Regular readers of our blog know that we do a weekly feature called Media Monday, where we ask a member of the media to tell us a little bit about themselves. Last week I had the opportunity to sit on an alumni panel for ASU’s Cronkite School homecoming celebration with Linda Kauss of USA Today. Linda has been with the paper for more than 30 years, having spent time as a reporter and editor at the Phoenix Gazette, the Pacific Daily News in Guam and the Florida-Times Union in Jacksonville. She is a member of the Cronkite Alumni Hall of Fame. She was even the campus editor for the State Press when she was a student.
When I asked her to be one of our featured media, she responded on Tuesday, November 4 – election day. I thought this pretty much sums up a day-in-the-life of a reporter:
It’s Tuesday, Election Day, and for the Government team here at USA TODAY it’s all hands on deck. We’ll be scrambling all day and into the wee hours of tomorrow morning reporting, editing and publishing our coverage of races across the country, through half a dozen print editions and online updates, man-on-the-street interviews, last-minute campaign events, photo galleries, videos and maps. OK, it’s only the midterms, guaranteeing a fairly low turnout, but still it’s exciting for news types like me. Never get tired of it.
Our panel discussion touched on the role of public relations and today’s shrinking newsroom staff. Linda made a point of mentioning that the relationship between the communications people and the newsroom is one of give-and-take and trust. She needs to count on those of us who work within organizations and counsel clients to be upfront and honest with her, provide her good information and resources and to be available. In turn, she will do the same.
Her description of the newsroom on Election Day could be applied to almost any day in a typical newsroom. I think it is comforting to know that whether you are pitching your community newspaper or one of the nation’s largest dailies, the same holds true. The reporters and editors are asked to do more with less and we can be valuable resources for them.