Russell Wangersky: A day in the life of the media elites

Russell Wangersky
Published on November 18, 2016

A new buzzword for critics of modern journalism is to attack the media "elite". The reality is not so glamourous.

6:40 a.m. — Wake up. It’s still dark out. Shave. Sink drain still slow. Shower. Stand in hot water, trying to figure out what to write a column and editorial about.

Russell Wangersky
File photo

7:06 a.m. — Make lunch. Use plastic bag apples came home from store in as sandwich bag. Have saved the cost of one whole sandwich bag. Check weather on phone – promise myself yet again that I will not look at email until I’m at work. Look at email. First email calls me hopelessly incompetent, but manages to misspell both my first and last names. Cat has thrown up.

7:21 a.m. — Walk to work, hoping the rain will hold off. Best rain jacket I own is a promotional jacket from my employer. Downside: newspaper’s name is writ large on the back. Sometimes engenders spirited commentary from passing motorists.

8 a.m. — Arrive at work only slightly damp. Read through front page of websites for National Post, Globe and Mail. Open email: read through headlines package and interesting stories from New York Times and Washington Post. Use Google News to read trending stories. Check email. Decide not to reply to email that uses the word “Leftard” six times. Close email. Feel it’s time for a glimpse into the 9th and 10th Bolgia of the bitter Maleboge ditches of the eighth circle of Dante’s Inferno. Open comments moderation.

9:30 a.m. — Decide never to write anything again.

9:35 a.m. — Use CANLII legal information website to read newly posted criminal and civil verdicts in provincial and Supreme Courts from across the country. Review the Supreme Court of Canada’s agenda for the week. Wonder about man’s inhumanity to man. Stockpile cases for in-depth reading for future editorials and columns.

10 a.m. — Locate topic for editorial. Begin research. Computer pings that there is an incoming comment on an earlier column. Don’t look, don’t look … look. “Only silly idealistic elitists who don’t actually have to practice what they preach when it comes to all this boundless tolerance that they like to wax on about would be against screening. … Anyway, have fun patting yourself on the back.” (See 9:30 a.m.)

11:30 a.m. — Finish editorial. Research has included analysis of provincial budget estimates and calculation of increase in costs in four programs over three fiscal years, a dig-down into spending by other provinces, reading of six stories from three sources. Willing to bet at least one reader will call me an idiot.

Noon — Lunch at desk. Package of instant curry noodles. Had a sandwich, but ate it at 9. It’s a new buzzword, the media elites, as if working to find factual information and deliver it to readers is somehow secondary to a master plan of over-weaning righteousness. “Elites” alone makes it sound as if people working in the media believe themselves to be somehow better than their readers or viewers. Hardly.

12:10 p.m. — Start column. Research. Want to have an engaging, new take that will bring readers into the column quickly. Try four different beginnings. Settle into writing – brightest spot of whole day.

3:10 p.m. — Send column for editing. Check email. Nope, still no email with marching orders from “Supreme Commander, Left-Wing Media Conspiracy Headquarters.” Feeling forgotten in this outpost. Read interesting B.C. court case about propriety of police search of cocaine-laden suitcase on flight destined for St. John’s. Open comment moderation. Close comment moderation.

4:30 p.m. — Walk home. Look at salmon in grocery store. Too expensive. Look at beef. Ha-ha-ha. Pork chops it is. Remember that government communications salaries are half again what I make. But I’m an elite, right?

7 p.m. — Writing community volunteer work in upstairs office. Moderate comments at home. Plan about off-hours gratis university presentation.

11 p.m. — Bed.

Maybe my boss is this elite they are all talking about. No, he’s still driving a car that was new in 2006. Tomorrow? Wash, rinse, repeat.

Russell Wangersky is TC Media’s Atlantic regional columnist. He can be reached at — Twitter: @Wangersky.