Life and Times of a Working Journalist

Eight hours is a long time.

As someone who is fairly new to the world of working full time I find the whole 40-hour-a-week thing exhausting. It’s a very long time to be in the same place with the same people.

My first job was a part time, four-hour shift, which is typical for teenagers. In college, I worked for the journalism college’s graduate program and worked 15 hours a week as per the agreement with the school.

My first job at the weekly I started out at 40, but to save money I was told I would be working four days a week at 32 hours a week minimum to keep insurance but save money – which was fine with me, the less time there the better.

But now I work a minimum of 40 hours often times getting overtime. You can’t control when news is going to happen. So now I find ways of biding my time, making the hours shorter, well at least feel shorter.

I think the best way to do this is to break down my time in percentages.

A large majority of my time is spent actually working, which I can’t always say for my coworkers. I produce more than anyone else in the newsroom. I’ll give credit to working at the weekly where I had to turn out at least 12 articles in a matter of three or four days.

Now, most reporters get one assignment a day. The thing is I don’t do well with free time.

Less than 2 percent of my time is spent perusing the internet. I just don’t find it that entertaining.

About 8 percent is spent staring at my phone looking to see if I’ve gotten a text or an email and then replying to said messages.

Food is a big one for me, I’ll give it about 20 percent, although most of the time I am eating and working. I just find myself hungry all day long.

I recently started working the 6:30 a.m. shift, which means I eat at 5:30ish when I am commuting to work. Then I have to eat again around 9 a.m. which gets me through to 11 where I’ll eat crackers or another small snack then comes 2 and I’m ready for a big meal with some protein.

By the time I get home at 4:30 I am starving all over again so I eat dinner at the same time as the early birds and snack around 6. I blame the shift I work, although I seem to munch more than anyone else around me – their loss.

Intermittent through the day I also try to stay hydrated, for my health of course.

There’s the coffee that is found in the break room, ice water that causes my my boss’ eardrums to cringe because I love chewing ice and diet coke for that little boost.

Which leads us into at least 15 percent of my time being spent walking to the bathroom, being in the bathroom and walking back from the bathroom.

I’m not gross, promise.

I just have the world’s weakest bladder. It’s been compared to that of a field mouse, but let’s stay focused.

I love the bathroom. It’s a nice getaway. You can go in, do what you got to do then hang out. We have lotion, some smell good stuff, a long mirror – you can’t say that doesn’t sound highly entertaining.

Then there’s chatting.

I am an incredibly chatty person, so sue me. I would say around 10 to 20 percent, depending on the day, is spent talking with my cohorts about nothing related to work – they’re just so fun to talk with.

Now I’ll give my remaining time to work. From getting, reading, highlighting and writing arrest reports and public record to looking up numbers, calling, talking for stories and then the actual writing process.

The oddest thing about me is that what I spend the least amount of time on is the actual writing process. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t rush through and produce pure crap.

If I can start from the very top and work my way down I am pretty speedy. The writing where you add in as information comes is not my strong suit. But for my own stories, once I get that lede it’s all gravy.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I spend my time, which I’d say is pretty productive.

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2 responses to “Life and Times of a Working Journalist

  1. Your blog encouraged me to write down some of my own memories as a journalist on my own blog at http://conservativepoliticalblog.wordpress.com/

  2. I enjoyed your blog. I am a teacher and the majority of my time is not spent teaching but other activities such as conferencing, coping, planning, etc. So i guess most professionals are not what most people think they are. Keep up the good work!

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