the journalista

i read. i write. i think. i link.

Month: April 2014 (page 2 of 2)

Editorial Calendar plugin for WordPress improves the editorial process

My Editorial Calendar in WordPress

My Editorial Calendar in WordPress

My journalist training occurred in a newsroom environment. As both a staff writer and editor for the El Camino Union , I was schooled in the art of the newsroom editorial process.

A giant whiteboard at the front of the room served as our editorial calendar, and each week it was filled in with all the articles planned for publication that week, the number of words for the article, who was responsible for writing it and the editor that assigned it. It made it easy to be able to tell who was doing what when, where and why.

At the Union, we were required to submit article pitches on a weekly basis, and we did that through a system called Camayak, a newsroom workflow tool. Camayak allowed editors to post articles in the system, turn pitches into articles and set up publication deadlines for future articles.

screen capture of the Camayak login page

screen capture of the Camayak login page

Alas, I am no longer in the Union newsroom; I am my own media outlet, and I am working out the kinks in my own editorial process so that I can produce quality content on a regular basis.

My editorial process looks something like this:

  1. Brainstorm content ideas
  2. Organize my ideas into a planned publishing schedule
  3. Research and write the content
  4. Edit the content
  5. Schedule the content for publishing

I will admit that the process from conception to inception was a bit hard at first. Because of the way WordPress on its own handles posts and drafts in the posts listing page, I would often have drafts languishing in unpublished status because they got buried under all the other unpublished draft ideas I kept coming up with.

I thought about doing the calendar visually using index cards and the cork board just above my desk, but in the long-term, that  would not work out to be a good plan, so to Google I went in search of solutions.

bloggingyourpassion.com rendering of a whiteboard editorial calendar

My search led me to the WordPress plugin site, and the Editorial Calendar plugin. I was sold immediately after reading the information and viewing the video. This was exactly what I was looking for, and it fit into my editorial process perfectly.

Now when I brainstorm, I am able to hit the “new draft” button in the unscheduled posts ‘drawer’ and quickly type out the idea/title/slug of the post and make a few notes detailing what I want the post to be about. I also include any links that I may want to reference when writing the post.

Whenever I come up with a new idea for a post, I add it to the unscheduled drawer. If I am away from my computer and/or WordPress, I write it down in my trusty Moleskine and add it to the unscheduled drawer as soon as I can. This gives me a bunch of ‘pitches’ to work from.

Yesterday, I spent 90 minutes coming up with post ideas for the next month. I put them all in the unscheduled drawer, and then I mapped them out over the editorial calendar until I had at least one longform post planned for each of the next 30 days. I actually ended up with a few leftovers, so I added them to the calendar on days I felt could benefit from extra content.

The most daunting part about writing and maintaining a blog is the blank white screen. Coming up with something new to write about can be a frustrating part of the process when you have to do it on the fly, but I don’t have that issue now, because I have 30 days worth of posts waiting to be researched and written. The hard part, coming up with ideas, has already been done. Researching and writing, at least in my opinion, are the easy parts.

I can write the pieces in any order that I want, as long as I meet the publishing deadline on the schedule. This is helpful, because some posts are quick and easy to write, and those can be cranked out in a matter of minutes, edited and scheduled for publishing, allowing me more time to focus on the more time consuming or meatier topics I plan to cover that may require a bit more research or even an interview or two.

However I choose to do it, the best part is having all of my posts laid out in a calendar view. I can drag-and-drop content to move it around on the calendar or move it back to the idea drawer if I want to hold off on publishing for a bit. I can click edit on a post on the calendar, and it will take me to the editing screen for that particular post whether the post has already been published or not.

My editorial process has been given a breath of new life.

What is your editorial process? Are you using the Editorial Calendar plugin? Do you have any tips on how to improve the editorial process? Let me know in the comments. 

 

Mickey Rooney Dead at 93 | Variety

Mickey Rooney Dead at 93 | Variety

As adept at comedy as drama and an excellent singer and dancer, Rooney was regarded as the consummate entertainer. During a prolific career on stage and screen that spanned eight decades (“I’ve been working all my life, but it seems longer,” he once said), he was nominated for four Academy Awards and received two special Oscars, the Juvenile Award in 1939 (shared with Deanna Durbin) and one in 1983 for his body of work.

via Mickey Rooney Dead at 93 | Variety.

