Wichitan Job Descriptions

Kara McIntyre interviews students at the Fantasy of Lights in 2016. Photo by Bradley Wilson.

Kara McIntyre interviews students at the Fantasy of Lights in 2016. Photo by Bradley Wilson.

ALL NEWSPAPER STAFF

All staff members shall represent the student newspaper in a professional and positive manner. Students on The Wichitan staff are at liberty to work with, or in, other club organizations on campus as long as there is no conflict of interest (see ethics guidelines), or conflicting work hours. All staff members are encouraged to write columns, generate story ideas and editorial ideas. All regular newspaper staff members must be full-time students at Midwestern State University. General duties of the newspaper staff include, but are not limited to:

  • Attending weekly staff meeting
  • Attending regularly scheduled meetings and training sessions
  • Taking pride in and be accountable for your area of responsibility
  • Being available and a resource for all staff
  • Acting as a liaison between the newspaper and the MSU student body
  • Assisting the editor in all assigned duties
  • Assisting in the determination of content and general layout of the newspaper in conjunction with the executive staff
  • Meeting regularly with the editor to keep his/her updated on progress and any potential problems or concerns

A few positions are paid as income from advertising and student fees permits. You are a VOLUNTEER and are owed no compensation for works produced until you have been officially hired with a job description on file. Y   ou are not officially hired until you have completed the appropriate paperwork in the time allocated.

EDITOR

The editor is the highest-ranking member of The Wichitan staff. He or she is ultimately responsible for all content in The Wichitan. He or she is also the “face” to the outside world and student body and must focus on the vision and future of the newspaper. One of the most important responsibilities of the editor is to set measurable long-term and short-term goals for the staff as well as to recruit and maintain the staff. The list of qualifications is designed to promote participation from all members of the student body and to secure the services of an individual who is motivated to provide positive leadership to the members of the staff. The editor must:

  • Be a full-time student at MSU with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 at the time of appointment
  • Have served as section editor of The Wichitan for at least one semester
  • Understand political forces within and outside the university
  • Have extensive knowledge of desktop publishing, modular design, typography, graphics and photography
  • Have proven abilities in leadership, organization and management
  • Have demonstrated and promised long-term commitment to The Wichitan
  • Have effective approach to crisis management
  • Have proven, strong and highly-evolved sense of ethical and moral integrity
  • Have patience and ability to help redirect ideas
  • Have understanding of Student Media’s “Code of Ethics”
  • Have excellent interpersonal and communication skills for working with people in and outside the MSU community
  • May not hold any other paid or volunteer job on campus

Duties of the editor include, but are not limited to:

  • Recruiting and retaining a student staff
  • Maintaining published office hours (approx. 20 hours per week)
  • Conducting staff meetings
  • Being responsible for all content in the paper
  • Being responsible for publishing written correction of all newspaper errors, online and in print
  • Meeting regularly with adviser and section editors for critiques, training and problem-solving
  • Assigning duties and creates positions not covered in job descriptions
  • Delegating story ideas and/or assignments to staff
  • Meeting deadlines and makes sure contributors are aware of upcoming deadlines
  • Assisting in the production of breaking news
  • Writing approximately one story per issue
  • Editing all copy and pages
  • Assisting adviser of The Wichitan with payroll
  • Proving a strong and highly-evolved sense of ethical and moral integrity
  • Completing training as assigned, including training sessions and mandatory student-newspaper fundamentals training sessions
  • Working with the section editors to schedule staff training sessions in the various aspects of newspaper production

The editor will be selected on or about the first week of April. Should an editor resign or be removed from the position, the next most senior editor will serve as an interim editor until a new editor can be selected. Candidates for editor shall submit a letter of interest and up-to-date resume to the adviser. A committee consisting of campus student leaders, the advisers and one other faculty member 

