning plates, and often I’m challenged to strike the right balance.

You might also be surprised to know that we have one full-time reporter covering Castlegar. Betsy Kline is part-time and Chelsea Novak splits her time between Castlegar and Rossland. So we do not have “three reporters” as some have suggested.

I’m always assessing covering goals against resources and it is a fluid target. The longer I work as the regional editor here the better my triage skills for ranking story ideas and events, but there’s always room for improvement.

One of the reasons I’m sharing these details is to improve transparency, and another is to spur discussion.

Keep the feedback coming, and be sure to join our Readers Facebook Group.


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