A Day in the Life of a Journalist

June 23, 2009
Hammering out yet another groundbreaking expose of school lunch menus...

Hammering out yet another groundbreaking expose of school lunch menus...

We’ve taken a look at the average blogger’s average day. Now let’s head over the educated half (degrees and such) and see how they live.

Over a breakfast of egg white-only omelets and Wild Turkey, peruse competing newspapers; Google self.

Board the subway. Crank iPod up to listen to John Sturm’s latest podcast dealing with the Internet’s lack of reliable reporting. Surreptitiously check self for irony.

Enter office. Tell Maureen Dowd you think she’s lost some weight. She growls and takes a drunken swing at you. Note to self: Should probably double-check your sources.

The reporter's best friend... except in "Naked Lunch"

The reporter's best friend... except in "Naked Lunch"

Gaze thoughtfully at your typewriter, admiring its ruthless efficiency and clean lines. Leave a note for the cleaning crew to have it dusted.

Fire up computer. Peruse email.

  • Latest LOLCAT
  • From the County Sheriff’s Dept. – Congratulations! You’ve just been served!
  • University of Phoenix Online – Stuck with the wrong degree?
  • все представить

Do some more “research” on this fascinating Ms. California. Set office IM to Do Not Disturb – “Researching”.

Head for local pub for more “research.” Tell yourself it’s important to touch base with the common man. Even (or perhaps, especially) if “Conspiracy Gary” is the only common man drinking this early.

Head to public library. Use their IP to edit your Wikipedia page.

Duck into Bacharach and see if Phil Alper can recommend a more “journalistic” fedora.

Check in with the boss and ask him if the paper’s website paywall is turning a profit. Dodge obscenities and empty whiskey bottles.

Start up a blog as an outlet for all the stories (see below) the boss wouldn’t let you run. Once again, run self-check for irony. Clean!

Prepare “Apples vs. Oranges” talking points for “Free is Not a Business Model” presentation.

Affect a general knowledge of passing trends while writing a vicious takedown on Crocs and the people who wear them.

Make some calls to verify whether or not high school renovations are actually on schedule.

Check on the paper’s latest “revenue stream.” Google “Google+Newspaper+Sue.” Again, nothing on the irony meter.

Get interns started on new poll: The Internet: Stupid or Worthless?

Head to lunch. Admire the restraint of those who can hold a “three martini lunch” to just three martinis.

Admire your diploma. Note that is has not one, but two, typos. Curse loudly.

Regret not going into the family business: topping and blocking hats.

Consider a career change. What business would benefit most from your misplaced superiority and your ability to ask inappropriate questions at awkward times? Telemarketing? Loan officer? STD Clinic?

Three Pulitzer Prizes and counting...

Three Pulitzer Prizes and counting...

Prepare emergency kit of hard liquor, painkillers and ego-salve prior to upcoming interviews with author Harlan Ellison, singer Lou Reed and musician Billy Bob Thornton.

Look over draft of “Obama & Family Dine at Sardi’s”. Notes from your editor – “Needs 20% more puff. And try to smile while you write this. People can tell.”

Check match.com for hits. Consider changing introduction paragraph which currently describes you as, “…a medium fish in a swiftly draining pond.”

Leave a biting comment on HuffPo: “Every time you get your news from a website, you’re taking food out of my kids’ mouths. Especially now that the state is directly garnishing my paychecks.”

Holy shit! Britney Spears dead! No time to verify sources! Jam it on the paper’s site and start hammering out the 1200-word obituary. Resist the urge to yell, “Stop the press!”

Head over to digg.com and play Grammar Nazi for an hour or so.

Write a post on your blog mocking the general waste of time most blogs are. Note to self: irony tester may be broken…

Spend 30 minutes or so perfecting your “run to row of phone booths” maneuver, just in case. Note to self: Need to improve “world weary reporter” look. Tends to resemble “disheveled and slightly drunk” instead. Perhaps the new fedora will help.

Try your “world weary” look on the ladies down at the bar. Mix it up with phrases like, “I’ve seen too much pain and suffering,” and “The important part is to stay objective, no matter how horrifying it is.” Be sure to gloss over that your main duties are high school sports coverage and the “Weekend Living” pullout.

Put the newspaper (and yourself) to bed at 1 a.m., secure in the knowledge that the important shit will wait until you wake up.



  1. what’s with all the typewriter pictures this morning?

    • Union thing. Should be over by today.

      Thanks for stopping in, Davis.

  2. From this dog’s viewpoint, this overstates the mental process and objectivity of today’s news fiction writers. My human, who is ancient, remembers back to when there actually were “journalists.” Ah, nostalgia! LOL! Good post. Sandy

    Visit me at http://www.sandysays1.wordpress.com

    • I think you’re right. This does give the average journalist way too much credit.

      Solid point, sandy. Thanks for dropping in.

  3. A delicious read Capitalist!!

  4. I’m thinking of trading my business degree for a journalism degree. It just seems like such a great life!

    • You could probably head straight for the corner office, what with your empty-bottle-throwing skills. And the office laser printer should be able to crank you out a degree in no time, with fewer typos.

      Good to see you, CC.

  5. Another day, another great post from CLT.

    I’m sending this to all my journalist friends. That should get them to leave me alone.

    • Perhaps it’s too subtle though, Alan. May fly right over their fedoras.

      Thanks for stopping in, Alan.

  6. I have so much to learn and so much to burn. I’m not sure which list is longer…

    • Burn one list. Work on whichever is left.

      Thanks for dropping by, RR.

  7. I’m adding you to my favorite list of journalists: Jonah Goldberg (LA Times), Jeff Jacoby (Boston Globe), Charles Krauthammer (Washington Post), Christopher Hitchens (Vanity Fair), David Brooks and Thomas Friedman (NY Times), and CLT (the blogosphere).

    • Wow. I am truly flattered, despite what I said about all the journalists. I hope my Univ. of Phoenix degree in Journalonomy comes soon.

      Thanks (again), Elizabeth3.

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