My name is Hayley Smith, I’m 36 and the editor of two weekly newspapers – the Runcorn & Widnes World and the Leigh Journal – as well as multi-media editor of the Warrington Guardian in Cheshire.
How did you get your current job?
I’ve only been in my current role since October, having been deputy editor of the Warrington Guardian for four years prior to that. I started working for Newsquest nearly 14 years ago as a trainee reporter at the Northwich Guardian and have been in pretty much every position since – news editor, sub editor, features editor, even filling in for the sports editor and admin assistant on occasion.
What does an average day look like?
My job is constantly evolving as modern technology develops and these days I start work before I even get out of bed. I check the papers’ Facebook and Twitter feeds first thing for any breaking news, and listen to the traffic and news reports on my drive into the office.
Then it is non-stop from there on – responding to emails, answering calls, planning that week’s paper, ensuring our websites are constantly updated, subbing reporters’ copy, proof reading pages, attending meetings, liaising with our advertising and production departments, designing that week’s front page splash etc, the list goes on. After all that it’s back home to my husband and two boys (aged five and two) and once I get back into bed I have another look online to check I haven’t missed anything!
What’s the best thing about your job?
It’s a cliche but every day really is different and varied, and responding to breaking news as it happens and getting it online immediately, then seeing it develop for that week’s paper is both exciting and challenging. I also love the opportunities the job provides, especially meeting new people, whether that’s interviewing famous faces and politicians, or speaking to inspirational people in our towns who have helped others in one way or another. Editing local newspapers is a huge responsibility as people expect us to not only be first with the news, but to be honest, accurate and to be the voice of their community.
Are there any downsides?
Only from a personal perspective as a full time working mum. I love my job but striking the perfect balance between work and home life is a constant concern. Then again, worrying is part and parcel of being a mum, whatever your circumstances. Hopefully I get the balance right the majority of the time, although my sons would probably say they wished I was at home all day, every day.
What did you want to be as a child?
I think I had probably made about twenty different career choices by the age of 10! Like many little girls I loved dancing and performing, but this was long before the X-Factor so being the star of the school play was about as far as my ambition stretched. I briefly considered being a vet but that was rather short-lived as science wasn’t really my forte and I accidentally killed a stick insect. But I always loved English classes at school, so knew writing would eventually play a central role in my choice of career.
If you could do any other job, what would you choose?
In the perfect world that exists in my head I would be a successful novelist or even better, a West End musical star, but I will happily settle for writing about them instead.