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.