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Newsroom chatter distracting?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Jakewriter, Dec 17, 2012.

  1. Jakewriter

    Jakewriter New Member

    Hey all.

    I have a newsroom etiquette question.

    Recently, people have been complaining in our newsroom about one of my coworkers in the sports department.
    Now and then he watches games on the TV in the office, which is located in the sports section of the office. I have been with him and, sometimes he does raise his voice.

    Not too long ago he was at work and was watching the Apple Cup. He does not cover either school but is a Washington State alum.
    He, as you might expect, got excited after his team beat Washington. I didn't see a problem with that. We all get passionate about our alma maters teams now and then. Someone complained that he was being distracting, however. I wasn't there, but he seems to think it was bogus.

    My thought is if you don't cover the team you're rooting for, I think it's OK to cheer in the heat of the moment.

    Anyhow, what is your newsroom's policy on noise?

    Then, he and I were recently watching a game in the newsroom and again, someone apparently complained to an editor that we were being distracting.

    I thought that yes, we might have been a little loud, but it was not something I would have complained to my supervisor about.
    Yes, it was during both of our days off, and I suppose we could have gone somewhere else, but neither of us were being belligerent.

    (I have been on the other side, too. I can see how someone can be distracting in certain situations. My belief, and maybe I'm incorrect, but I think in any working newsroom you can expect a certain amount of chatter, especially in the sports department. Journalists in general I don't feel are quiet people.
    If you can't hear yourself think, there's a problem. If there are a few outbursts now and then, though, I tend to believe you can move on and do your job.)

    Anyhow, any thoughts would be appreciated! :)
  2. SixToe

    SixToe Well-Known Member

    Why on your day off would you go to your office to watch sports?
  3. Editude

    Editude Active Member

    All the newsrooms -- sports and non-sports -- I've had a hand in running have been relatively quiet. Unless doors are closed, audible cheeering for a random game is not professional.
  4. Jakewriter

    Jakewriter New Member

    I thought it was a little strange to be going into the office on our day off, but he asked me to come and I did.

    We might have been in the wrong by doing so, so I appreciate the feedback.

    Neither of us have cable and I guess didn't feel like going out to a sports bar.

    I suppose a workplace should be dedicated to working no matter what type of industry you're in. I can wrap my head around that line of thinking.
  5. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    To me, it depends on the time of day or night.

    If we're not close to, or off deadline, I don't mind the chatter. It's when we're on deadline, that's when I have an issue.
  6. BujuBanton

    BujuBanton Member

    yeah going to work to watch a game when you're off is definitely lame. I would bet that's why others complained.
  7. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    Definitely this. Chatter is inherent to the newsroom, but you have to be aware of how loud you are, how close to deadline you are and the people around you who may be bothered by it.

    When you're on deadline in sports and some news people who are done with their work come by and talk loudly about their cats or Facebook pages or whatever, would it bother you? It has happened to me, and is annoying as shit.

    And lastly, go to a sports bar to watch the game. It is a place of business, not your personal sports-watching lounge where you should go on your day off to catch a game and be loud as people are trying to work.
  8. Jakewriter

    Jakewriter New Member


    Not a bad idea at all. :)
  9. TheHacker

    TheHacker Member

    You have to respect the fact that you're in a workplace. It's not a typical workplace, to be sure, and some level of noise is to be expected by all. But if it's flat-out loud or constant, it's disrespectful to people who are working and are within earshot.

    At a place I used to work, a bunch of the reporters would pile into the break room all at the same time almost every day and carry on like it was happy hour. Seriously, I've been in bars that were more quiet. I'd blast music in my earbuds and I could still hear them over that. No joke. For a while I didn't want to say anything because I didn't want to be a dick, but after a while I finally didn't care anymore. They all thought I was an asshole, but they were making it impossible for me to concentrate. I couldn't talk to someone sitting across the desk from me. Our phones were voice over IP, so the sound quality sucked ass. I'd have to stick a finger in my free ear and still strain to hear if I was on the phone. By the way, I feel the same way about two people having a conversation right next to me while I'm on the phone trying to do an interview, or take a game result. You don't need to be standing right next to me to have your stupid conversation when you can see I'm trying to work.

    Bottom line, you can banter, but be aware of people working. You're not at home and you're not in a sports bar (which is where you should go if you have free time and want to watch a game). You're in a workplace. You don't need to be a mute, but just be respectful.
  10. writingump

    writingump Member

    At the last shop where I worked, there was one guy who didn't want anyone talking while he was writing and if you even sneezed, he'd march into the managing editor's office and whine. And of course, he'd get his way and you'd get called into the principal's office for your three licks and tongue-lashing. Made for a poisonous atmosphere in the office.
  11. Norrin Radd

    Norrin Radd New Member

    It's a newsroom, not a library.
  12. Gator

    Gator Well-Known Member

    I think you're probably overthinking things a bit here. Common courtesy goes a long way. And maybe you want to have a talk with said editor about the situation. You're all there working for the same team. It really shouldn't be that big of an issue.
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