Newsroom Roles

EDITORIAL BOARD

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: The Editor-in-Chief is in charge of all news content for the College Heights Herald and the WKUHerald digital platforms. The editor is the chief spokesperson for the news organization, primary representative in the campus community, addresses complaints and deals with all outside agencies and individuals when they interact with the news department. The editor-in-chief is selected by the WKU Student Publications Committee after an application and interview process.

Among the editor-in-chief’s responsibilities:

  • Selects section editors and makes final decisions concerning personnel matters dealing with the news department, including hiring and firing.
  • Conducts regular staff and chairs Editorial Board meetings.
  • Determines payroll within a budget set by the Director of Student Publications and the adviser to the College Heights Herald.
  • Works with the advertising manager to determine page count and layout of the print edition.
  • In consultation with the editorial board, decides news layout and has final say on any aspect of news content or design.
  • Oversees production of the print and digital editions, assists in completion of any aspect of editorial production that requires attention, does “final reads” on print-edition pages and ensures delivery to the printer by deadline.
  • Leads all inquiry boards investigating allegations of misconduct on staff.
  • Serves as a non-voting member of the WKU Student Publications Committee.
  • Works closely with section editors to help each of them perform their jobs to the best of their abilities.

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER: The social media manager will utilize social media to give our content a broader reach and establish new readers. They will be aware of social media trends and keep our platforms up to date for our audience. Additionally, the social media manager will be aware of our social media’s peak times and when to best publish stories. They will social digital stories as well as stories from the print edition.

NEWSLETTER EDITOR: The newsletter editor is responsible for building our daily newsletters. They will generate content ideas for digital-only/newsletter-only stories. They will work with other editors and ad staff on how to make our newsletter more appealing to its audience.

COPY DESK CHIEF: The copy desk chief will lead a team of copy editors for both the print and digital products. The copy desk chief themself will do second reads on every story before it is put on the page of our print product. They will also assist with proofing pages before it is sent off. The copy desk will be open to learning new digital skills, including working with the digital director on learning to make online assets have more digital value.

CONTENT EDITORS: Two content editors will take on the traditional roles of print and digital news editors. They will assign breaking news and feature news stories, coach reporters on their writing and structure of their stories, and post stories to our website in a timely manner. Both editors are expected  to check in with each story every 2-4 days, depending on deadlines. Editors must directly view the work of reporters during these check-ins. Editors should also be proactive in encouraging reporters to reach out to sources in a timely manner (i.e. sitting with reporters as they write emails within 48 hours of assignment).

Both will fill the traditional roles of News editor  and Features editor, covering both day-to-day news content and student life coverage. They may alternate focus or favor one category over the other over time, but both will generate ideas and advice on both content areas. These editors may delegate responsibilities between themselves as necessary and are encouraged to go outside the confines of their News/Features concentrations in both editing and story development.

VISUAL EDITORS: Two visual editors will delegate and coordinate photographers to story assignments. Both will lead photo meetings and coach photographers on how to capture a good photo story, as well as how their individual work can improve. Both editors will be expected to take photos if the situation calls for it. As with content editors, the visual team will be divided between two concentrations: Digital and Print. 

The Digital editor will be responsible for loading photos onto Sno. They will also work with designers and illustrators on visual (non-photo) components of our site, including illustrations, graphs, graphics and videos. They will work with our social media manager on socialling out our photographer’s work.

The Print editor will assist our design editor on photo placement in the print product. They will be responsible for assigning photo stories for the photo pages of the print product, and must have a specific cover photo at least two weeks ahead of production. On production days, they will choose and prep photos for our print product. They will be expected to assist the Digital editor in their responsibilities to ensure a reasonable workload for both positions. The Print editor will be a senior staffer and is expected to provide guidance and instruction to the Digital editor as necessary (i.e. sit with them while editing photos). 

SPORTS EDITOR: The sports editor will be responsible for delegating beats and making sure each game that takes place is covered in a quick and effective way for digital. They will also assign reporters to breaking news situations involving WKU athletics (new players signed, players arrested, changes to the way we watch games, etc.) The sports editor will also be creative with story ideas for our print edition. Gamers will have no place in the print product. The stories will be features on players and coaches, key figures, as well as analytical pieces about game patterns, athletic spending and WKU sport trends.

COMMENTARY EDITOR: The commentary editor will coach and edit staff editorial writers, but will also be responsible for reaching out to our audience for community opinions. They will also work on getting quick student opinions through social media polls. They will be forward thinking and innovative in getting content for our opinion section. When necessary, they will write editorials meant to represent the entire editorial board’s opinion on certain matters, but they will ideally not be weekly as it has been in the past. They are encouraged to generate stories that are creative and engaging.

NON-EDITORIAL BOARD POSITIONS

All staff positions are expected to:

  • Meet deadlines and participate in production.
  • Aid in the distribution of the Herald in both print and web.
  • Report breaking news and check Slack daily for messages.
  • Represent the Herald brand and maintain good-standing in the community.
  • Adhere to all policies set forth in the Student Publications Policy Manual including social media best practices.

BEAT REPORTER: Beat reporters write stories within their assigned beat, call sources on their beat as often as necessary — usually once or twice a week — to keep abreast of potential stories. Beat reporters read other publications and look for stories concerning their beats. Beat reporters produce at least two to three in-depth stories from their beat each semester and contribute online coverage. They are expected to independently stay up-to-date and informed on their beat without reminders from editors.

All reporters are expected to contact sources within 48 hours of assignment and should update their written piece each time new information is gained (i.e. after each interview, after a document is collected, etc.)

GENERAL ASSIGNMENT REPORTER: General assignment reporters write stories they are assigned or develop in consultation with their editor. GA reporters look for potential stories and readily accept assignments for print and online coverage, and attend all staff meetings.

All reporters are expected to contact sources within 48 hours of assignment and should update their written piece each time new information is gained (i.e. after each interview, after a document is collected, etc.) All reporters should be prepared to take photos with their mobile device

PHOTOGRAPHER: Photographers will shoot assignments given by the visual editors and meet deadlines with assignments for print and online, as well as have complete and accurate caption information. All photographers are expected to pitch at least two to three projects in a semester, including photo stories and multimedia pieces.

Photographers and reporters are expected to coordinate their coverage by discussing a plan in a timely manner from assignment. Photographers should take portraits of reporter sources to the best of their abilities.

PAGE DESIGNER: Designers designing pages and graphics that use visual journalism techniques to convey information for the print and digital products assigned by the Design Editor.

COPY EDITOR: Copy Editors read stories in first copy checking for factual errors, spelling, grammar, AP Style and punctuation.