Sigh. I’m a cut-and-paste ‘expert.’

More interesting comments have come in regarding my previous student advice post. But pay particular attention to the remarks of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune‘s Lucas Grindley.

Take note, future interns and recent hires, as Grindley writes:

“When folks send me their resumes, I often feel bad for those who think they have two years experience working at a major news Web site. But really they have two years experience pasting photos into a gallery and writing cutlines.

If that’s your job, learn on your own how to do something more complicated. Learn a programming language. Teach yourself something. Try Flash. Anything.

But don’t tout yourself as an “expert” at cutting and pasting photos or stories into a content management system.”

Too true. It’s extremely easy to get stuck doing the daily copy-paste grind of photo galleries and updating databases all the time. Staff members love to have the interns do that stuff so they can work on fabulous interactive Flash graphics and win SNDies. If you’re an intern, don’t be afraid to ask about working on more challenging projects if you you’re getting handed too much copy-paste work. But don’t be a diva either; every person must pull his weight with the boring stuff.

As a primer, doing the copy-paste is great to become familiar with content-management systems (I cut my teeth online doing the Sun-Sentinel‘s Day in Pictures photo gallery). But make sure you are being challenged in your work and that you’re constantly learning more.

Don’t think just because you’re working on a news Web site means you’re hot stuff. Challenge yourself to produce compelling Flash graphics, slideshows, videos and audio stories for your portfolio. If you don’t, you’re going to be the Cutline Master for years to come.

Author: Danny Sanchez

Danny Sanchez is the Audience Development Manager at Tribune's and Danny has been with Tribune since 2005 in a variety of editorial, digital and product development roles in Hartford, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. He has also previously worked in the newsrooms of the Tampa Bay Times and The Miami Herald.

7 thoughts on “Sigh. I’m a cut-and-paste ‘expert.’”

  1. I think it’s actually a very exciting time for multimedia interns. By multimedia, I mean people who actually gather video and audio content, edit it, and prepare the presentation for the Web. This area of online journalism is still new enough that newspapers are scrambling over themselves to start forming their own content.

    What that meant for me at my summer 2006 internship at was that I actually knew a lot more about multimedia production than my bosses. It translates into a lot of responsbility and the opportunity to excel.

  2. I agree it’s a fabulous time for multimedia interns. When I did my internship at the Sun-Sentinel, I had only designed a couple of Web sites, strictly as a hobby. I was actually brought on board to be a metro reporter. But I soon fell in love with online news, and it wasn’t too long before I was making fun stuff in Flash, thanks to the tutelage of anyway.

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  4. I’ve definitely done my share of copy/paste work with many a CMS since getting into online journalism in graduate school. It’s not fun work, but it makes up the staple news product currently being churned out by media companies (taste the sarcasm here).

    I think learning another coding language or production skill is a fantastic idea for the copy/paste set. I became fascinated with CSS and Web standards, and set out to learn everything I could. After plowing through 15+ books, and helping my paper win a few awards (SNDies, ONA, etc) I was promoted to a position where I used my new skills full-time.

    Hey, even better still: Use your spare time to develop or convince your company to develop more automation in their CMS. With all of the budget cuts going on, I’m sure they’d love you more if you saved them money.

    Just don’t develop yourself out of a job! 🙂

  5. There’s so much development needed on news sites, they just can’t afford to get rid of developers! I’m loving the stuff you guys in Roanoke are doing, by the way. Keep up the incredible work.

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