Columns / Discourse / January 29, 2020

Editor’s Notebook: TKS: Into the belly of the beast

We shouldn’t expect you to know how newsrooms work, but we also want to make sure you know how to reach us if you need to!

This is hopefully the start of explaining a bit about how we work, so it’s easier to get involved and to help explain some of the interactions you might have with TKS. I thought I would start with what a week looks like for the staff.

Each issue starts with a meeting we call “budgeting.” It has nothing to do with money (although I have had plenty of money meetings this year).

Rather, it is where we talk through story ideas. We are always planning two issues out, but we also use these Sunday meetings to figure out what stories will be in for that week’s issue and talk through any stories that need to happen before then.

Our big meeting is the Monday writers meeting. It happens at 5:15 p.m. in the Pub Office. If you want to be on the dist list for reminders, just let me know.

At writers meetings we talk over the last issue, bring up any big problems writers are facing and then pitch and assign stories. You don’t have to take a story if you come – you can always come just to give feedback or meet the staff. If you don’t feel ready for a story, you can also shadow one of the editors for a story or two.

Mondays are also when stories from writers are due. This gives the editors time to edit the stories. I am planning a separate column on the editing process, but the long and short of it is that yes, the editors are going to change some of what you wrote, and no, it is not a judgment of your writing abilities.

At the same time, editors are writing their own stories and managing the writers for their sections. Here it gets hard for me to say what their weeks look like. When I was a section editor I normally had one or two stories a week, sometimes with a larger story on the backburner. I would also have briefings from meetings or quick stories to write if anything happened that needed to get in the paper that week.

All of this is in preparation for Wednesday’s “Pub Night.” Sadly, no, it is not all of us going to pubs (it’s more a reason to drink than a chance to drink). On Pub Night we finish editing, design pages, proofread them and then I send the finished pages to the printer.

Pub Night is less about planning and discussion and more about problem solving. Each week we have to figure out how to get everything to fill twelve pages. Then we rewrite headlines for 30 minutes, desperately try to identify people in pictures and obsess over the size of a photo until I finally decide it looks best as it originally was.

Pub Nights probably aren’t that exciting if you aren’t on the paper, but you are always welcome to stop by. We will always welcome company – and distractions. We’re there from 4 p.m. onwards.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns about the paper, please feel free to come to the meetings, email or reach me directly at


Connor Wood, Editor-in-Chief
Connor Wood is a senior with a double major in English Literature and Environmental Studies. He started as a volunteer writer and then staff writer his freshman year and was a news editor his sophomore and junior years. He has also worked as a communications intern for the Aldo Leopold Nature Center and as an intern with Unified News Group, both in the Madison, WI, suburbs.

Tags:  editor's notebook journalism student journalism The Knox Student tks

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