MANAGING EDITOR

The managing editor oversees production of the paper and directly supervises the section editors. The managing editor works closely with the editor on content, contributes to content, assists other writers with feature stories and makes story, beat and photo assignments. The managing editor must have demonstrated excellence in editing through knowledge of AP style and understands different styles of newspaper writing. The managing editor must also work with the editor, advisers and the section editors in training staff in the proper usage of grammar and AP style as used in the newspaper. The managing editor acts as editor when the editor is not present. The managing editor must:

  • Be a full-time student at MSU with a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 at the time of appointment
  • Have served as section editor of The Wichitan for at least one semester
  • Understand political forces within and outside the university
  • Has extensive knowledge of desktop publishing, modular design, typography, graphics and photography
  • Prove abilities in leadership, organization and management
  • Demonstrate and promise long-term commitment to The Wichitan
  • Have an effective approach to crisis management
  • Have proven, strong and highly-evolved sense of ethical and moral integrity
  • Have patience and ability to help redirect ideas
  • Have understanding of Student Media’s “Code of Ethics”
  • Have excellent interpersonal and communication skills for working with people in and outside the MSU community

Duties of the managing editor include, but are not limited to:

  • Assisting the editor in conducting staff meetings
  • Maintaining office hours (approx. 15 hours per week)
  • Assisting the editor in managing staff members
  • Evaluating staff progress and on goals and deadlines set by the editor
  • Working with reporters and section editors to make sure stories are covered with accuracy, fairness and clarity
  • Generating story ideas to be delegated to staff
  • Meeting deadlines and make sure contributors are aware of upcoming deadlines
  • Assisting section editors with page layouts for various sections
  • Be available for questions or assistance with the completion of each section
  • Assisting the editor with payroll: making sure staff time sheets are completed and paycheck disputes are resolved
  • Editing all copy and pages
  • Overseeing staff in editor’s absence
  • Assisting with training

Hotter ‘N Hell 2013, Aug. 24, 2013 in Wichita Falls, Texas. Photo by Bradley Wilson

SECTION EDITORS

Each section of The Wichitan may be assigned one section editor. Section editors are responsible for generating, assigning, and editing content for their assigned pages. They also assist in the training of staff members who contribute to their sections. Section editors must:

  • Be a full-time MSU student with a cumulative grade point of average of 2.0 at the time of appointment
  • Have strong organizational, leadership and teamwork abilities
  • Have thorough understanding of the mission of respective section
  • Demonstrate and promise long-term commitment to The Wichitan
  • Have an effective approach to crisis-management skills
  • Strong interviewing and research skills
  • Have the ability to write and edit quickly
  • Understand the editing process, from brainstorming to evaluation
  • Have patience and ability to help redirect weak ideas and to teach new reporters
  • Have a strong sense of ethical and moral integrity
  • Have knowledge of the laws of libel, privacy, obscenity and copyright

General duties of section editors include, but are not limited to:

  • Assuming responsibility for all content in the section
  • Assigning stories, columns briefs or photos to staff members with instructions about content possibilities and, if applicable, length
  • Following-up with reporters about the status of individual assignments before deadline
  • Holding regular office hours
  • Training staff and works to improve its reporting and writing
  • Striving to expand coverage to reflect the diversity of MSU and to appeal to a broad base of readers
  • Being responsible for writing stories unclaimed by writers
  • Communicating with photographers and designers to plan visual elements of the page
  • Striving to maintain a consistently high quality of content
  • Maintaining contact list of staff members
  • Developing and maintaining contact with sources applicable to respective sections

Weekly duties of section editors include, but are not limited to:

  • Editing all assignments for specific section
  • Assigning stories for specific section
  • Obtaining media passes for events corresponding to sections
  • Determining hierarchy of stories on the page
  • Taking responsibility for checking pages in respective section and waits for editor or managing editor to approve the page before leaving
  • Editing headlines and captions
  • Maintaining constant communication with the managing editor
  • Assuming final responsibility for all content and readability of respective section
  • Working with writers and photographers to edit work and explain changes if work is turned in by deadline
  • Designing layout for section pages
  • Attending weekly staff meetings

