Scary stories for journalists

  1. Your deadline is in 45 seconds.

2. The high-ranking source you’ve been pursuing for weeks finally agrees to meet with you. Joy! You get all the best quotes and juiciest leads. You rush home to play back the interview, only to realize your device is set to “ready to record.”

3. You decide to check how many of your Twitter followers are actually real people.

4. The next day, Facebook reveals the truth about video ads.

5. It’s one to three hours before your deadline and a crucial source decides they don’t want to talk to you after all. You beg and cajole; you sternly point out that it’s really in *their* best interest to speak with you. The source allows a mountain of your emails, tweets and voicemails to accumulate, unanswered, on their phone. Then they get back to you and say they’d be happy to talk, but only if it’s off the record.

6. The all-important FOIL arrives, but…

8. Your editor decides it’s time to appeal to a younger audience, so they add “AF” to the end of every headline.

9. The Curious Incident of the Creepy Source in the Nighttime. You needed them for a story, not your love life, but they refuse to believe your attention and charm was just them being used. They now have your phone number and email. And your Twitter. And the link to your personal website, which posts your resume which contains your address. And your SecureDrop info. And your PGP key, in case they want to send you encrypted love messages.

Contact us! In every way imaginable

10. The coffee machine breaks.

11. Your newsroom attempts a “pivot to video.” Instead of writing 45-second articles of questionable news value, you will now stand in front of a wall and speak them into a camera. It’s ok, though; your producers will put sliding green subtitles along the bottom which will occasionally “jump out” at viewers and grab their attention.

12. Your team is working on an investigation. Your editor assigns you to read through the past 20 years of IC-103@WSP% forms for “irregularities.”

13. You see your dream job posting, only to stop short at “proven track record of high-impact journalism.”

Happy Halloween.