Downtime. Different photogs handle it different ways. Some use the idle spots in their day to brush up on new editing techniques. Others giggle at shadow puppets in the breakroom. Some cruise bad neighborhoods in hopes spot news will erupt. Others make like those crooked cops in Serpico and nap in their cars. Some pour over list of emergency services ten-codes. Others pour over interns. Me - I usually avoid downtime altogether by working sans reporter. That way, I'm never burdened with having to come up with new knock-knock jokes for the fellas; I'm too busy writing my story of the day (along with a fair amount of web-surfing). Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with cooling your heels while the reporter does all the heavy mental lifting. But I fear it's a dying artform...
...for the crew of tomorrow will most likely be an army of one. And armies of one experience very little rest and relaxation. VJ, Mo-Jo, One-Man-Band: you can call them human colostomy bags, but it doesn't change the fact that a myriad of forces is taking the 'crew' out of news crew. Don't believe me? You must not read much. Otherwise you'd know that markets large and small are embracing the solo-newsgatherer model like never before. But it's not because doing so will improve the product. It's for a far more important reason: MONEY. I don't know if you've heard, but the U.S. economy is in some kind of apocalyptic free-fall. Cars aren't selling, dealerships aren't advertising and as a result you average newscast is sporting a lot more look-at-me promos than honest to God paid-for spots. It's an oversimpified way of looking at it, but it does explain why the boss keeps talking about spontaneous vacations, don't it?
Of course you don't need this silly site to know the world is changing. But I'd be remiss in my duties as self-appointed pundit if I didn't mention one facet of these alterations: they're permanent. Sure, your company may one day reinstate their 401 K plan and I'm sure raises will one day return. But if you think for one skinny minute that newsrooms are going to learn how to do more with less, only to revert back to the tried and true ways of the good ole days, well then I'd further assure the video only looks blue in this particular monitor. So, what have we learned? A) The drama queens and A/V geeks of paradigms past are morphing into one multi-tasking, fairly sweaty individual. B) The resulting television will initially be as ugly as that pet primate who 'went chimp' on that poor lady and C) for once, looks don't matter. All that really matters is that your magnanimous affiliate keeps the juice turned on. Everything else is the equivalent of bathtub farts.
Now, make like The Senator pictured above and get some rest. We're all going to need it.