Sunday, April 5, 2009

How the Houston Chron is restructuring news coverage

The Houston Press blog has a comment on it that purports to be a copy of a memo about how the Houston Chronicle has re-arranged itself after its recent layoffs. A few highlights:

* Story lengths. Reporters and assigning editors will agree on target lengths for every story and include them on the budget. Because we continue to be respectful of our readers’ time, anything longer than 15 inches needs to be discussed with the lead editor for the section.

* Suggested headlines. Reporters need to provide a suggested headline in the Web headline field in DTI. This can serve as a Web headline and be considered when the print headline is written. Reporters should also write a summary in the Web summary field that will appear online. The Web summary is a short recap of the story, typically the lead or nut graph.

* Subject matter experts will focus on their areas of expertise, but everyone on the copy desk will work across multiple sections. An editor, for example, may lay out and edit the Television page inside Star and then work on the Newsmakers page inside A.

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