On-boarding Checklist


  • [ ] Read through documentation. Notes can include questions the previous person had when they started and answers, source information, contact list (could be in a Word doc, Github repo, markdown file)
  • [ ] Write down questions. Don't be afraid to ask questions!
  • [ ] For graphics/news apps folks: set up development environment, read through list of common tools used
  • [ ] Set up meetings with team members to learn about their roles on the team
  • [ ] Pair program or sit with another reporter (shadow a few desks, over a few days)
  • [ ] Have a mentor on the team (ideally this person would walk through what the previous person worked on and be there for any questions)
  • [ ] Set up computer/accounts (ex: Twitter, Facebook, Github, email, encryption)

Documentation to read through:

  • [ ] Expectations for the job (what the previous person did and/or what the newsroom expects the person to work on. Examples include annual projects, attending certain meetings)
  • [ ] Order of how stories and/or pitches get filed and how they go through the editing process (ex: points of contact, timeline for stories)
  • [ ] How to use the CMS and other software in the newsroom (ideally this would be a day or so training, and then there would be documents with screenshots explaining what different buttons in the CMS or software are)
  • [ ] List of logins for social media, version control, servers and how to activate certain accounts (ex: PGP, set up email)
  • [ ] Glossary of common terms used in the newsroom or on the job in a document (for example if there is a list of acronyms for organizations that reporters on this beat usually contact or sources will often refer to)
  • [ ] Newsroom style guide
  • [ ] FOI status: previous FOIs filed, what data the team has, clean versions as well as the original files, key contact, follow-ups to be sent out
  • [ ] Websites to bookmark, guide to common data sets that are used
  • [ ] Timeline of ongoing topics on the beat (for example: a calendar of notable events on the beat or data releases)
  • [ ] General notes/documentation on security in the newsroom (PGP, VPN, file sharing)
  • [ ] Common contacts (ideally this would include times when they are good to contact, if they prefer email vs. phone, etc.)
  • [ ] Social media guidelines & policies
  • [ ] Ethics policies

Overview for the team:

  • [ ] Explanation of who is on the team, what they do, a little bit about them, where they are based if they are remote
  • [ ] Company employee tree chart (if possible, include pictures of the people, so you can easily identify them)
  • [ ] Spend some time on the company website looking through what the company does
  • [ ] Newsroom map (where sections are, bathrooms, kitchen, etc.)
  • [ ] Helpful tips about the newsroom and processes (ex: meetings that one should attend, tips about CMS glitches, what's the best way to set up a meeting, who to contact if you need batteries or other supplies)
  • [ ] Tips on the city that the newsroom is in (ex: nearby lunch places, buses, trains, etc.)
  • [ ] If a person is working remote: how do you support their needs? Talk through how they can be included and how being remote is different than being in the newsroom

You can fork this checklist on Github and make your own.

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