Journalists live and die by them.
As soon as a journalist gets a story assignment, the countdown to deadline begins. And unlike school homework or the outside world, there’s no option of getting an extension.
Deadlines are the leading cause of heaving drinking, chain smoking, ulcers, bad eating habits and missed recitals and anniversaries.
But journalists like deadlines because without them, nothing would get done. There’s never been a truer newsroom adage than “If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.”
Without deadlines, journalists would never know when to stop adding to story; a two-graph brief would morph into a seven-part series, complete with a multimedia package.
Some thrive off them, taking them on headfirst, while others will do anything to distract themselves from deadlines.
For some, a looming deadline is the best time to purge e-mail, reorganize contacts and figure out the combination to the newsroom supply closet.
If it were not for deadlines, the number of views of cute kitty videos on YouTube would be halved and journalists’ Facebook and Twitter accounts would be inactive. In fact, you can tell when journalists are on deadline by the spike in the number of their tweets and Facebook posts.
When under the gun, journalists put deadline before anything else in their lives, including friends, family and yes, even coital. There’s a reason why spouses of journalists are familiar with the saying, “Not tonight dear, I’m on deadline.”
The rush of punching out a story as the the clock ticks closer and closer to deadline has been described as the closest thing journalists get to racing in the Indy 500 being aboard the space shuttle finding exact change on your desk (and your co-worker’s) for your 9th soda of the day.
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