Update: Thanks for visiting. Please also read this post in response to the one you’re reading now.
1. One or two paragraphs of most stories are enough. (And that’s all you’ll read. Why do they write such long stories?)
2. Art is often more important that text. (You mean, I should have cut words to get in more photos?)
2a. Typo: “Art is often more important that [sic] text.”
3. What was once fast technological change to you is now glacial. (How long does it take to make a decent mobile site?)
4. People take long holiday weekends. (Wait. What?)
5. People play golf on Fridays. (But what about the Sunday copy? Oh. Right.)
6. Rush-hour traffic really does suck. (You’d never experienced it because you were in the office.)
7. It’s amazing how much you can get done at home between 5:30-7 p.m.
8. The city budget isn’t nearly as interesting, after all.
9. You don’t curse for no reason in everyday conversation nearly as much.
10. Anticipating criticism, you don’t inwardly cringe when someone refers to something they read in the paper. (Hat tip to Madison Taylor.)
11. You don’t care about whether blogs or Twitter or Tumblr “will save newspapers.”
12. You don’t have to eat meals from the vending machine. (But your skill at rocking the machine to free selections that are hung up is still useful.)
13. Your computer’s homepage is no longer your paper’s website. (Because who really uses a homepage any more? Note to newspapers: who really uses a homepage any more?)
14. Your “old” news judgment was wrong way more often than you thought. (No, that wet weather story shouldn’t have been on the front page. Nor that shooting. Nor that zoning story.)
15. You don’t wake up at 3 a.m. in a panic that you spelled someone’s name wrong. (Or forgot an assignment. Or failed to include a key fact. Or libeled someone.)
16. You don’t have to be polite to the trolls. (Yes!)
17. When someone tells you that they’re having problems with the delivery of the paper, you take great joy in saying, “That’s too bad. You do know that I don’t work there any more.”
17a. When someone tells you that they’re having problems with the liberal editorial page, you take great joy in saying, “That’s too bad. You do know that I don’t work there any more.” (Added by Kathryn Hopper.)
17b. When someone tells you that they’re having problems with the liberal editorial page, you take great joy in saying, “That’s too bad. I think they have gone too far to the right.” (From a former editor and then editorial page editor (who wrote the only Texas daily newspaper endorsement for Gore in 2000.)
17c. When someone tells you they’re having problems with the liberal editorial page, you can say, “Are you kidding? You call that liberal?”
18. Stories with attitude and a strong point of view are more interesting to read that most straight news. (Why are those relegated to the editorial pages?)
18a. The typo in #18 is seen and noted but no longer makes you crazy. (I am a double whammy since I also taught high school English. It is a curse.)
20. Getting it right is better than being first. (You knew that already, but damned if others do.)
21. You really can get much of what you need from Facebook and Twitter. (Who knew Amanda Bynes is such a twit?)
22. You miss your snarky, funny, charming, passionate friends in the newsroom. Non-newsroom people are, well, different. (Overheard in the Newsroom.)
23. “My readers know more than I do,” you believe…except when it comes to what the Founding Fathers thought of religion and the press.
24. You have a voice. (Objectivity, schmobjectivity. Now you can say what you really think.)
And from commenters:
25. You can slap a political sticker on your car/sign in your yard and not get in trouble. (Doing that for the first time was one of my favorite post-newspaper moments.)
26. My children recognize what I look like, and I see them when they are actually awake.
27. I haven’t had to apologize for missing a school play or program because a “big story” broke.
28. On Saturday night, I can go to dinner or a movie without having to excuse myself to check in on Sunday’s 1A.
29. You realize how expensive it is to travel without filing an expense report.
30. You walk outside every morning blissfully ignorant what’s on — and eager to see — the front page.
31. You miss the sarcsam, gossip and dark humor that reporters throw around the newsroom like parade candy when there’s an AP News Alert about a politician.
31a. You wonder if they still call them AP News Alerts.
32. Two-hour lunches with Ben. At The Village Tavern. Realizing maybe we didn’t have all the answers for saving the industry after all.
