RealJobs: David Benoit, Reporter

David Benoit’s work day on Monday, February 8, 2010.

I cover “hot stocks” which just means the biggest moving stocks of the day, or stock movements that need some sort of explaining.

I write for the Dow Jones Newswires, a real-time news subscription service. And Dow Jones also published the Wall Street Journal, which is pretty sweet because my stories can appear in the paper. Most days I write three to five stories, and given I wasn’t exactly a financial person, I have a lot of fun. Every day brings something different for me, since I don’t have a specific coverage area, and Monday was actually one of the more exciting days.

The morning was pretty typical and I’ll write about typical later in the week.

But in the afternoon I covered a guilty plea by a man who has been charged in a huge insider trading scandal. The case involves wire taps, more than 20 people and millions of dollars that prosecutors allege were made on trades based on non-public information. Some of the stuff seems right out of an episode of HBO’s “The Wire” (the best written show I’ve ever seen) and the times I’ve been able to cover it, it’s been a zoo. But I love it.

Since I’m not our official court’s reporter and only help out, I don’t have the same court house access. The court takes my phone and Blackberry leaving me completely unconnected. That means editors can’t call me easily, and I can’t get emails to them. It makes it a bit stressful, especially since there were, by my count, six other news outlets in the courtroom, all of whom are racing me to get the headlines and stories published first.

As soon as the hearing ended, I ran to a payphone outside the courtroom and called up the editing desk and read them some headlines. Then I ran up to where our reporter works and grabbed his laptop to quickly write a story. After the editors read it, the story published just over 30 minutes after the headlines, which is pretty good, though I’d freely admit could be better.

But since I don’t write about trials every day, I’m extra careful not to make mistakes, which slows me down a few minutes. And I’d say the story was actually pretty good in the end.

The job isn’t always that exciting, but the rush of deadline reporting, and covering real news that matters, helps smooth over the duller days.

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