The Election Work Diary of a Reporter With 2.5 Million Subscribers


11:20 a.m. Polished off a piece for Vanity Fair about some of the red states that might tip in a fluky wave election. They’re gracious enough to let me write for them when I can find time. “Good Luck America” is obviously a video format, but writing is my first love, so I need an outlet for it.

Keep up with Election 2020

3 p.m. Had a bunch of Amazon deliveries: Halloween decorations. I’m a huge Halloween guy. I do my yard up in a big way. Eric Garcetti is forbidding trick or treating this year, but my house is on a big trick-or-treating street. I bought six feet of PVC piping to slide candy from a distance to any kid who comes by.

8 p.m. Text my producer, Charles Bay, with story ideas for tomorrow.

7 a.m. I get up, make coffee, take Boone out and grab the newspaper. I subscribe to The L.A. Times, and The New York Times on the weekends. I’m an evangelist for new journalism formats, but I still think print newspapers might be the best vehicle for news discovery. Online, I read almost exclusively about politics, sports and music. But just by serendipitously paging through the paper, you find stories you would have missed in your feeds.

8 a.m. By now I’m just catching up on whatever news has already happened on the East Coast, and looking for story ideas. I’m also listening to NPR on KPCC. Did I mention I love local news?

9 a.m. My producer and I always text around this time, identifying our story for the day. We produce the show for 6 a.m. E.T. the following morning, sort of like The Times’s “The Daily.” We don’t bother living in the immediate news cycle. News is just ambient for our audience — sometimes politics is just background noise — and they’re coming to us for quick clarity and authority on something important. We have about 2.5 million subscribers, and the vast majority of them are under 25. They aren’t watching cable news or looking at Twitter all day.

10 a.m. Charles and I riff on a script in a Google doc for about an hour. The show is short, about three minutes of fast-paced vertical video, and it’s competing for attention with a lot of other stuff on your phone. We rely a lot on humor and quick video clips to keep people engaged. Charles is a ninja at finding obscure clips on YouTube and Twitter.

11:10 a.m. Because I prefer to travel rather than doing the show from a studio, we had already developed an easy way to film from anywhere with professional sound, lighting and a phone. So it was an easy transition to filming from home when the pandemic started. (Why do men still wear a jacket and tie at home when they do a news hit? Everyone knows you’re wearing shorts.)


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