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  1. 1. Mike Stephenson (727) 422-4714 A MANAGEMENT CASE STUDY: DEALING WITH DEADLINES   Deadlines are a reality in any business or organization. Maybe you have three weeks to write copy and compile it into a brochure for the client or three months to organize the annual fundraising ball. Having worked with both daily deadlines and longer term projects, I am cool under pressure and well qualified to meet and manage deadlines individually and as part of a team. The goal React to breaking news and produce the best possible report by the deadline. Strategy, tactics and execution Newspaper people are accustomed to dealing with deadlines, but here is an extreme example as interim sports editor at the ​Tampa Bay Times​ of how my team pulled together with an amazing deadline performance. I was watching television with my family when my phone buzzed at 10:21 p.m. with an email. I read the message, turned to my wife and said, “The Bucs just fired Lovie Smith.” Quickly, I tried to reach the beat writer who covers the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His phone was busy, a good sign that he was on it. Next I called the editor in charge of our copy desk and night operation in Sports. I alerted him that we’d have a news story for 1A and an opinion column for the Sports front. Next, I called our Sports columnist. I told him I needed a column, and I needed it in about 45 minutes. The night editor texted about what to do with the first edition, which needed to go to the printing plant at 10:40. I told them to put in a one or two paragraph bulletin and let it go. The printing plant agreed to give us a 15-minute deadline extension, so we had until 11:45 for the late edition. Designers, editors and writers all flew through all the moving parts needed to remake the section. It wasn’t a matter of just subbing one story for another, the entire front page was changing, which affected story continuations on many inside pages. It was a team effort, and our team was experienced and well trained.
  2. 2. The results As you see above, the Sports section was transformed. The front of the A section had a similar makeover. The story and column made the late edition, which goes to subscribers in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. A later “stop press” update even made nearly 65,000 papers. Paul Tash, chairman and CEO of the ​Times​ , commended us for delivering “excellent detail and analysis -- all well before the light of day.” “​To pack so much splendid work into such a tight window marks a talented organization that is committed to excellence,” Tash continued. “If Lovie Smith ran his team with as much success as the clock was winding down, the Bucs would be in the playoffs and he would still be coach.”