Reporter's notebook

The object in the photo is a staple and icon of American journalism: a reporter's notebook. It's the last one I have from my days at the Seattle P-I and I have filled it up. Which means that another connection to my years in journalism has been broken (yeah, yeah, I can hear DylanW saying: "Cry me a river").

For years, until people starting recording interviews and taking notes on their laptops, the reporter's notebook was a standard item in the journalist's toolkit. It's 4 inches wide by 8 inches deep, spiral bound at the top, with lined note paper inside and a stiff cardboard backing.

Unless you have small hands, it's easy to hold and take notes on. It's particularly handy when you have to interview someone standing up, like at a fire or an accident. And it can be easily stuffed in a back pocket when you need your hands free.

I wasn't a reporter at the P-I, but I used the occasional reporter's notebook to take notes at meetings or for other work-related projects. This one followed me home. I've been using it in my new job, where I interview people all the time, and for the neighborhood web site I've been working on, Eastlake Ave, where I tend to be interviewing people and covering meetings.

My colleague at work, Sherry, and I are both refugees from the newspaper storm and we've asked to have some of these ordered for the office. I found some for our personal use yesterday at Staples. The brand name is "Evidence," which Sherry and I both thought was funny.


Rebekah Denn said...

Sad. I've still got a few empty pages in mine.

paulbalcerak said...

"Evidence"—that's fitting. I still have all my old reporters notebooks (not sure when the statute of limitations is up, exactly) and they've saved my ass more than once, on occasions when people tried to tell me they didn't say something I quoted them as saying.

Take copious notes! Best journalism advice ever.

Candace Heckman said...

Dude, seriously. Didn't you take a few extras for nostalgia? I have another for you. Come get it.

altf4ljdrama said...

Wow! The P-I had its own custom printed ones? Nice.

I feel like I should 'borrow' one from our office supply cabinet for my own meeting notes. In university I always used a steno. pad.