33. Lunch hour isn’t a myth.
34. My deadline is in TWO WEEKS?! Who does that?!
35. You stop referring to the newspaper as “we.”
36. You abbreviate “Drive” when you write an address. Also Road, Terrace and Circle.
37. You get a job where you are surrounded by people who find it dazzling that you actually meet deadlines.
38. You still follow firetrucks to see where they’re going.
39. You still e-mail tips to your friends and family who DO work at the paper and are thrilled when something makes it in.
40. You get really ticked off that you have to buy your own pencils and Post-its now. (Clearly Post-its are what caused all the layoffs.)
40a. And Manila folders!
41. It’s embarrassing when you watch the news or pick up the paper and haven’t heard about a big story that’s going on.
42. You wonder if the rumor you were told, or that feature story idea you discovered accidentally is worth letting the paper know, The longer you’ve been out of the biz, the harder it is to make that determination.
43. When it snows and everybody else gets to stay home, I do too.
44. You don’t feel the need to read all the back issues of the paper that you missed when you were away on vacation.
45. You may once again say “just over 50%” instead of the clunky “just more than 50%”
45a. You can put that period outside the quote mark, where it belongs, without the copy desk changing it. And you can start a sentence with “and”. And you can put that period …
46. You can ignore Monday’s paper because you know none of the stories were good enough to run Sunday, or even Saturday.
46a. You can *treasure* Monday’s paper because most editors have terrible news judgement and consign the really good stories to that day.
47. So THAT’S what a sunset looks like.
48. You realize that continuous cable news disaster coverage really is bad for you.
49. You automatically notice the number, direction and speed of passing police cars, and can tell the difference between a busy night and a big story. If you still know the guy on the night desk, you might even call it in.
50. You watch election results in your pj’s….
51. You actually READ the ads.
52. When a hurricane bears down, you head out of town instead of to the office.
53. You can drive by an accident without calling the city desk.
54. When the phone rings in the middle of the night, someone really has died, not just the presses.
55. You still have your pica pole and proportion wheel, but don’t know where they are in your house.
56. Professors ask you for advice instead of you calling them for quotes.
57. When someone you used to know interrupts you at your daughter’s dance recital to spread a bit of gossip they think would make a good story and you can politely say: “I don’t work there anymore. And I don’t care anymore.”
58. “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” is no longer prime-time TV.
59. Eating an entire bag of microwave popcorn after midnight (see: Craig Ferguson) no longer seems like a reasonable thing to do.
60. You don’t have to change three passwords every 90 days.
61. Since you no longer work nights, you don’t have to tell people that no, you are not a nurse. Or a vampire.
61a. Or a stripper.
62. If you were a copy editor, you no longer have to face the question that follows “I work at a newspaper” = “So, what do you write?”
63. You can get up from a desk (or couch) to pee when you DARN WELL WANT TO.
64. You don’t go to work every day wondering if it’s the day when YOUR position is eliminated in the latest round of layoffs/buyouts.
65. You can actually root for your favorite sports team.
66. It no longer seems as if 8 a.m. is WAY TOO EARLY in the morning. (And you can capitalize words like WAY TOO EARLY without getting grief from anyone.)
67. You never believe a rumor until it’s been officially denied.
68. You probably work in PR or marketing. There’s a good chance you don’t subscribe to or even read the paper any more.
69. Sadly, disasters and tragedies are no longer leavened by the world’s worst jokes.
70. You have to tell the whole joke now, not just the punchline.
71. (For those of us on the copy desk) You can no longer brag about getting the 10 Commandments down to six.
72. But you do write 10 as a numeral and spell out six.
73. You no longer have to defend the serial comma, and then change your mind and your argument when your paper does.
74. I have the scanner app on my phone, too. Sometimes I play it in the background instead of music.
75. The sweet smell of printer’s ink doesn’t linger like smoke in your conscious or send a chill through your neural net when detected.
76. You appreciate fully the value of letting a story stew a day or so before hitting the keys.
77. Your spouse, who still works at the paper, has to eat cold left overs because you’ve begun to see a 7:30 dinner time as too late to eat.
