Small staffs shouldn’t be a deterrent

An article in Suburban Newspapers of America tackles how a small weekly newspaper in Somerville, Mass., is creating a dynamic Web site and doing it with only a three (and a half) person staff. It’s sweet because it’s listed in tidbits, giving hints at specific ways to be successful one morsel at a time.

My first thought: Wow. I don’t believe you. You’re lying. Stop lying to me. Why would you say such things? Fibber.

But as I scoured the article, sent to me courtesy of my publisher, I couldn’t help but see all the ingredients for success. Things that I strive for, but aren’t really clicking at our staff of 13. For instance:

10. Has a ton of user generated copy. “I would be nothing without these folks.” Used user-submitted photo as a page one shot recently. There are plenty of local experts on different topics — why not use them, as long as you state their bias. Solicit content in different ways — work the phones, send specific e-mails, post photos on line and ask for other submissions, etc.

Or, even better, how to get the staff to buy-in on the ‘Web first’ mentality that we strive for.

12. Staff buy in? Get some buzz going. Just start posting and before you know it you start to get some feedback and that is motivating. Not everyone will buy in — a little coaxing goes a long way.

So I consider myself, at times, coaxed out. How do I deal with that when there still isn’t buy-in?

14. One staffer said the new approach “isn’t working for me” — be honest. She offered a good reference for him on his next job.

If only every editor were so prude.

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