When news breaks, we fix it.
That’s the philosophy embedded in every reporter up here in Suite 300. The slogan was only adopted by Emerald Media Group staffers last year, but 50 years ago, the Oregon Daily Emerald’s student staff held the same values, as demonstrated by the Saturday, Nov. 23, 1963 edition of the paper on the day following the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
That’s not a typo: The Emerald printed on a Saturday to cover the event.
And just as we’re sure the conversation that led to that decision was a short one, so was the one we had Sunday night when we were approached with the possibility of producing a four-page insert in the Wknd edition published this Thursday.
The original plan was simple: Pore over the November 1960 and 1963 archives for articles on Kennedy’s election and assassination. Publish them on Friday and engage in the national dialogue honoring the nation’s 35th president.
It wasn’t until Sunday night, when Ryan Frank mentioned the possibility of a print pull-out, that we jumped on the opportunity and began planning. This is how it went down:
Sunday, Nov. 17
We asked the staff for volunteers to help transcribe articles from the archives. Because there was only one copy of each issue, students took shifts transcribing content into WordPress as it was originally published.
Tuesday, Nov. 19
This is when Ryan gave us the final okay on the insert. We immediately held a meeting to discuss the articles we wanted to publish and what the design would look like. The pro staff ordered the additional pages from Oregon Web Press and re-paginated the entire issue to ensure it would print the way we envisioned.
We worked on the insert for several hours through trial and error for the rest of the day. We decided on a retro approach, borrowing heavily from the 1963 issues’ aesthetic while incorporating flares of our modern style. It was up to us to deliver on the promise we made to the newsroom and our pro staff.
Wednesday, Nov. 20
Wednesday is our production night for Wknd editions of The Emerald. It’s also when we put the finishing touches on the following day’s GameDay football section. Needless to say, adding a four-page insert was a little hectic. We took extra care on the Kennedy content to ensure our publisher’s and ad staff’s efforts were justified.
On Friday, we republished 20 transcribed articles, including JFK’s inaugural address and a profile on his wife and first lady, Jacqueline Kennedy.
Although we’ve powered through the last 20 months in the name of reinvention and revolution, the lessons we learned from this project are numerous and invaluable. At its core, Emerald Media Group is serving the same purpose and fulfilling the same campus needs as the 1963 staff of The Oregon Daily Emerald: We’re here to report and contextualize news that matters to the University of Oregon community.
We can only hope that, 50 years from now, the students practicing journalism at Allen Hall, on the top floor of the Erb Memorial Union and elsewhere on campus hold these same values.
This post was co-written with Eder Campuzano.
We’ve been talking in The Garage recently about how to pick the biggest, most important projects to work on.
Why? Picking the wrong project to spend time and money on is ridiculously expensive. But how do you know which projects are the biggest and most important?
1. Understand who you are — and who you aren’t: What is your mission and what are the values of your organization? Why do you exist? If you haven’t worked through those questions yet, Jim Collins - author of Good to Great – can be a big help. Here’s some of his work on building your company’s vision, a vision worksheet and an essay on building companies to last.
2. Figure out your moon shot: From Wired on Google’s moon shots: “Larry Page lives by the gospel of 10x. Most companies would be happy to improve a product by 10 percent. Not the CEO and cofounder of Google. The way Page sees it, a 10 percent improvement means that you’re basically doing the same thing as everybody else. You probably won’t fail spectacularly, but you are guaranteed not to succeed wildly.”
3. Focus: Focus only on the winners. Kill everything else. Steve Jobs was famous for his focus. Biographer Walter Isaacson summarized Jobs’ real leadership lessons in Harvard Business Review. As Isaacson reported, Jobs took his top 100 people on a retreat and asked: “What are the 10 things we should be doing next?” People fought to get their projects on the list. Then Jobs slashed the bottom seven and announced: “We can do only three.” Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman also talked about “weeding the garden” to remove the “gunk.”
4. Be lean: Once you pick your moon shot, be agile. Adopt a lean startup mentality to start and stay lean by focusing on your customer first and always.
5. And for fun: JFK on the original moon shot. My favorite part starts at 8:20 and goes for about a minute.