How to do the “digital juggle”

Carla Herreria
Carla Herreria, senior writer for The Huffington Post Hawaii, takes a break from ONA16 sessions in Denver to communicate with her senior team at The Huff Post Hawaii. (Polly Irungu / ONA Student Newsroom)

By Polly Irungu @pollyirungu and Phi Do @phihado

News never takes a break, even — or maybe especially — while you’re attending the Online News Association conference.

Two-thousand-plus reporters, editors, photographers, video producers, coders and more gathered at the Hyatt Regency hotel this week to network and learn from the best in digital media. In addition to business cards, resumes and laptops, many also brought along some homework.   

How do they manage to juggle both? Here are some tips.

Julia B. Chan, digital editor, Reveal, @juliachanb

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The juggle is real in journalism. The key is to prioritize. There is always going to be a lot to do. There is always going to be something to do.  Figure out what needs to be done and by when. And when you can carve out the time to do it. Try to free yourself up before for the three days. Who do you need to delegate tasks to in order to get that stuff done?

Carla Herreria, senior writer, The Huffington Post Hawaii, @carlalove

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I take my work with me wherever I go. I know that can sound really intimidating or tough, but it’s not that I am always working, I am just constantly taking breaks when I need to. In order to have a good work-life balance, I think it’s important to take those breaks when you need to. It’s totally fine to say no in order to give yourself a mental health break.

Nicki Mayo, multimedia journalist, The Associated Press, @nickimayonews

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While I’m here, I am totally like a student again. The more I learn here, the more I can take back to my boss. There are lot of tips here that  make your life easier. The simpler you can make the actual job itself, the more fun you can have doing your job. All of these electronic things are supposed to simplify our lives, not make it more complicated.  I think we all should just embrace it and not be like, “Well, back in the day we used to ….” You don’t have that luxury anymore. As more newsrooms require you to do more than one task … I have never had one job.  I’ve always had the slasher thing. I’m a reporter/producer/editor, you know, a one-woman band reporter.

Meredith Artley, editor in chief + SVP, CNN Digital, @MeredithA

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Try to find moments where you can just know which battles you’re going to fight and not feel like you’ve got to know everything about every single thing.

Ben Arthur, sports reporter, The Beacon, @benyarthur

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The way I look at it is, you have to really nail one thing down before you go onto the next because then … I feel like your mind gets all jumbled up. Focus on one thing for 15, 20 minutes, whatever, knock it out and then move onto the next.

Jigsha Desai, digital director,  Naples Daily News, @jigsha

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When you have a lot of assignments going on at the same time … I would take a step back, make a list, take a deep breath, and figure out everything you’re working on and then prioritize. So, what needs to get addressed right way? What can you put off for an hour or so? Can you do something that will kill two birds in one stone? I think it’s not reacting right away, but really taking a step back, taking a deep breath and prioritizing.

Matt Stensland, cops and courts reeporter,  Steamboat Pilot & Today, @SBTstensland

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Work as you go. Don’t wait until you’ve finished all the reporting. Don’t wait until you’ve finished with all the photography. Just sit and work on everything … chip away at it a little bit at a time.

What’s your secret for doing the digital juggle? Tweet it to #ONAJuggle @ONANewsroom