Rest in peace, Mickey Rooney. Boys Town remains one of my favorite classics.

[LINK] – Has Scandal lost the plot? | theguardian.com

I haven’t watched Grey’s Anatomy, another Shonda Rhimes show, but her fans seem to believe that she regularly runs into a third season slump. Scandal has moved towards being event-based instead of character-based, and the model just doesn’t work. Having never been a fan of the Fitz and Olivia relationship, I find their exchanges to be the most grueling of all. Shouldn’t an affair be more fun? They’ve fallen into a cycle of unabashed screaming quickly followed by tense passion that makes me think of domestic abuse more often than it does romance.

via Has Scandal lost the plot? | Television & radio | theguardian.com.

I’m going to agree with the author of this article. I’m tired of Fitz and Olivia. I’m tired of Kerry Washington’s screamy fits every week. I’m tired of the same tired scenes being played out over and over again. Mellie and Fitz hate each other. Jake is a demon since becoming command. Fake sexual tension between Quinn and Huck. Harrison missing in action.

I used to get excited by Scandal, and now I find myself merely chuckling at a few lines each show and yawning my way through the rest of it. Nothing has my jaw dropped any longer.

I hope Shonda can make me like this show again. This happened to me with Private Practice too.

I simply stopped caring.

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V

If you know me, you know that Grand Theft Auto V is currently my favorite form of escapism. I haven’t finished story mode yet, because as soon as the online multi-player opened I took up residence in Los Santos and never looked back.

Honest Game Trailers takes a jab at GTAV, and it is not only funny, but accurate as well.

My writing for the El Camino Union is still winning awards in my absence

1396719317950I attended El Camino College from 2011-2013, and I was on the staff of the newspaper, the magazine and the creative arts journal in some combination the entire time I was there. I put in a lot of work, and it continues to pay off.

Last night I got a very excited text from my former adviser letting me know that I won 1st place in the state competition for a photo essay I did on Crenshaw Blvd with my friend Phil Prins.

I also finally got my plaque for winning 1st place in column writing.

I continue to receive positive affirmation that changing my career direction midlife was a good decision.

I’ve recently discovered that I am unable to have any music playing when I’m attempting to read something for understanding.

I was trying to read something for MCO 435, and my concentration kept being broken by the music playing in my background.

I can have all kinds of music playing when I’m writing. In fact, I have to have music playing when I’m writing.

Attempting to have music playing while reading something has me going back over what I just read several times.

Is it just me, or do other people suffer from this affliction as well?

Let me know in the comments. I need someone to cosign this so that I don’t think I’m crazy.

You can almost always get me to listen to your track if it contains a sample from Faze-O’s “Riding High”

In case you are unaware or unsure of the original track, here it is:

According to Wikipedia, Faze-O was a “late 1970s funk band based in Chicago, Illinois and produced by Clarence Satchell of the Ohio Players. ”

According to whosampled.com, “Riding High” has been sampled in 78 songs.

I was reminded of how much I like this song and the various interpolations of it living in hip hop when Ice Cube’s “Record Company Pimpin'” came on my Google Play Music radio station today. I’d never heard Cube’s take on it before (I admittedly have faded in and out on Ice Cube ever since the Lethal Injection album).

There are of course other takes on it that are equally good, if not better.

For example, a discussion on this golden hip hop sample would be totally incomplete without mentioning EPMD’s contribution “Please Listen To My Demo.”

Additionally, there is Kriss Kross’ “Tonite’s tha Night.” I remember especially liking the video for this one when it came out.

Other notable mentions include:

Ghostface Killah, Method Man and Masta Killa with “Killa Lipstick”

Black Moon’s “Shit Iz Real” (although the sample used here is not as evident as the other uses across hip hop; the production uses the high strings rather than the entire melody)

Rodney O and Joe Cooley “Rollin in My Ride”

I love playing “Guess The Sample” while listening to hip hop. Although sampling has had its battles in the past, I think as long as the original artists are respected and credited for their work, this is a good way to keep their music alive.

Are there any good samples of “Riding High” that I missed? Let me know in the comments. 

For the people who are still wondering what #CAPSCAPSCAPS is referring to (hello people I know who are on Facebook but not Twitter), please get your life right now in these six seconds:

I’m not going to apologize to my neighbors for laughing very loudly at this at 2 a.m.

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