Job descriptions

Reporter

Primary function: Gather, report and write news

Organizational Relationship: Reports to editor of department.

Photographer

Primary function: Photojournalist: Tell stories with photos and videos.

Organizational Relationship: Reports to photo editor

Editor in Chief

Primary Function: Responsible for publishing the newspaper on all formats, print and electronic. Responsible for all published content. Responsible for all departments and employees, particularly on the editorial side.

Organizational Relationship: Paid hourly. Elected each semester by a majority vote of the Northern Star Management Board. Recommended by a majority vote of the Northern Star Publication Board.

Duties:

  1. Serves as chair of the Northern Star Management Board
  2. Serves as a member of the Northern Star Publication Board.
  3. Responsible for scheduling monthly management board meetings.
  4. Responsible for choosing the managing editor.
  5. Selects newsroom managers and editors, in consultation with the managing editor.
  6. Selects business department managers, in consultation with the business manager.
  7. Leads twice-weekly for print and daily digital news budgets, when editors gather to discuss and select news stories. In the absence of the EIC, the highest ranking editor is responsible for the daily meeting.
  8. Shares a dual role with the managing editor in performing second edits of editorial content.
  9. Responsible for assigning stories in the absence of a section editor.
  10. Organizes social media presence.
  11. Responsible for handling conflicts between employees.
  12. Serves as spokesperson for the Northern Star and meets with outside parties when necessary.
  13. Establishes guidelines for all managers and editors.
  14. Determine the size of the newspaper.
  15. Approves “unusual” advertisements after consultation with the advertising manager.
  16. Hires and dismisses employees from all departments.
  17. Has final approval of all editorial content both print and online.
  18. Participates in editorial board meetings.
  19. Generates and if necessary writes stories.
  20. Designs and edits pages as needed.
  21. In conjunction with managing editor and other editors, responsible for pulling Associated Press stories each day.
  22. Keeps abreast of the Northern Star financial position.
  23. Meets with Northern Star advisers on a daily basis to discuss issues, problems etc

Updated fall 2015

Managing Editor

Primary Function: Supervises the newsroom. Substitutes for the editor in chief when necessary.

Organizational Relationship: Paid by the hour. Appointed each semester by the editor in chief.

Duties

  1. Serves a vice-chair of the Northern Star Management Board.
  2. Assists the editor in chief in the selection of newsroom editors.
  3. Participates in news budgets, when editors gather to discuss and select news stories.
  4. Shares dual roles with the editor in chief in performing second edits of editorial content.
  5. Responsible for assigning stories in the absence of a section editor.
  6. Supervises special projects and assignments with reporters and editors.
  7. Responsible for handling conflicts between employees.
  8. Hires and dismisses newsroom employees, when needed.
  9. Participates in editorial board meeting.
  10. Generates stories ideas and at times writes them.
  11. Designs pages as needed.
  12. Meets with editors on a daily basis to discuss previous day’s newspaper, as well as upcoming issues, etc.
  13. Along with the editor in chief, responsible for ensuring nightly deadlines are followed.
  14. In conjunction with the editor in chief, responsible for pulling Associated Press stories each day.

Updated fall 2015

Digital Editor

Primary Function: Responsible for the management of daily web content.

Organizational Relationship: Salaried position, selected each semester by the editor in chief and the managing editor.

Duties

  1. Generates stories to fill daily online news quota as determine  by the editor in chief.
  2. Generates stories.
  3. Writes stories as needed.
  4. Schedules and manage reporters for daily digital shifts.
  5. Uploads daily content on backend, www.northernstar.info.
  6. Attends budget meetings.
  7. Attends editorial meetings.
  8. Writes editorials as needed.
  9. Designs pages as needed.
  10. Edits daily digital content.
  11. Takes photos as needed.

Updated fall 2015

News Editor

Primary Function: Responsible for management of campus and city news section.

Organizational Relationship: Paid by the hour. Appointed each semester by the editor in chief and the managing editor.

