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Canadian media

Journalism junkies unite

Journalism junkies unite

For those friends and family who feel I'm ignoring them or can't understand why I'm not making co-ed ultimate frisbee games, Buck and Does, get togethers for great-grandmothers and other extracurricular fun a priority anymore, it doesn't mean I don't love you. It just means I'm busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kickin' contest these days. It's hard to articulate what it takes to produce a one-hour daily talk show for a spankin' new national news network, with the added pressure to daily increase ratings and disprove critics' assertions you don't belong in the rat race that is media, but here's a brilliant snippet from a veteran that knows it very well:

These stories will appear on the 6 o’clock segment of the show. But that’s only part of it. I also have to prepare 30-second voice-overs for both these stories, for the 5 o’clock segment of the show.

I swallow hard, glance at the clock (it’s already 2:30pm—two and a half hours to airtime.) I’m hungry, and my bladder is sending out worrying signals. But I’ll eat and piss later. There’s work to do.

I take a quick look at the last item on my agenda ( the third story.) No big deal. It’s a story that will be fed in from CHEK-TV in Victoria by 5:15pm for a quick turnaround into our 5:30 show. It’s labeled “Hot Dog”, about a police dog left in an SUV for three hours. One of the “shocking treatment of animals” stories. It sounds straightforward. I have a 17-minute window to make sure the story is in our computer, and to write the intro for it, and to insert the proper "super" information. No problem. (I can hear you laughing. Haha. Maybe you know what’s coming.)

The next two hours are a blur. I work my way furiously through seven voice-overs while the other writers, editors, producers and reporters enjoy lunch and toilet breaks. By 5 o’clock, I stretch, take a much-needed visit to the urinal and congratulate myself. I tell myself I’ve done pretty well for the new kid on the block. Just need to wrap up one more voice-over, then tackle the “Hot Dog” story, and my workday will be done. Another $230 in the bank, and I’d proven something to myself.

So yeah. I'm doing well to take time to pee these days too. Friends and family, gimme your grace along the way. At the end of the day, but mostly on the weekends when I have a second to breathe, I still remember what matters most in life. It's Saturday, my work Blackberry keeps flashing more incoming, but I'm heading out to my deck with a good book on a great summer day.