There are two things I enjoy most in life: storytelling and competition. I’ll tell you a story about the latter.
Leading up to my year as Senior Sports Editor at the Daily Nebraskan, we as a senior staff met in the muggy basement of the student union at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to discuss our goals. Knowing some of my colleagues for a while now, I thought we were going to knock it out of the park in coverage.
We talked about web traffic, something that I closely monitored the year before as an online editor. The senior staff agreed a 25 percent increase to 750,000 pageviews would be a dream. I quickly interjected, though. I said “Why not a million?” Most of the people in the room started giggling. So the Editor-in-Chief and I made a playful bet. If we reached a million pageviews, I would take his job for a day. If we didn’t, I would have to do something to my hair whether it was coloring it or shaving it completely. Honestly, I don’t remember what was going to happen if I actually lost the bet. After that, people in the office pegged me as the “million hits guy.” I had reiterate to them halfway through the semester that we were well on our way. By the end of the semester, I was taken a lot more seriously as we had more than 1.2 millions pageviews as a paper, a 100 percent increase from the previous semester.
What I enjoyed about this quest was that we didn’t settle for clickbait stories that we knew would get read by a large number of people. But instead, we worked harder on reporting and coming up with interesting story ideas each week instead of doing the bare minimum. This came with hard work and mutual respect among the staff. Yes, I was able to be Editor-in-Chief for a night. But this accomplishment ultimately meant that more people were reading our stories and it also showed the reporters on our staff that if we work hard enough, then we can perform above expectations.
That’s what I try to echo in everything I do. If you understand what can be fixed and are relentless in your approach, then you can do things that even surprise yourself. I’ve worked for multiple organizations and am confident I can transfer what I’ve learned to any field out there.