SECTION SPECIFIC DUTIES AND QUALIFICATIONS

The news editor must:

  • Be responsible for ensuring coverage of late-breaking news stories
  • Have knowledge of political forces within and outside the university
  • Have thorough understanding of news values, where a story lies and what angle to take with a story
  • Have outstanding knowledge of straight news-writing and layout procedures

The sports editor must:

  • Be responsible for ensuring coverage of late-breaking sports stories
  • Have an in-depth knowledge of MSU athletics, including intramural and club sports
  • and respect the distinction between news and editorializing

The features editor must:

  • Have outstanding knowledge of feature writing
  • Have graphic and design capabilities
  • Have outstanding knowledge of and interest in all forms of popular culture
  • Strive to develop imaginative, challenging and interesting articles on issues relevant to students’ lives, including in-depth features, personality profiles and explorations of non-timely events of interest to the campus community

The opinion editor must:

  • Have knowledge of political forces within and outside the university
  • Understand and respect the difference between news and editorializing
  • Generate editorial topics
  • Write a weekly editorial, accurately portraying staff views
  • Actively solicit, edit and organize letters to the editor
  • Actively solicit guest columns

The photography editor must:

  • Have in-depth knowledge of camera equipment and digital processing
  • Be a talented and reliable photographer
  • Ensure all photos are submitted with the necessary caption information
  • Check out and maintains camera equipment
  • Work with Student Media on training staff
  • Shoot a minimum number of assignments as determined by the editor
  • Hold regular office hours
  • Be available for breaking news assignments

ONLINE EDITOR

The online editor is responsible for updating The Wichitan website and placement of all web content. The online editor will also assist as needed with other aspects of newspaper production as needed, including graphics, building ads and other duties as specified by the editor. The online editor must:

  • Be able to work with WordPress or other content-management systems
  • Demonstrate experience with the web
  • Show portfolio containing previous web-related projects
  • Be familiar with copyright laws and ethical guidelines of online publication
  • Be able to edit pictures and other media to make them compatible for the website
  • Upload media in a timely fashion, meeting deadlines as assigned

The duties of the web editor include, but are not limited to:

  • Overseeing production and maintenance of The Wichitan website
  • Ensuring that all stories and images are posted in a timely fashion
  • Helping establish online-only content, including contests, multimedia presentations, surveys, and other appropriate components
  • Spearheading all website endeavors, including social media such as Twitter and Facebook
  • Ensuring that important breaking-news stories are updated between editions
  • Responding to emails related to The Wichitan website
  • Serving as a member of the editorial board, assisting in developing opinions and researching editorials
  • Attending all staff meetings
  • Keeping in constant contact with the editor, informing him or her of changes implemented to the website

COPY EDITORS

Copy editors are vital to endure the writing of successful copy. Under the guidance of the section editors, copy editors ensure that any errors are corrected to improve the quality and credibility of The Wichitan. Copy editors must:

  • Be accurate, efficient and swift in analyzing the writing of others
  • Have mastery of both AP and The Wichitan style
  • Understand and respects the distinction between news and editorializing
  • Demonstrate excellence in attention to detail

Copy editor duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Reading and thoroughly editing all copy
  • Editing all copy, including captions and headline, for clarity, grammar, spelling, punctuation, style and accuracy of names and identifications
  • Revising any copy, including headlines and captions, as necessary in conjunction with the writer and section editor

CARTOONIST

The cartoonist is responsible for the creation of editorial cartoons, cartoon strips or graphic art for multiple sections of The Wichitan. The cartoonist must:

  • Be a full-time MSU student
  • Be creative in producing cartoons that are related to recent events

Duties of the cartoonist include, but are not limited to:

  • Working closely with design/feature/opinion editors to generate content consistent with the mission of assigned section
  • Accepting suggestions for success from members of the editorial board

STAFF WRITERS AND REPORTERS

Staff writers are responsible for writing articles, which feature a specific aspect of campus life or issues pertaining to students. It is their responsibility to gather fair and accurate information and to portray it as such. Staff writers must:

