On Our News

Launching: On Our News

I’m launching this series to share my thoughts on The Times-Delphic’s news coverage each Friday and invite readers and reporters of the TD’s News section to do the same in the comments. Please feel free to share your perspective (or story ideas) to help us improve our coverage. What we do is crucial for keeping the Drake community informed and holding the powers that be on Drake’s campus accountable.

Andrew Kennard, News Editor

Photo by Moriel from FreeImages

Taking steps to improve communication

To improve communication between myself and TD news reporters, I’ve decided to start asking reporters to meet briefly with me on Wednesdays or Thursdays on the weeks when they are working on a story. These conversations will:

  • Start next week!
  • Depend on the story; one meeting might take 5 minutes; another could take an half an hour
  • Be in person or over phone, text or email, depending on the story and the writer’s preference

Similarly, in most cases, I plan to ask writers to either address suggested edits I make on their story or suggest a different approach.

I’m not implementing this in response to any problem we are having, but I think that increasing editor-writer communication in these ways improves our coverage for the reasons I discuss below. The main point is to give reporters a louder voice in The Times-Delphic’s process.

I chose the photo on the right because the TD operates virtually for the most part. Sending out a weekly budget for writers to choose stories from and then editing the story after it’s turned in has its merits but also some disadvantages. While we give reporters the flexibility to write on a variety of subjects, we also miss out on opportunities to collaborate and get to know one another.

This can be a weakness. When an editor asks a writer about their thoughts on a story, the two have much more potential content and mutual understanding to work with for the article. When an editor makes significant corrections to a story without involving the writer, there is a possibility that the editor will misrepresent something because the writer is the person who knows the story best. I believe this is particularly important for our News section, so I have decided to take steps to help us work together more closely. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Communicating with the Drake administration

Many of you may have seen President Martin’s email about the story we ran about cuts to course offerings, summer pay and other areas. I wanted to let all of you know that myself and other editors from The Times-Delphic have since had a constructive meeting with Nate Reagen, Drake’s chief of staff, that has improved communication between the TD and the Drake administration.

Interested in beat writing?

Beat writers are writers who focus on a particular area or topic of reporting, such as state politics, COVID-19 or the environment. Some of you may have noticed that The Times-Delphic has a student senate beat writer this semester. His regular reporting on student government has strengthened our coverage, and I’m interested in taking on more beat writers as we move forward. Beat writers:

  • Are paid the same as other writers
  • Are usually the first person I would go to with a story within their beat
  • Have an opportunity to cultivate relationships with sources that lead to story ideas and better coverage

I think that beat writing is best for experienced writers who have already reported on a variety of different topics. If you’ve written for us for a while and are interested in trying a particular beat, let me know. Here’s an article with some more information on beat writing if you’re unfamiliar with it.

That’s all from me. I can’t believe how many news stories we’ve got planned for this week. Keep up the good work, consider dropping some feedback or a story idea in the comments and happy reporting!