There is something almost magical about an abandoned newsroom - it's like a giant reminder the world goes on without us prodding it this way and that. But there is also something haunting about tv screens flickering away, silently behind empty desks; a portrait of the hollow, skittering world of a 24-hour news cycle and its cousin, the modern appetite for constant consumption of information.
What am I bringing this up for? Well the general gets personal.
As I sit here in an empty newsroom with nothing to do, I start to feel guilty. There is no news around, and so I am reduced to filling my time with non-work related activities.
Some nights, things are insanely busy and I haven't time to do anything except write/edit stories, call the emergency services and monitor the news. But other nights, like tonight, I've written one story in 4 hours and I'm completely bored.
During these quiet times I struggle to stay awake and stimulated, and feel extremely lazy. But there's nothing I can do - the news is the news, and I can't make it up. In fact, if I ever do that, you have permission to shoot me.
Usually I end up reading blogs, news sites, reading a book, writing on here, writing poems, listening to a podcast, making coffee and wasting time on facebook. It's inspiring stuff...
So I'm wondering, what are the ethics of being paid to do nothing, and how can I use my time more wisely?
The best nights are when there's just enough to keep you busy, but not overwhelmed. Unfortunately, those nights are rare. Sometimes, it makes me wish I was a manual labourer with a much more obvious path, and a more rewarding one (see: post on washing up). But I doubt I'd survive out there in the real world!
So, people, tell me: what can I do in the downtimes that is worthwhile and good, or, alternatively, how should I think about these times when there is nothing to do?