  • Have submitted at least one story as a correspondent
  • Have an understanding of journalistic practices and ethics

Duties of staff writers include, but are not limited to:

  • Covering beats regularly
  • Writing at least one story per deadline
  • Accepting assignments in writing from section editors with full intention of completing work to the best of his or her ability—includes researching, interviewing, writing, editing, rewriting and formatting
  • Meeting all specified deadlines as instructed by editor
  • Generating story ideas
  • Participating in workshops and training provided by The Wichitan
  • Working closely with the managing editor
  • Notifying editor of any problems or potential problems

PHOTOGRAPHERS

Photographers are responsible for taking photos of campus life and issues pertaining to students. Photographers are also responsible for gathering accurate and complete caption information. Photographers must:

  • Have familiarity with an SLR camera
  • Be able to edit pictures on Adobe Photoshop
  • Be willing to be on call to take pictures of events
  • Communicate with reporters and editors about events that need photographs taken
  • Demonstrate experience in photography with samples and portfolio
  • Have a strong sense of ethical and moral integrity

Duties of photographers include, but are not limited to:

  • Completing photo assignments in a timely fashion as determined by photo editor
  • Placing captions/credit information in the metadata of every photo placed on The Wichitan server within 24 hours of shooting an assignment and sooner if requested by the editor

CORRESPONDENTS

Correspondents are contributors to The Wichitan who wish to learn the basics of writing for a newspaper. This is an entry-level position for students who wish to move up to the position of staff writer or continues to contribute to the paper on a periodic basis. Correspondents produce content pertinent to the readers of The Wichitan. Correspondents and other guest contributors need not be full-time students at Midwestern State University. Indeed they can be alumni, faculty, staff or just individuals interested in the MWSU community. No guest contributors will be compensated monetarily for their contributions. Duties of correspondents include, but are not limited to:

  • Working closely with the editorial staff to generate content consistent with the mission of assigned section
  • Accepting assignments in writing from section editors with the full intentions of completing work to the best of his or her ability
  • Completing work by deadline specified by section editor
  • Maintaining complete responsibility for the fairness, accuracy and clarity of all work accepted and submitted for approval

BUSINESS MANAGER

The business manager oversees the business and distribution of The Wichitan. He or she faces the responsibility of contacting prospective advertisers as well as creating and placing ads. The business manager should be able to improvise or find a solution whenever there are issues with ads or advertisers. The business manager must:

  • Be highly organized, deadline-oriented, and able to multi-task
  • Exhibit strong leadership traits and supervisory skills
  • Have prior sales/managerial experience; media/advertising sales highly desirable
  • Possess knowledge of and belief in the power of advertising
  • Possess excellent oral and written presentation skills
  • Have knowledge of business operations and efficient office practices
  • Have reliable transportation and the ability to distribute (or supervise the distribution of) papers  on Wednesday mornings
  • Be able to to work regular office hours, about 10 per week

Duties of the business manager include, but are not limited to:

  • Maintaining standards of advertising policy
  • Establishing and maintaining files on each individual advertiser
  • Contacting potential advertisers and making sales, as well as related follow-up calls
  • Maintaining up-to-date (weekly) financial records in Hiveage and in Google Docs
  • Preparing deposit slips (weekly)
  • Designing advertisements and/or obtaining camera-ready copy
  • Performing public relations-type work
  • Mailing bills, receipts and tears sheets (monthly)

CIRCULATION

The business staff ensures that every Wichitan stand on campus is filled in a timely manner on the day the paper returns from the printer, each Wednesday, as indicated on the production calendar. Duties of the delivery staff include, but are not limited to:

  • Refilling all stands in each building as needed
  • Dealing with any complaint concerning delivery such as stands which have not been filled in a timely manner or any other specific complaint
  • Counting old issues to keep a record of how many readers The Wichitan has accrued
  • Recycling old copies of the newspaper