Working from home is the new journalism for me

betty ming liu Money, Writing how-to's 8 Comments

Home is the new newsroom. That became my deal when I started my job this year as an online reporter. And I totally love it because I NEVER EVER COMMUTE TO WORK.

In my old school journalism world, freelance writers were the ones who usually worked from home. But as a full-time staffer immersed in 21st century media, I am now “working remotely.” Still makes me laugh to say that out loud because it sounds so modern.

Actually, the news gathering process is indeed cutting edge. In addition to all the Internet-based reporting combined with live interviews, the research process is incredibly intense. Thanks to my company-issued iPhone, I’m able to shoot photos that are instantly emailed to the newsroom for posting on our website. If I’m on a breaking story and there’s wifi nearby, I pull out my work laptop and file my article within minutes of the event. (As a last resort, I will type stories into my cell phone, which can be difficult.)

The job also gives me what I appreciate most: cozy, old-fashioned nesting moments. What a joy to roll out of bed every morning, make my bed, dress, put on makeup, feed the pets, walk the dog and breakfast while reading my home-delivered New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Afterwards, I go upstairs to write and make phone calls while one of the cats sits on the desk as my little dog curls up by my feet. Ahh!

This evening, I have a bunch of videos that I shot which must be sent via laptop to the webmasters in our midtown Manhattan newsroom. You know what “working late” looks like right now? I’m sitting here in gym shorts and an old tank top with a green clay masque plastered on my face as I cue the “upload” buttons. In between doing that, I’m able to…blog! Meanwhile, my daughter is popping in and out to let me know what’s up as she moves through her busy social schedule with friends.

Maybe you’d like a look at my desk. In addition to the company MacBook Pro, there’s also my own Mac desktop and my personal MacBook Pro. When I’m filing on deadline, I use all three machines at once. The story gets hammered into the work laptop which is rigged with special website-related software. Meanwhile, I view notes on the big screen and keep my own laptop available for monitoring incoming emails.

It took me a while to figure out the best work station layout but now everything flows. The laptops are sitting on good-looking, $14.99 metal kitchen shelves from the Container Store. Rosebud’s keeping my seat warm while I run downstairs to the kitchen for a snack.

So that’s my life. On good days when the stories are popping, I’m truly happy. And on the bad days when I’m overwhelmed,  it’s great to dash across the hall to my bedroom, where I can immediately collapse and pull the covers over my head.    :)

 

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Comments 8

  1. Your office set up looks like you spend a lot of time day trading! (Hope you didn’t bite into the Facebook fiasco! Maybe you took a chance and lost big BECAUSE dour Rosebud looks like he’s seen his future on all that equipment, and it looks grim! No doggie treats for him?) Rosebud surely can wean a story out of the most recalcitrant. You’re lucky to have that cub reporter at your side with a wet nose. soft eyes, and gentle heart!

  2. What a fun peek inside your daily life! I work from home, too, and wonder if people know that when I’m emailing them I’m sitting at my kitchen table ;) I started dressing nicer recently, so instead of dropping off my kids wearing sweatpants, I wear relatively professional clothes so people don’t invite me to go to coffee or yoga– and I don’t get tempted to take them up on it.

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    Author

    Charlotte, I was worried about the isolation too. But my animal farm in the house keeps me company. And there are usually enough staff meetings and constant phone calls/texts/emails to keep me in the loop. It all helps.

    Stephen, Rosebud is a girl! Could you really imagine a boy dog named Rosebud??! But yeah, she was crabby that I put her on the chair. It’s not her usual spot. And no, I didn’t invest in Facebook — don’t have money for that!

    HapaMama, when I took Alyson Stanfield’s online Artbiz courses and learned to make room for changes, she stressed the importance of looking professional while working from home. She told us that she won’t even check email until she has her makeup on. Here’s one of my posts about her. https://bettymingliu.com/2011/12/making-room-for-change/

    Now time to grab something for lunch in the kitchen, then back to my desk. Thanks for checking in! xo

  4. Nice peek into the new world of journalism and how you keep up with it all. Pets and a bedroom down the hall are nice distractions, with no traffic to get home to. Thanks for keeping us in the loop.

  5. Wow! It really is a newsroom in your home!

    BTW I’m thinking of taking Alyson’s Blast Off… trying to fit it into my day-job schedule.

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    Author

    Skye, my schedule can be insane but at least work is interesting — and home is always close by. That means a lot.

    Laura, take Alyson’s class. She’s worth every penny and ounce of effort. You can work it into your schedule. You won’t regret it!

  7. Betty,
    Good to see you have found something that works for you ergonomically. I have a funny story about that which my little related to me last Christmas. He works for DC shoes as their chief designer which was bought out by Quicksilver so now they have an IS department. He always pulls off one of the control keys off his keyboard because he is constantly hitting it accidentally. Then the IS department comes by sees the missing key and replaces his key board. He has a whole drawer of the keys. It is this sort of thing that makes it better working at home.

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