Thursday, January 25, 2018

How Come You Don't Talk About What You Do In The News Business On Your Blog?

Answering the questions people have
asked (or I have asked myself) about
my past, present, or future.
I have two simple reasons for this. The first is contractual. Under the terms of my employment agreement, I can't get into a lot of nitty-gritty about what happens on the job. A compatriot for my company at another station used to blog a lot about work; that blog eventually vanished. Even though I avoid work topics, my corporate advisers have said it's still a good idea to put a these-thoughts-do-not-reflect-us disclaimer into the boilerplate you see on the right of this page. I don't see that as particularly controlling. It's more a fact of life in these days where people will pounce on journalists for the slightest mistake and amplify it to the highest degree.

The second reason is personal. I spend about seven hours writing and updating scripts on the news of the day. By the time my day is over, I feel like a squeezed-out toothpaste tube. Nearly nothing is left. The last thing I want to do is go home and write more about those things.

Let me put it another way. Parents, have you ever wondered why, when you ask your kids what they did at school that day, they say, "Nothing much?" What you don't know, and what your kids aren't telling you, is that "nothing much" is shorthand for, "I just spent eight hours in front of a boring teacher, doing hard work and not understanding everything, and probably having to put up with garbage on the side -- and now you want me to relive it for you?"

If you are fortunate enough to have a job where you don't have to take your work home with you, leave it there. I know when I learned to define that boundary, I felt better. I adjusted better. I will still ingest news in my off-time, but on my own terms, not somebody else's.

Some of you may scoff at the concept of "work-life balance," thinking it's one of those terms spoiled people invented in order to justify slacking. Not so. I see it as not letting work define your life outside your working hours. Unfortunately, that doesn't work out as reliably as it should in breaking news situations. But you do the best with what you have.

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