78. Your spouse, who still works at the paper, has to eat cold left overs because you’ve begun to see a 7:30 dinner time as too late to eat. (Yes, I know it is the same as 77. I’d fix it, but it relates to other comments now.)
79. You still don’t’ trust that your mother loves you just because she told you so. Verify, verify, verify!
80. You have to spend Christmas with your in-laws because “Sorry, holiday rotation,” is no longer a valid excuse.
81. You can watch your favorite TV show when it actually airs instead of DVR’ing it and trying to avoid spoilers.
82. You can eat real food on Election Night instead of the cold pizza/questionable cold cuts the bosses ordered for the staff.
83. You begin to question the wisdom of drinking three cups of coffee between 5 pm and midnight.
84. You look at the weather ear first – and not for the weather.
85. I can actually enjoy watching a ball game. I don’t care if it goes into overtime.
86. Two letter state abbreviations still make you stop and shake your head.
87. You get a bonus check instead of furlough leave.
88. You go to vote on election day and the candidate shaking people’s hands outside the polling station has no idea who you are.
89. You go to vote and you can’t distinguish one school board candidate from another, just like everyone else.
90. You don’t have to explain that, as a writer, you do not write the cutlines for the photos.
91. Your ability to spell decreases every week.
92. You are so relieved not to have to cover municipalities that are so unappealing because of their drama or their political leanings.
93. You’re not entirely sure who the lieutenant governor is, and you don’t really care anyway.
94. You finally meet your mailman. (OK, postal carrier.)
95. You notice all the typos in the paper and you wonder who is copy editing this stuff. Then you remember: No one!
96. You don’t schedule getting pregnant so you’ll be out on maternity leave during the next election cycle and won’t have to write voter-initiative summaries. (my friend the editorial page editor used to do this.)
97. When you run across a feature idea, you realize that even if you wrote it as a freelancer, the newspaper would only have 12 inches to put it in. So you move on.
98. You really miss the feeling of camaraderie in the newsroom and realize you will never again work with such a great group of bright, passionate, dedicated, fun, humble, educated and liberal folks in your life. As a newspaper reporter or copy editor, you could go to almost any newsroom in the country and would feel like you just belonged. This is what made the field worthwhile, despite the very low pay.
99. You read the names of folks who commented on this site, and realize you know some of them – or at least got drunk with some of them.
100. You don’t have to stick a fork in somebody’s eye to be one of the lucky few who get the day after Thanksgiving off. In fact, there are 10 paid government holidays in the year. Who knew?
100a. You don’t dread the approach of Thanksgiving Week, knowing you have 7 days of work to do in 4 days with fewer people and the biggest papers of the year to fill.
101. You are suddenly in awe of important people, the news and reading books bore you to tears, TV is just totally awesome, and sadly you realize you should have gone into PR instead of wasting 20+ years in the newsroom.
102. You can wear light-colored clothes again without worrying about getting the ink from a freshly printed copy on your sleeve or pants leg.
103. You know you are no longer in a newsroom when celebrities die and you do not have to “appreciate” them.
104. Your blood pressure drops 20 points.
104a. And you can stop taking those pills that you used to have to take in order to be able to deal with those f***ing idiots in the office (because you weren’t allowed to beat them).
105. You can drive by an accident or fire without stopping to take a photo.
105b. You drive by a gruesome accident without stopping but your innocent 5- and 7-year-old children in the backseat start kicking the back of your seat and yelling that you are missing a good TC, don’t you see it, aren’t you going to get hammered by your editor for not getting the art? They are like sponges.
106. You can think about how secure your new job is – unless you’re now in education or it is the year 2013 – in which case, you are no better off!
107. You don’t read your old newspaper on line any more because they put up a paywall and you decided it’s just not worth the money.
108. It drives you nuts that I wrote ‘conscious’ for 75 instead of ‘consciousness. (I think that means you are still a newspaper journalist, not an ex.)
108. You noticed that 78. was a repeat of 77. And it drives you nuts. (That, too.)
109. Your first instinct upon hearing breaking news at night is no longer to look at your watch and wonder whether there’s time to get it in the paper or how much of a scramble it’s going to be to redesign the front page.
