What I’ve been doing as the Register’s digital MacGyver

MacGyver's Multitool
Photo of MacGyver’s Multitool by Charles Williams licensed under CC BY 2.0

When I rejoined the Orange County Register two months ago, my job description was a bit nebulous. Since then, editor Rob Curley  has made it clear that I am the Register’s digital MacGyver. Angus Macgyver, the lead character of a TV series of the same name, turned everyday objects into tools that he used to escape from life-threatening predicaments.

My tasks haven’t been that harrowing, but I have definitely used limited resources to get some things done. I’ve also been taking care of a bunch of smaller tasks that someone has to handle.

Here is a short laundry list of what I’ve been doing:

  • I’ve used a whole lot of Javascript to create two special pages that would normally not be possible within the Register’s content management system: OC’s 100 Most Influential and the Register Holiday Hub.
  • I’ve created bookmarklets that lets our digital team click one button to carry out tasks that normally require selecting text, copying it, finding and replacing, and more copying and pasting.
  • I’ve tapped into the Chartbeat API to create an internal page that shows the staff just the information we use from that service
  • I’ve improved the stability of six newsroom monitors that are display stats, the Register website, and page layouts.
  • I’ve edited a few small blog posts and short articles.
  • I’ve submitted and tracked many IT tickets related to changes to website and email changes
  • I’ve made sure people moving into and around the newsroom have their phones set up and equipment moved.
  • I’ve provided a small amount of training about social media and posting graphics online.