Duties

  1. Serves as secretary of the management board.
  2. Offers input on the selection of the assistant news editor.
  3. Manages and works with the assistant news editor.
  4. Meets with the editor in chief and managing editor to discuss story ideas and progress.
  5. Responsible for hiring and firing news reporters.
  6. In conjunction with news adviser trains and orientates news reporters.
  7. Participates in editorial meetings and at times write editorials.
  8. Responsible for staying on top of current events on NIU’s campus , Dekalb and other stories that can be localized to NIU and DeKalb.
  9. Establishes job guidelines for assistant news editor and news reporters.
  10. Participates in news budgets.
  11. Chooses beat reporters after consultation with assistant news editor.
  12. Assigns news stories.
  13. Deals with conflicts that may arise between news reporters.
  14. Responsible for planning the layout of the news section.
  15. Acts as liaison between reporters and photographers.
  16. Writes news stories when needed.
  17. Edits news stories
  18. Design and edit pages.
  19. Responsible for overseen weekly staff meeting.

Updated fall 2015

Sports Editor

Primary Function: Responsible for management of the Sports section of the Northern Star.

Organizational Relationship: Salaried position selected each semester by the editor  in chief and the managing editor.

Duties:

  1. Meets with editor in chief and managing editor on a daily basis to discuss ideas for sports stories and other issued relating to the sports section of the newspaper.
  2. Responsible for hiring and dismissing sports reporters.
  3. Trains and orientates sports reporters.
  4. Establishes job guidelines for sports reporters.
  5. Chooses beat reporters.
  6. Assigns stories to sports reporters.
  7. Edits sports stories.
  8. Deals with conflicts that may arise between sports reporters.
  9. Responsible for planning and designing the layout of the sports pages.
  10. Acts as liaison between sports reporters and photographers.
  11. Responsible for generating story ideas when needed.
  12. Writes sports stories when needed.
  13. Responsible for organizing weekly staff meetings.
  14. Responsible with staying on top of NIU sporting events. Ensures there is accurate cover of all sports events, including club sports.
  15. Participates in news budgets.
  16. Organizes social media presence for all sports.
  17. Edits and designs pages.

Updated fall 2015

Perspective Editor

Primary Function: Responsible for management of the Perspective section, which includes columnists, cartoonists, and letters to the editors.

Organizational Relationship: Salaried position selected each semester by the editor in chief and the managing editor.

Duties:

  1. Serves as a member of the management board.
  2. Leads the editorial board meeting consisting of seven/eight voting members: editor in chief, managing editor, news editor, digital editor, sports editor, photo editor.
  3. Meets with editor in chief or managing editor on a daily basis to discuss ideas for editorial topics and other issues relating to the editorial section.
  4. Responsible for hiring and dismissing columnists and cartoonists.
  5. Responsible for establishing a writing schedule for the editorial staff.
  6. Edits and designs – twice a week – editorial pages.
  7. Responsible for staying on top of current events and issues, especially relating to NIU, local community and the State.
  8. Establishes guidelines for editorial employees.
  9. Consults with the editor in chief and managing editor each semester to establish guidelines for cartoonists and columnists.
  10. Responsible for training (in conjunction with the news adviser) cartoonists and columnists on ethics, cultural sensitivity and decency standards.
  11. Responsible for compiling news stories – on a daily basis – for discussion among editorial board members.

Updated fall 2015

Scene Editor

Primary Function: Responsible for management of the DeKalb Scene section.

Organizational Relationship: Paid by the hour. Selected each semester by the editor in chief, managing editor and online editor.

Duties

  1. Manages Scene dept., coverage of local arts, entertainment and interest stories
  2. Coordinates online content w/ online editor
  3. Edits Scene stories
  4. Runs a weekly staff meeting. Take story ideas from staff, determine which ones are worth coverage
  5. Generates article ideas
  6. Designs Scene pages
  7. Coordinates Scene design
  8. Works with online editor to develop Web extras
  9. When needed, coordinate/perform/execute/participate in supplemental training
    Includes summer training requirements

Photo Editor

Primary Function: Responsible for management of the photo department.

