Editorial performance analysis reports should treat reading time as key activity
Performance studies I conduct usually evaluate editorial staff members based on hours consumed by six factors: (1) original writing; (2) editing work of others; (3) field trips; (4) production; (5) article recruitment; (6) administrative tasks. But a few days ago, during my speech at ASBPE’s data journalism Boot Camp, a wake-up call arrived via a Q&A exchange.
According to colleague Steve Ross—also a session speaker—much of his publication’s content is derived via careful reading and subsequent analysis of multiple documents. This effort probably occupies almost 50 percent of total time spent creating each issue. Considering that reality, how does one evaluate reading performance when conducting a time study?
Good question, Steve. It has sent me back to the drawing board. In fact, there’s no doubt that since the Internet’s debut, the amount of information worth reviewing has become almost limitless. There is no doubt that the traditional 40-hour week — already stretched due to current workloads — is at a breaking point.
In my new book,Get Serious About Editorial Management, I include a quote from an editor-in-chief that speaks to the worth of extended reading time. Here is an excerpt:
Web involvement has allowed me to build my own brand by engaging in social media discussions. The investment in time clearly has paid off. The number of sources to be monitored has grown tremendously. When our industry was smaller, there were perhaps 20 sites that needed to be checked out. Today I have feeds from 270 blogs and try to get to all of them every day.
Sound familiar? Well, I for one am revisiting my current performance analysis approach. How can I assign the reading function its just due? Any ideas, please let me know!