about this sitesee Meranda's resumesee clips and work sampleskeep in touch

Institutional knowledge

I spent the last few weeks of my editorship explaining as much as I could about how the Stater, the computers, the university worked to anybody who would listen. Although I worked to train my staff so they could replace me when I graduated, it was the last few weeks when I realized how much institutional knowledge I would take with me.

I passed on knowledge about everything from where to find stories the computer eats (there are backups on the originating computers), to the cell phone numbers of the top student leaders on campus (I posted sticky notes in the editor’s office for this reason), to how to search the Web archives before our relatively recent move to College Publisher (it’s at stater.kent.edu, but be prepared to wade through a lot of crap), to how to buy a pop from the can machine that won’t take dollars (put the dollar in the bottle machine and hit the change return button to get quarters)… Basically, I spent the last three years amassing all this institutional knowledge that was great when I was there. Anybody could simply say, “Hey Meranda, how do I…?” And I’d help him sort out the problem or sit down and work it through with him. Not so when I’m no longer there.

Tonight, I got a call from one of the soon-to-be top editors asking, “So, what do you do when there’s breaking news over break?” Doh. You find a reporter and post it to the Web asap and follow. Same thing you do when there’s breaking news and a paper the next day. Only this time, the follow also is on the Web. So I ask, “Well, what reporters do you have in Kent?” But, she doesn’t know. (Institutional knowledge learned from my own stint as a principal reporter when we had “on-call nights” — you need to know at all times who you have available and who you can call in. Otherwise, you waste time getting a lot of “I’m at work” or “I’m out of town” responses.)

I’m expecting she’ll find at least one reporter around. (I asked if she could just do it, but she, too, is at home in another state.) Then, I’m expecting to receive a call asking how to post it to the Web. There were only half a dozen of us who knew how to post to the Web. Only two will still work for the Stater next spring. Though I gave this “Web training” to all of my top eds last fall, the only two of us who ever used it were the AME/Web and myself. The incoming eds won’t learn until a week before the new semester starts.

These calls will be frequent the first month of semester, and then taper off as they do as I did and learn as they go. But still, it makes me feel useful, even as I am slowly removed from the listservs and bumped from the masthead.

Comments are closed.