Looking after Editorial processes and people – role & responsibilities

The person who is responsible for our Editorial processes and people is someone with a keen eye for detail, likes everything to be ship-shape and organised, and is always proactive. This is a key role!

They’re responsible for a number of areas, but all involve making sure our internal processes are running smoothly, and that all the people within MyFrenchLife™ are accounted for, and up-to-date.

Although you may not be labelling or drafting emails, you will need to be in our main inbox every day. This is where all our important information will arrive, be it submissions, team member information or other important updates. Check it at least twice a day: morning and late afternoon.

So, what does this role involve?

1. Coordinating our editorial schedule

You’ll be making sure all the articles in our Editorial Schedule are accurate, up-to-date and organised. First of all, you’ll need to become acquainted with our editorial schedule. Click here to have a look at it (if you can’t access, please ask Hannah to invite you!) and click here to read some guidelines and instructions on how it works.

Now that we’ve taken a look, let’s go through what you’ll need to be looking for each day you work.

a. Adding new submissions

The team members in charge of Communications will alert you each day if there are new submissions in the #submissions channel on Slack. They will have saved these to the ‘Submissions’ folder in Dropbox, so now it’s your responsibility to add them as new cards in the Editorial Schedule.

Our guide to the Editorial Schedule explains what needs to be included on the card (See step #1). Many of these details will be transferred from the Writer content planning board: pitches are transferred to an individual writer’s content plan, and contain important information like keywords, links, and any feedback from us. The editors who work on this article will need to be aware of these things to be sure the writer has adhered to our feedback, and included keywords and links correctly. So, it’s your job to ensure that all the necessary information is transferred from this card to the new card in the Editorial Schedule. You are to also ensure that there is nothing missing.

NB: If an article is time-sensitive, put a note at the front of the card’s title: TIME SENSITIVE [plus preferred publish date].

b. Allocating articles to editors

Take a look at steps 2 and 3 in our guide to the Editorial Schedule for more on how allocating works. As we explain there, you’ll need to check the Writer content planning board or Active team member spreadsheet to figure out which editor to allocate to. You’ll then add this person as a member on the card, ping them in #editingteam in Slack, and provide the link to the Trello card.

NB: Only certain team members are sub-editors, formatters and editors. Some interns may also format their own work once it has been sub-edited. This should all be recorded on team members spreadsheets and relevant Trello boards, and kept up to date.

c. Ensuring work is completed on time

A very important part of your role is to be constantly checking progress of articles in the Editorial Schedule. Each day you’re working, review each list carefully and consider how long individual cards have been sitting there.

  • If you notice that an editor doesn’t respond to their allocation with 24hours, it’s best to send them another message (a private DM asking them to check #editingteam is fine) or an email.
  • If they haven’t completed it within 48 hours and have sent no message to say they’ll be delayed, it is generally best to re-allocate. Choose another editor who you know will be able to complete the article quickly, and send a message to the former editor to let them know it’s been re-allocated.
  • Also pay particular attention to time sensitive articles: you will have already put a special note in the card title as a reminder, but it’s your responsibility to ensure these move through the process in a very timely manner.

2. Updating team members

You will be the owner of this information – we need to be able to entirely rely on you.

This part of the role is responsible for keeping tabs on who our people are, and what they’re working on. You’ll be charged with making sure a number of Trello boards and spreadsheets are completely up-to-date. This will happen on an ongoing basis, but you should also do a regular check each week to be sure they’re updated and tidy.

There are two important things to remember here…

1. Only touch things once: The person this will help most is you. It will make all aspects of your role run smoother. So, we advise that you only touch things once. Update a new writer’s details as soon as they arrive – don’t build up a list and do it all later. Proactive and constant updating of spreadsheets and Trello boards is much easier than leaving it for a week and having to spend an hour searching for information.

2. Check inbox carefully daily: You will need to check the inbox every day you work, as the communications team will be labelling emails containing new team member details with your name. This is how you will know they need updating.

a. Active team member spreadsheets

The main place we store all team member information is our ‘Active team member’ spreadsheet. You’ll find this in Dropbox > Administration > HR > ALL team members – resources. Pick the most recent spreadsheet.

Please look over this spreadsheet at least once a week in detail, to be sure everything is reflected accurately. You will also be proactively updating this as new information appears throughout the week. That could include any of the following situations:

  • A team member changes the days they work or availability, or is taking a few weeks off.
  • We have a new team member (writer, editor or intern) – you’ll need to fill in each box carefully, search for information in the inbox (tip: contact details and background will be on their CV), and also make sure we have their social media details.
  • As we walk a new team member through the set-up process more information will need to be added (like their username), so you’ll be constantly updating their details as they arrive. (The team member responsible for Communications will alert you to these updates by labelling emails with your name.)
  • A team member stops working with us
    • If this person was an editor, then we’d also need to update the allocations column, and pick a new editor for the writers they were previously allocated to.

b. Writer content planning board

The details above will also be transferred to the Writer content planning board, where we store all information about writers and their content plans.

As you’ll see in this board, the first card on each list contains details about the writer, while the cards below pertain to their content plan. As a new pitch is finalised, you’ll transfer this to the writer’s content list and give it a due date (the writer’s regular submission date).

  • Look for authors who haven’t submitted in a while, and have missed their deadline. Once a deadline has gone past a week, you will draft them an email and alert Hannah that it’s ready to be sent.
  • Don’t forget to also update details on which editor is allocated to which writer, when needed.
  • Check this board at least once a week, but update it regularly and whenever needed.

c. Editing team board

This board records both the details of our editing team, and their training progress. You are responsible for ensuring both are up-to-date.

Hannah will try to update training progress as often as possible, and also add relevant feedback to each card. Please give them a gentle reminder if this isn’t happening, or if you notice an editor’s training progress has stalled. It may be that we need to restart or refocus their training, and a reminder from you will be very valuable to ensure this happens.

3. Other things to check and update regularly:

  • The Submissions folder in Dropbox – this can get very full, and take up space on your Dropbox account. Check it regularly for folders that can be deleted (if the article is fully edited and/or published).
  • #contentideas – go through this channel at least once a week, and add any new ideas to the Content Ideas board in Trello.
  • #prospectpartners – go through this channel at least once a week, and add any new ideas to the Prospective Partners board in Trello. (Follow the format of other cards).

About the Contributor

Hannah Duke

“I’m a Melbourne-based journalist, editor, photographer, and blogger dreaming of la vie européenne. I love all things French except for the pigeons: film, food, literature, fashion, and I indulge in this passion as often as possible! Find me on Twitter, or Google+.”

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