Before a story ever gets to print it goes through many steps: the writer, an editor, a copyeditor, a designer, and the list goes on. But a story coming together in the first place can take several steps too.
As the Iowa State Daily looked into the idea of how the Big 12 Conference realignment might affect the smaller sports at Iowa State (wrestling, track and field, etc.), everybody had to think first about what mattered. How might the changes affect travel with the additions of West Virginia and Texas Christian University (TCU)? Would the changes affect the schedule or conference championships?
When a central focus was settled upon, things shifted to the design of the stories. It would be an 8-part series and they needed to all be unified is some capacity between the sidebars for the stories and the centerpiece graphic.
Each writer worked with an illustrator, Ryan Francois, and in my case I presented my idea for the wrestling story with a quick sketch:
The idea would integrate the new conference opponent, West Virginia, facing the main point of the story, Iowa State. To the left, the two remaining teams, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, would face off. And on the right, Missouri, a team full of uncertainty with no wrestling in their new conference, the SEC, would be in limbo or confused.
Ryan did a great job taking this sketch as well as ideas from fellow beat writer, Jake Calhoun, and implementing them into his final design for the print edition.
The design was one major aspect of the story, but the other key aspect of any story, the actually writing of the story, took some work to bring together, as well.
In this case, the story was going to be co-written by myself and Calhoun, the other Iowa State wrestling beat writer. We sat down, talked about how to go about it, and divided the story into sections based on different interviews we’d had the chance to complete. In the end, I provided him with some quotes, and he passed along some thoughts from the Big 12 to aid in my writing.
After writing the story we worked on transitions and making sure the entire feature flowed.
It took many conversations, emails and collaboration, but with work from a lot of people, both talked about here and behind the scenes, the story seemed to come together nicely.