Working week, 21-23 November 2011

I’ve decided to revamp the Working Week because it’s getting a bit samey (and if I’m bored of it everyone else must be!). From now on I’ll compile a greatest hits type list of the key jobs I’ve done every week. Hopefully that’ll help focus my mind on areas to develop for Chartership too…

Key queries this week:

  • Left/right political map of Europe – we launched this a few months ago, quickly followed by numerous corrections, and it’s been decided to keep it up-to-date instead of as a snapshot of a particular moment, so I’ve added the most recent elections in Denmark, Poland, Spain and Latvia (me either), as well as the changes in Greece and Italy. We republished it yesterday (Tuesday) and have had some reader feedback so I spent a couple of hours addressing those this morning. One of the main issues is one of syntax – when it was first created the interactive struggled to recognise special characters (accents, umlauts etc) and although that was fixed several names hadn’t been corrected. In the end the quickest solution was to work through the full list, which took time but was worth it (letters were missing from leaders of four or five countries! Don’t know whether to be pleased some readers noticed or annoyed that more didn’t). The other issue raised is more subjective – the graphic classes each government as either left or right, red or blue on the map. Many governments, particularly coalitions, don’t fall into one or other camp easily, so there is some question over where we’ve placed certain politicians. We’re going to look into each query raised, but we have to make a decision for the graphic to work and that’s not always going to please everyone.
  • JFK anniversary blogpost – The America team realised mid-afternooon yesterday (Tuesday) that it was the 48th anniversary of the shooting of JFK. We’re trying to build traffic to the US site, so they asked for an archive blog on the assassination. It was a really quick turnaround – normally I take half a day at least to write a blogpost, check it, redraft  – but successful because we all chipped in, so the post was a real team effort. It’s not the best thing I’ve ever written (my uni lecturers wouldn’t have been impressed, it’s like JFK 101) but it did the job and our SEO guy was hugely grateful. He wasn’t even phased when I launched it with the wrong URL. Schoolboy error.
  • Quick blogpost on Doctor Who anniversary – I noticed this morning (Wednesday) that it’s the 48th anniversary since the first Doctor Who episode aired on British telly (thanks @neilhimself!). While it’s obviously dwarfed by the JFK anniversary, it’s the sort of topic that can get large amounts of traffic, so I looked up the first Guardian review (a week after the event) and launched a quick blogpost with just the one archive piece. [Mon 28th – so far it has 219 recommendations and 71 comments, popular topic!]
  • Corrections – I was on corrections this week, adding those printed in the paper and online to the relevant articles.
  • Journalist queries this week included cuts on Celia Imrie, Kirsty Wark, Patricia Cornwell, female deputy editors, a bundle on the state of play in Afghanistan and cuts about chemical castration. Yes, chemical castration.

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