In August 2008 I was selected to work on a nine-person team devoted to reorganizing the Orange County Register’s newsroom staff around content verticals. The team spent about a month researching all the proposed ideas and putting together a plan that was approved by the Register editor and Register deputy editors. The reorganization was put into place in September 2008.
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I began covering technology in October 2007 when the Register’s technology reporter went on maternity leave. After a few months on the job, my editor Kevin Sablan and I began realizing the huge growth and future in mobile. After tossing several ideas around we settled on a crazy idea: to cover mobile applications. Mind you: this was December 2007. Apple did not allow apps to be developed for the iPhone until spring 2008. Sure mobile apps were around before the iPhone allowed them – but Apple made “apps” a regular thing. We were so early to the game that I was able to compile a list of all the apps in development at the time for the iPhone and Android operating systems.
After a few months, and when the tech reporter came back from maternity leave in early 2008, Register editors decided to end the mobile blog. I was moved over to work on sprucing up our tourism and Disney coverage.
In 2005 I began working on the Register’s website. At the time, reporters and editors did not touch the website. Web editors across the newsroom were tasked with shoveling all the print content online. But I wanted to make sure my photos got online – and in color. I wanted to see how many people were viewing our website, the Irvine section of the website and my articles.
I worked with the Central County web editor who was patient and kind enough to show me the ropes of our online content management system and the analytics. She even let me post my own content online when reporters were not allowed to do so. When the first round of layoffs hit, the Central County web editor position was eliminated. I realized that suddenly, no content would be going to the Irvine website section. So, I took it upon myself to post our content online and to teach my coworkers one-by-one how to post content online.
I continued my work online – finding ways to improve our content, the display of our content and the audience interaction with our online content.
Then, in early 2006 I met up with two other people at the Register who shared my impatient mood with our progress in moving online as a company. We called ourselves the three “musketeers” and met twice a month to share online ideas, achievements and setbacks. Eventually, we decided to make a stand. We approached one of the Register deputy editors and asked some of our most burning online questions. He seemed excited at our thoughts – and asked that we send over our ideas for moving online.
Thankfully, I had already written a whole plan of what the Register should be doing to move online. We turned it in and the “web manifest” as it soon became known circulated among top management. We three “musketeers” were appointed roles in addition to our day jobs as “web catalysts.” And the web revolution at the Register began.