But I will never abbreviate Road or Drive. Some things are sacred. :)
110. You finally appreciate a good photo essay. And yes, extended cutlines really ARE six-inch stories that have been chopped and rearranged.
111. This is more for the Circulation Manager: You can go to bed at 11 p.m. and not wake up until 7 a.m., and your wife no longer wakes up at 2 a.m. to tell you whether it’s snowing or not.
112. You enjoy it when your team comes back to win in overtime rather than just hope somebody scores so you can get it in the paper by midnight.
113. You can accept promotional samples at the store without seeing it as graft.
114. You throw out day-old pizza.
115. You still instinctively run towards a drama (accident/explosion/police vehicles/shouting crowds) than away from it. And know that you could have done a better job of the story than the one that appears.
116. When the tornado sirens go off, you go to the basement instead of to the office.
117. You still wake up having dreamed about doing an interview, losing a tape recorder or missing a deadline.
118. Your dog no longer poops on your bed after you have been gone covering endless days of a voter recount in which nothing changes.
119. Said dog now waits until 8 am to wake you up (and no periods on am and mass use of exclamation. Points and run ons and who thr he’ll cares about grammar and why should we read and let’s just garden all day and why are all my new colleagues nenerNEVER able to finish anything and just what do you do the Friday after thanksgiving and
120. You know that #77 and #78 on this list are identical — and you don’t care!
121. You realize how most reporters are just plain lazy and sort of stupid: doesn’t anybody make a cold call anymore? Doesn’t anybody understand why EBITDA is so important?
122. Your favourite band comes to town … and you have to pay for your own ticket!
123. Guinness and dry-roasted peanuts no longer constitute a viable evening meal.
124. You stop annoying your better half on vacation by compulsively checking the headlines – even when they’re in a language neither of you can understand!
125. (For British English speakers on titles which favour US English): you no longer have to stop yourself from writing ‘Dynamo are the champions!’ or go around excising ‘u’s from your text.
126. You no longer stagger half awake to pull the blue bag in from the driveway, because you’ve switched to the tablet edition. But you count the blue bags on your morning run, just to see who still reads the paper.
127. You smile rather than cringe when you notice there are two 108s, so everything after that is misnumbered. (I did it on purpose, given its (their?) message. :))
128. You can actually hit the send button on a text that uses an exclamation point without wondering if your editor will, 1. remove it; and/or 2. Scream across the newsroom that the only time an exclamation point may be used in news copy is the second coming of Christ.
129. You really miss reporters notebooks, and from time to time ask your less fortunate journalist friends to please “borrow” a couple for you.
130. You still remember how to count letters for headlines and occasionally do it just for fun.
131. I enjoy actually having Christmas and Thanksgiving off. At every newspaper I worked for we always had to choose. Who wants to do that?
132. You walk around and wonder, “Where’s the TV that’s tuned to the news 24/7??” And then realize there are no TVs.
133. Obscenities don’t fly out of your mouth — loudly and freely — when there’s a half-hour left in your day at the office. Instead, it just means it’s almost time to go home and have dinner with the family.
134. Your work phone doesn’t ring nearly as often. “Wait, people won’t call and yell at me about mistakes I didn’t make??”
135. When you use the phrase “the Dark Side,” you’re referring to “Star Wars” or Pink Floyd, not public relations.
136. You spend your days dreaming of ways to leave your current job, which has great pay and a brilliant future, to return to your old job, which has no future at all.
137. You make more money!
138. You don’t hope for big breaking news on a Sunday so you have a newsy front page on Monday.
139. You don’t dread major holidays anymore (because you’ll have to write a preview of what people MIGHT buy and cover what they DO buy).
140. Your weekend isn’t Tuesday-Wednesday.
141. You have the time, energy and funds to get your wife pregnant.
142. I can wear a cross now without caring whether the public would assume I’m biased or my colleagues judge me as “closed-minded.”
143. If I go to a graduation ceremony, I don’t have to look for something “different” and I get emotional when someone I know crosses the stage.