Organizational Relationship: Paid by the hour. Selected each semester by the editor in chief and the managing editor.

Duties: 

  1. Supervises photo staff to insure assignments are carried out.
  2. Meets with editor in chief and managing editor to discuss photo ideas and assignments.
  3. Responsible for all photo appearing in print and online. Has final decision on which photos are published unless overruled by the editor in chief or managing editor.
  4. Responsible for hiring and firing photographers.
  5. In conjunction with the news adviser trains and orientates photographers.
  6. Responsible for keeping abreast of current events at NIU and surrounding communities.
  7. Establishes job guidelines for photographers.
  8. Participates in news budget and brings a list, and actual printouts, of possible photos.
  9. Responsible for taking photos to accompany a news story as well as taking photos that may inspire news stories.
  10. Assign photo assignments to photographers.
  11. Deals with conflicts between reporters and photographers.
  12. Ensures cutlines are written according to AP style.
  13. Responsible for maintaining a photo archive system.
  14. Responsible for the tracking of photo equipment through the use of sing-out/sing-in sheets.
  15. Responsible for weekly staff meetings.

Updated fall 2015

Adviser

Primary function

Exactly as the title implies. The adviser’s main job is to provide guidance
and advice to students in all departments, with particular emphasis on the
newsroom. The adviser is neither editor nor censor. While advising and teaching
necessary skills, the adviser defends and respects the student staff’s right
to make all final decisions regarding content and staffing.
The adviser is a professional journalist who combines knowledge, skills
and journalism experience to communicate important concepts to students:
reporting, writing, editing, page design, graphics, photography, ethics,
legal issues, management and more.

Organizational relationship

Full-time, salaried NIU employee. Part of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. Reports to
the Associate Vice President.

Duties / Work Activities

  • Provides constant feedback to students in effort to help them improve
    their work. This can take the form of conversations, written critiques
    and ideas, newsletters, staff meetings, etc.
  • Is available for consultation on anything, newspaper-related or otherwise.
  • Helps organize and conduct training sessions for students.
  • Keeps in contact with the journalism and broadcast communities to stay
    abreast of new industry developments, potential speakers and field trips,
    and opportunities for internships and careers for students and graduates.
  • Serves as a board member and communications coordinator for the Northern
    Illinois Newspaper Association.
  • Provides advice about legal and ethical issues (but editor in chief
    always makes the final decisions)
  • Educates the community about the importance of a free student press.
    Defends students’ rights when necessary.
  • Along with the business adviser, maintains the Northern Star’s link
    with its alumni through regular communication and planning special events.
  • Attends, and often presents sessions at state and national conventions
    and conferences with students.
  • Maintains relationships between the Northern Star and northern Illinois
    and southern Wisconsin high school journalism teachers and students.

Business Adviser

Primary Function

Serves as coordinator of all business procedures involving the fiscal management of the Northern Star, including supervision and consultation with:

  • Billing manager
  • Advertising manager
  • Payroll manager
  • Classified manager
  • Production manager
  • Office manager
  • Circulation manager

Organizational Relationship

Full-time, salaried NIU employee. Reports to the Northern Star adviser. Classified under Student Affairs and Enrollment Management.

Duties / Work Activities

  • Maintains daily consultation with adviser and student employees concerning
    the Northern Star’s business operations
  • Oversees procedures and personnel responsible for fiscal management,
    including annual budget process
  • Mediates and helps resolve customer disputes
  • Supervises and trains students
  • Monitors payroll procedures
  • Is available for consultation on anything, newspaper-related or otherwise
  • Helps organize and conduct training sessions for students
  • Provides advice about legal and ethical issues, especially as related
    to advertising and business practices
  • Along with the adviser, maintains the Northern Star’s link with its
    alumni through regular communication and planning special events
  • Attends state and national conventions and conferences with students