Before becoming a journalist, Brian Day had been fascinated with science ever since he was a child, and actually had thought that he would eventually embark in a career within a scientific occupation. According to Day, “I sort of stumbled into it [journalism]. I was going to Cerritos College, and I had an undeclared major and I had just taken a newspaper class just thinking it could be interesting.” Interest sparked into a genuine liking to journalism, and Day retook the class, eventually serving as the opinion editor for the school’s newspaper.
It was this class that led to Day declaring journalism as his major, and pursuing a career within the field of journalism after graduating.
Day, 32, has been a reporter for the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, as well as for “sister papers” the Pasadena Star News, and the Whittier Daily News for the past 7 years. Based upon what Day shared about the profession, it is safe to say that a journalist must be a master of multitasking.
Concerning the workload of a crime reporter, Day stated, “It is pretty crazy, especially on this beat because my main beat is crime and courts, and so it is kind of dictated by the bad guys so-to-speak.”
Life as a crime reporter, according to Day, is stressful in that there is a pressure and a desire to “own your beat.” One day, not much can be happening and a reporter chooses to write about a routine arrest, compared to other days where there might be multiple murders, or a major court issue. Due to the nature of such differences, Day stated that it causes this profession to be simultaneously stressful, exciting, and unfortunately at times uneventful.
“The job is separated into periods: sometimes it can be hours of sheer boredom, followed by hours of terror and stress,” said Day.
Prioritizing is a major skill that is required by public affairs reporters, and one that is essential to Day throughout his daily tasks. There is no multitasking without prioritizing.
According to colleague and fellow crime reporter Ruby Gonzalez, 46, “Brian can turn in the stories really fast. It’s not unusual for him to turn in several stories in a day. In fact, I think I’ve seen him finish 7 stories in a day.” Gonzalez attributed Day’s passion for breaking news and his skill for multitasking to the fact that he never loses sight of why he is a journalist, and that is to bring a voice to those who do not have a voice of their own.
Another ball to juggle when multitasking is sifting through tips. According to Gonzalez, call-in tips and sources lie to journalists a lot for reasons not completely known. Gonzalez attests to Day’s ability to simultaneously sift through the lies respectfully, and obtaining truthful information via rigorous fact-checking. The process itself is not difficult, but it can often feel tedious especially after fact-checking so many other false claims.
Many of the stories that Day writes are breaking news stories, and because Day writes for 3 different papers, they each have their own daily deadlines for print. Whittier’s deadline is 8pm, Pasadena’s at 9pm, and San Gabriel Valley’s at 10pm. With online reporting, Day stated that it is highly encouraged to do constant updating through the use of technology whether it be through social media sites like twitter or updating on the papers’ websites. As the facts develop, journalists are expected to update their readers as the story progresses.
Multitasking is a skill that must be refined and constantly sharpened if it is to be done effectively, and according to Day, technology makes this possible for modern journalists. “Think digital, think multi-platform. More and more, as news publication becomes an increasingly online activity, reporters are asked not only to write stories, but to take photos, video recordings or audio as well. Here at the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, as well as throughout our parent company, Digital First, reporters are encouraged to take images and videos while reporting.”
Finally, although the amount of time required of journalists to stay on top of their beats is extensive, it does not necessarily have to take away from a journalists’ personal life. According to Day’s younger brother, Stephen, 26, “He’s mostly present, I mean he has had to work some holidays but not very often. He works pretty long hours, but he’s never difficult to get a hold of.”
Journalists are often seen as having no lives outside of their careers, but Day’s ability to multitask proves that a journalist can do their job effectively while maintaining a healthy personal life as well. According to
The profession of journalism requires passion, guts, and above all the ability to multitask. If the skill of multitasking is refined and done correctly, a journalist can be good at their job and have a life of their own as Day has demonstrated. Working long hours and receiving little pay for the hard work that is done is rewarded by the knowledge that the information being shared helps people every day, and it is those whom journalists serve and are loyal to.