Well duh. From a story in The Independent (UK) on Monday:
People working in media, publishing and entertainment sectors are the heaviest drinkers, according to the Department of Health. They consume an average of 44 units a week, almost twice the recommended maximum amount of three-to-four units a day for men, and two-to-three for women.
Job by job: The alcohol league
*Media, Publishing and Entertainment sectors 44 units per week
*IT workers 34 units per work
*Service sector workers and retail 33 units per week
*Finance, insurance and real estate 29 units
*Education and transport workers 24 units
It’s from England, and it’s a bit of a broad category (does entertainment include everything Amy Winehouse has consumed?), but I don’t doubt it’s true for just media and similar in America too. I’ve been waiting for them to add “hard drinking” to the list at Stuff Journalists Like. I bet it’s on its way. Hard drinking and hard deadlines are like a test of your worth among seasoned press folk: “Do it without vomiting next time and then you can call yourself a reporter, kid.”
A hallmark trait of working at a newspaper is having to cover a fire, car wreck or plane crash with a hangover mocking and jabbing you from its comfortable perch in the back of your brain. I once was wrenched away from a sedate hangover-at-the-desk-day to go stand in the rain for hours covering a major bank heist on Hilton Head (by the Bandaged Bandit, if any y’all remember him) until I couldn’t take it any more and had to slip behind some bushes to … you know … do what you do behind bushes on a hangover day. And the story was still pretty damned good, if I do say so myself (and I do).
Many reporters I know have stories about being called into duty after hours when they were already a few steps into their cups. This guy once came stumbling up to our newspaper office at GW at 2 a.m. drunk and in a mad scramble for a notebook so he could go report on the big frat/student
government candidate party that was getting busted. We had sent him to the party undercover and he made sure to blend in by drinking lots of beer (why I was at the newspaper office at 2 am on a Saturday has nothing at all to do with not having any friends or being an irreconcilable newspaper nerd, btw). Now he works for Newsweek, has been to Iraq a few times and was interviewed on NPR and appeared on The Daily Show on the fifth year anniversary of the war. So, yeah.
It’s hard times out there for people in media and publishing, and “media/publish” is probably on track to overtake “professional alcoholic” in terms of highest beverage consumption demographics. But are things really that bad for you IT folks that you are not far behind? YOU HAVE ALL THE JOBS WE USED TO HAVE! Maybe it’s celebratory drinking?
I used to try to raise a glass in honor of every paper we’ve lost or significant layoff that is announced. Then I died from alcohol overdose and my doctor recommended I stop for a minute.
Nice ruminative piece. My only question: why am I not in that picture?!