TLP: On the Internet, No One Knows You're Sleep-Deprived
The Lazy Paperboy knows a thing or two about early mornings in the news business, starting with when he lugged a bag around the neighborhood before sunrise, rolling the papers and tossing them onto stoops. Sleeping in was, let's say, bad for business.
The NYT tells us about wake-up time for online journalists:
In most newsrooms, the joke would have been obvious.Turnover, apparently, has been high at Politico lately. And a top editor is said to pace the newsroom, asking who's been breaking news. The Lazy Paperboy knows that drill, too, and also knows the look the reporters are giving this guy after he walks by. Right before they take that personal time, you know, "if they need it."
It was April Fools’ Day last year, and Politico’s top two editors sent an e-mail message to their staff advising of a new 5 a.m. start time for all reporters.
“These pre-sunrise hours are often the best time to reach top officials or their aides,” the editors wrote, adding that reporters should try to carve out personal time “if you need it,” in the midafternoon when Internet traffic slows down.
But rather than laugh, more than a few reporters stared at the e-mail message in a panicked state of disbelief.
“There were several people who didn’t think it was a joke. One girl actually cried,” said Anne Schroeder Mullins, who wrote for Politico until May, when she left to start her own public relations firm. “I definitely had people coming up to me asking me if it was true.”
Such is the state of the media business these days: frantic and fatigued. Young journalists who once dreamed of trotting the globe in pursuit of a story are instead shackled to their computers, where they try to eke out a fresh thought or be first to report even the smallest nugget of news — anything that will impress Google algorithms and draw readers their way.