144. You hear siren close by and don’t bother looking up.
145. You use the word “media” as a singular noun the way everyone else does, without a twinge of guilt.
146. Now, the “man on the street” is just you, walking.
147. You tweet and retweet news from other media during breaking events because you feel responsible for keeping your followers informed. And you just can’t stop yourself.
148. It’s been days since you’ve read the news headlines and you find out (two days later) that a hurricane has leveled Oklahoma. (It did?)
149. It’s CRUEL that you put “24 + Signs That You’re Truly An Ex-Newspaper Journalist” THEN proceeded to do ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY-SIX! I am indeed an ex-newspaper journalist AND a reader, and that was WAY too lengthy.
Sorta like the tacky, long-winded preacher who said “finally,” then gave FIVE more closing points! (Can’t help it. People keep adding comments. But you don’t have to shout at me.)
150. You still make mental note of headlines that don’t contain a verb. Where do they get off with that, anyway?
151. You write mysteries and realize that it’s really fun to make this stuff up.
152. You no longer scream at TV news when the chyron has a misspelling.
152b. You know what chyron means. :)
153. You no longer watch TV news just to see if they’ve got something we don’t. You no longer think of TV news as them and print as us.
154. You no longer watch TV news.
155. You’re in awe of how quickly reporters today can post stories on line and thank God that you don’t have to do that.
156. You knew how to get good, reliable information before there was a Google, and you can’t believe how few people know how to get same good, reliable information now that there IS a Google.
157. You have time to blog about what you want to blog about — and to update your posts with an inordinate number of comments from smiling readers. (A perfect one to end with.)
158. For those of us who worked nights and weekends: You no longer have to take a vacation day just to attend a concert, party or wedding.
159. You feel like you still need to carry in a reporter’s notebook wherever you go but don’t pull it out because it still makes people act differently in front of you.
160. Lessons you learned from your first copy desk assignment are never forgotten: E.g.: Meetings aren’t “held,” they’re “conducted”. (The only two things you hold are elections and girls.) But you can let go of some things. Now, for the first time, you can allow someone buy you a cup of coffee without absently promising, “I’ll get the next one, okay?”
161. Your new work colleagues are astounded at how much you know and only wish Trivial Pursuit was still in fashion. You’d kill.
162. The employee handbook for your new job describes work hours as 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break, with nights, weekends, and holidays off. The Human Resources representative asks why you’re giggling.
163. You don’t miss retouching the really graphic photos that the public will never get to see or dealing with the writer that’s sure they’re also an art director.
164. You sleep through the night without being woken by a fire call on the scanner.
165. And you don’t have to go out of town to really feel like you are on vacation.
166. Not having a dozen reporter’s notebooks around means you have nothing on which to write a grocery list.
167. But when you see an investigative series done right (it took time and money!), you exhale with pride…and feel that pang of wishing you could do it again. And when you get to join your first march–for Single Payer Health Insurance–you realize that there are other ways to walk your talk!
168. You still have twinges of survivor’s guilt.
169. You work for the governmental entity you used to cover and make fun of. Now you make fun of the paper.
170. Before going out, you don’t always have to check your purse/glovebox or back pocket for slips of paper just in case you see something happen on the way to the supermarket, library or beach. Oh, yes, and you get to go to those places at normal hours.
171. You can laugh about the kind of stuff we all –at least, on occasion– had to write: http://redroom.com/member/earl-merkel/blog/a-recovering-journalist-remembers-chicken-little-the-bangladeshi-computer-ga “A Recovering Journalist Remembers Chicken Little: The Bangladeshi Computer Gap”
172. You no longer have to “Save early, save often.” because a passing storm may blow your copy away.
173. In your heart of hearts, you prefer to read upside down and backwards. (Is that too old for you, John?) (Nope. It’s a skill I teach.)
174. You miss the break room where you waited for the floor and walls to shake when the presses rolled off the latest edition.
175. You tirelessly have to explain to your colleagues in marketing why, when writing a press release (a.k.a., Media Advisory) WHY it is IMPERATIVE to put the damn TIME first as in “….at 2 a.m. on Friday, May 5, in the Staples Center, 555 Nowhereville, California etc….etc….” It seems, to them, so BACKWARD! Shouldn’t it be “on Fri., May 5th (note the th) at 2 a.m. ….” they ask. Dolts.
