You don’t often see lifestyle editors with bylines on the front page of the paper. But at a small newspaper like ours, it is evidence of the diversity of our staff.
I believe it is beneficial to have reporters and editors who can switch roles. We are small compared to bigger city newspapers and the world of media is changing more and more everyday. Reporters and editors rely on a multitude of skills from writing, editing, designing and more. We use social media sites, videos, magazines and photographs to bring stories to our readers. The newspaper pie is not cut after any individual in the newsroom. It is bits and pieces of veteran reporters, managing editors, new reporters fresh out of school and sports writers.
I didn’t start out as a lifestyle and magazine editor. During my first year out of journalism school, I landed a general reporter job in Tazewell County. I didn’t become a lifestyle editor until I joined the BDT staff more than four years ago. Of course, I will always have a writing preference but it is nice to know I can return to my roots on slow lifestyle day like last Tuesday. Forty years ago, a lifestyle editor didn’t have such freedom. The section was much bigger with a plethora of weddings, club notes and society trends. But things change. The section is now smaller with more feature stories. There are less clubs in the two Virginias as well. There have been other changes in the newspaper such as individual beats. No reporter covers one particular area or town. The lines are not drawn anymore. We are a whole, representing the community with a lot of teamwork, communication and overlapping talents.
I just have to convince the rest of the reporters to use fancy notebooks and colored ink pens. They need to see how the lifestyle editor lives in a world of black and white, in the harsh reality of Tuesday and the positive glow of Sunday.
Jamie Parsell is the lifestyle editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.