Friday, January 21, 2005

Feeling OK?

A new study confirms what most of us have known for a long time. Practicing journalism is bad for your health. The Chinese Physician's Association studied 1,182 reporters in Beijing and found that only 28 of them were healthy. The most common ailment was chronic exhaustion, which was reported by 84.2% of the research subjects.
Now things may be worse in China, but there's no denying that bad health is common among journalists around the world. Take a look around your newsroom, and note how many folks are obese, reek of cigarettes or appear to suffer from a stress-related mental health issue.
The problem may be that a reckless disregard for health is part of the journalist persona. Nowadays I practice yoga. I don't drink or smoke. But I first fell in love with this industry when I saw the borderline depravity of the Boston Globe's newsroom in the early 1970s. I was just a kid, but there was something about the chain-smoking, wise-cracking men, bent over their typewriters, complaining about hangovers and local politicians, that I found compelling.

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