176. … and I might add they want to type: “2AM” or “2am” or “2:00 a.m.” or “2:00 in the afternoon”…… AAArrrrggghhh.
177. Finally – we must learn to BEG for old AP Stylebooks off our former colleagues because one cannot go through life without checking how to appropriately capitalize, or not, Northern (northern?) California….etc., ad nauseum. My Strunk & White is also so battered as is my copy of the US Constitution. (as amended).
178. You stop referring to the police station as the cop shop.
179. You feel ambivalent when changes are made to AP Stylebook.
180. You don’t know and have never heard of your local newspaper chain’s vice president of operations, or who is likely to be the local rag’s next publisher, and never read thumb-sucking editorials or promotions about this weekend’s revealing features.
181. You don’t know anyone who has “relatability” because you don’t know or care what relatability is.
182. For all that, you still miss Shoe, Pogo and Herblock.
183. You secretly fantasize that when you happen to be visiting your husband’s newsroom and jokingly offer to put together the NHL roundup, someone will yell “Yes, please! And can you edit the Mets gamer, too? And there’s a pile of page proofs over there. And when you finish that, we need captions for an online slideshow.”
184. As a former TV newswriter it drives you crazy that spell check thinks newswriter is two words.
185. You feel the need to email the newsroom whenever a broadcast talent or reporter misuses the word evacuated or electrocuted. Electrocuted means dead. People can only be evacuated if you administer an enema. Buildings, cities, etc. are evacuated. People are evacuated from planes, ships, towns, etc.
186. You know casualty means dead and injured, but know most everyone thinks it just means dead.
187. It still drives you crazy that the broadcast talent gets paid so much more when they do so much less than the folks in the newsroom.
188. It drives you nuts when broadcast talent say things like “2 A-M in the morning”. (And yes, that’s how folks in broadcast news write A-M.)
189. You find your friends from journalism school and the various newsrooms you’ve worked in are not only brighter, but more fun in general than your other friends.
190. I got in trouble on my first day back from maternity leave for refusing to go cover an execution because I was still breastfeeding my baby, and the baby would certainly not be allowed in the death chamber. I could tell my editor thought that was a piss-poor excuse.
191. You look up from your desk at 5:10 p.m. and realize everyone else in the office is gone. Then you sneak out too, feeling guilty for “leaving early.” But there’s no one left to see you leave.
192. You no longer find yourself standing outside the paper with four or five colleagues where you all waste 10 minutes of lunch time scratching your heads deciding on where to have lunch.
193. You still think of PR as the Dark Side.
194. You miss the giddy excitement from being on the right track in an investigative story, as confirmed by the people threatening to kill you.
195. Bureaucrats do not recognize your name and treat you with the same contempt they have for everyone else. Except reporters.
196. You know your days as a hack are over when that last inch of tar like sludge at the bottom of the newsroom coffee pot no longer holds any appeal.
197. You suddenly realize that being a journalist was what you did and NOT who you are… Proof: when someone says ‘tell me about yourself’ your first instinct is to say something far more interesting than ‘I’m a reporter/editor/photographer.’
198. You no longer feel the need to point out that “half mast” is inaccurate and should use “half staff,” unless you’re actually referring to a flag on a ship.
199. You can read The Onion and enjoy it instead of cringing every time they violate AP style. Or have too much white space in a headline.
200. You finally throw out all those microcassette tapes you kept in case a slimy politician claimed you misquoted them.
201. You no longer grab a camera every time you walk out the door.
202. You long for the days when you could swing by the bank, post office, etc. on your way to or from an interview instead of doing it on your lunch break or after work.
203. You no longer feel the need to defend the industry and become one of its harshest critics. “Back when I was a reporter …”
204. You realize your ability to eat fast food while driving 60 mph to a fire/crash/meeting and not drop any is useless in “the real world.” (I’m not so sure about that!)
205. You no longer score better than the panelists on the NPR news quiz show “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me.”
206. You own stocks. Not only mutual funds. Stocks.
(Please add your observations in the comments and I’ll pull them out onto the post.