Los Angeles Daily Journal editor David Houston clearly has a thing about his reporters being at their desks by 9 a.m. He has memoed on it at least twice that I've reported, most recently just a few weeks ago. Now comes another, chiding the staff for not yet allowing him the satisfaction of looking up at 08:59:59 to see their eager little faces. "Some of you think it is acceptable to send an email via your Blackberry from the comforts of your bed; it isn't," he writes. His memo after the jump also offers suggested reading for his reporters to find story ideas: "blogs and law firm client alerts and obscure trade publications."
Last month, I asked you to submit an email to your editor by 9:15 every morning detailing current events on your beat and what you would be working on that day. This was meant to spur research and discussion about broad themes and topics. Of course it was also meant to ensure you come to work at a professional hour. Some of you have complied with this instructive to the letter; others have not. Some of you think it is acceptable to send an email via your Blackberry from the comforts of your bed; it isn't.
This daily email is not an option and your failure to send an email on time, or at all, is being noted.
In the future copy firstname.lastname@example.org instead of copying Lisa Kestenbaum. Also, copy email@example.com on the Friday beat memos you send to your editor.
We are constantly searching for ways to cast a broader net for story ideas and sources. Some of you remember the era of the Wiki, when reporters were asked share news and ideas with their colleagues via our intranet. This wasn't a widely used tool. So I have decided to try something new: Whenever you send a story idea to a colleague copy firstname.lastname@example.org. Editors have access to this email and will check it as a way of ensuring their reporters are following up on ideas.
Again, the goal is to spur deeper reporting. We should be on cusp of our beats. By the time a story appears in the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle or the Wall Street Journal, it is usually too late for us. Read blogs and law firm client alerts and obscure trade publications. Talk to lots of sources on the telephone and in person. Share good ideas with colleagues. This helps us use our finite resources for the collective good of the newspaper. It is the thing that helps us compete with large publications. If your colleagues' reporting is sophisticated, you look good too.
Email addresses omitted by me.