My Media Day: Jason Marshall, owner / editor, The Hawick Paper

JASON Marshall is the owner and editor of The Hawick Paper, which hit the town’s newsstands for the first time almost a year ago, and has since flourished under its independent banner.

He submitted this on Tuesday, July 18 2017…

What exactly do you do?

I run the editorial side of The Hawick Paper, which includes five freelance reporters and three freelance photographers.

I also contribute to the paper with three or four stories a week and an opinion column.

As well as the journalistic side of things, I’m heavily involved in the business aspect of the newspaper, working closely with our advertising executive to ensure we’re constantly exploring all potential revenue streams and offering our advertisers fantastic value for money.

My main day-to-day job is designing and building our pages, and prioritising and subbing content. I’m also setting our news agenda, much of which is dictated by the various community council and area forum meetings I regularly attend.

I’ve got page targets to hit every day, so it’s full-on from Monday to Thursday night. It’s about a 70-hour week including Fridays, and some of each Saturday and Sunday.

What did your working day yesterday comprise?

Monday always begins with a meeting with two excellent sources for stories for the paper. It was then straight to another meeting with a local videographer/social media expert, to discuss our digital offering at present and plans for an e-edition of the paper.

The rest of the day was spent on completing two feature pages and two news pages, getting all the ads booked so far in place, commissioning our photographers for the week ahead, building up story lists for our reporters, and liaising with our sports editor on whether or not we should be running seven or six pages of sport this week and what the potential back page stories could be.

I got home at 9pm, after attending a meeting of Hobkirk Community Council, which threw up one or two good stories, which should prove very interesting to readers.

How different or similar is your average working day to when you started?

I started in newspapers as a YTS compositor with the Hawick News in 1986, so the working day now bears no resemblance to back then!

I then joined the editorial department of Hawick News in 1997 and basically just designed pages as well as the title’s advertising.

The major change from my early days – and almost everything I’ve done in newspapers since – is obviously the responsibility that comes with being the business owner and editor.

How do you see your job evolving?

I can’t really ever see myself moving away from the page design/subbing side of the paper. It’s what I’ve always loved doing. Hopefully, through time, finances will allow for another sub or two to join the team, and perhaps enable us to look at increasing pagination and digital content.

What gives you the most job satisfaction?

Without a doubt it’s the positive feedback our team receives from readers and advertisers.

We’re all putting in a tremendous amount of hard work every week to produce a newspaper crammed full of ultra-local news, sport and features, and townfsolk haven’t been slow to let us know that they love the paper, and will do all they can to help.

Hawick is famed for its community spirit, and its unequivocal support for our paper is just another example of this.