Work Memo No. 6: Our fearless leader

This anecdote includes a baby, but not the one you might think.

RADIO TIMES — WEEK 9

A newborn caused a lot of buzz around the newsroom this week. No, I’m not talking about the royal baby being born, even though there was some of that chatter early in the week (I was on royal baby watch for a total of two days and I got sick of it. I don’t know how my friend and fellow intern William did it over at Fox News, but props to him). The web department’s fearless leader and my editor Tim has been away on paternity leave following the birth of his first child, Eleanor.

First, the obvious difference in office culture between here and back in the states is the allowance of paternity leave. I’ve yet to work in an environment where any of my colleagues were expecting, but I generally don’t hear much about American fathers-to-be taking a standard paternity leave.

It’s also been interesting to see how the roles in the web department have been shifting recently. Just a week after I started, a new writer and assistant editor Ben joined the web team. He started off with about the same responsibilities as I had, but over the weeks he met with head editors Tim and Paul to learn the ropes of leading the department. I soon learned that this was because Paul would be leaving for a month’s long honeymoon for the entirety of July and, at the same time, Tim would be busy meeting with a special department working on the new magazine app development. Then by mid-July, he was scheduled to take off for two week’s paternity leave. The social media editor also left his post with us and has been fully involved with the app development and launch preparation.

This left me, the four other staff writers and Ben at the helms to take over what the other two had temporarily left behind. To help with damage control, the editors pulled in a freelance writer Stephen, who also used to contribute to the website as a staff writer, to take over some of the content. As all this was happening, the office was in the middle of a layout rearrangement, including the web department picking up and completely moving across the floor.

This naturally meant that it was up to us to take on more tasks to keep the website running, as well as help each other learn the ropes. In doing so, I’ve gotten a little more familiar with seeing a story from inception to publication, which really just means that once my story has been edited and put live, it’s my job to farm it out and make sure the masses see it on our social media sites. The writers and I rely on each other more than ever to cover certain stories and brainstorm interesting angles for entertainment pieces. Ben even has a more direct communication style, meaning he actually just turns around to address someone in the moment rather than email and wait for a response. I think the transient nature of writing for web has made the transition easier, and it’ll be interesting to see how these roles stick or move along again once Tim and Paul return in the coming weeks.

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