Tag Archives: stuff journalists like

More journalism lulz

1) From part 3 of Held by the Taliban, New York Times reporter David Rohde’s account of his kidnapping and seven months held in captivity by Taliban extremists:

I argued that the United States was not the menacing, predatory caricature that they believed. I also tried to counter their belief that all Americans were astonishingly rich. Nothing I said, though, seemed to change their minds.

One day, I received a copy of Dawn, an English-language Pakistani newspaper, that featured an article on the perilous financial state of The New York Times. I saved the newspaper until commanders stopped by for visits.

Showing them the headline “New York Times Struggles to Stay Afloat,” I explained that the American newspaper industry — as well as the American economy — was in a free fall. They listened to what I said and nodded. Then, they ignored me.

HA! Stupid terrorists. Your naive Pollyannaism about the newspaper industry is downright charming. Maybe I could hand the phone over to a copy boy or a rewrite girl instead? Don’t you even read Romensko?!

Which brings us to:

Continue reading

Stop the presses (because my head is killing me)

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

Journalists agree: drinking gets a thumbs up

Journalists agree: drinking has legs

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.

Oh for the good old days?

The most recent addition to Stuff Journalists Like :

#5 the good old days

Good ole days There was a time when being a journalist mattered. A time when a press pass not only got a journalist past the crime tape but also maybe a free drink on the house, a girl’s number and a little respect.

There was a time when being a journalist meant drinking whiskey in the newsroom. A time when journalists were more concerned about sources and stories than web-updates and blogs. A time when newspapers were king and the biggest worry in the newsroom was filling the news hole. These were times when journalists loved newspapers and newspapers loved them back.

keep reading….


It’s true a bunch of us feel that way, and we didn’t even have the good ol’ days. Save for at The Diamondback in college, when sleeping, drinking and generally walking around in an unshowered mess in the newsroom were frequent occurrences. We got maybe a handful of years in the professional news world before everything crumbled, and kept crumbling quickly.

Let’s not forget one thing: the good old days probably really weren’t that good. Newsrooms used to be overwhelmingly white and male (something they’re still struggling with). Standards and ethics at a lot of publications were lower than they are today (some didn’t even create universal ethics standards until the late 90s or even later). Newspapers were essentially one-way monoliths of information with little interaction from readers outside the letters to the editor page. Lacking competition, there was still a prevalent “eat your broccoli” approach to some of the news reporting.

And, of course, it was the lack of foresight and sense of contentment from earlier newsrooms that helped push the press towards irrelevance today.

Our generation heard tell of the glory days of smoke-filled rooms and clacking typewriters from professors and mentors over the years. My first J school professor at GW, a former NYT reporter, told stories about being in the press pool for JFK when an event the next day was canceled. They all sat up drinking whiskey and getting rip roaring drunk late into the night. When they woke up in the morning, the event was back on, and the president’s people grabbed this professor, put him on a helicopter with Jackie Kennedy and flew his tired mass into the sky for a miserable day of reporting, rotor blades beating a hangover into his head with an unrelenting rhythm.

I couldn’t imagine what they’re telling kids in J schools now. The internet was basically covered in one elective J class at Maryland that was informative but sometimes moved at a glacial pace to accommodate some of the, er, lesser technologically inclined class members. Surely there must be some sort of intensive online reporting classes popping up by now, right?

But in a more hopeful tone, what will people look back on when telling stories about the new media revolution? Nights spent spilling drinks on your iPhone, inhabiting smoke-filled Gchat rooms, trading barbs with the local Sheriff via his Facebook wall, when telling a girl about your blogging would get you laid?