Maybe because coffee has the impact of energizing most people–or rather giving them a temporary burst of energy–that it’s long been associated with journalists. Worn out journalists who have been run ragged by day and work long into the night need something to keep them going. After all, a reporter cannot survive on the mere thrill of chasing the latest story alone.
In the newsroom where I work, there are often discussions among the relatively health-conscious editorial staff about quitting drinking coffee. The conversations range from, “I wish I could quit” to “I am going to quit” to “Oh, I don’t drink coffee.” That last statement is always presented in a slightly triumphant tone, annoying all the coffee drinkers in the vicinity–especially those who would like to quit.
For me, coffee has an emotional connection to childhood memories of my dad (who was a TV cameraman much of the time I was growing up) and my best friend’s dad (who was a local legendary reporter at the town newspaper). I associate coffee with hard work, early mornings, crusty news reporters sitting around and shooting the bull in the newsroom on a slow day. Or maybe just between reporting and filing stories. It’s like one of those pegs you use to hold a tent up–a subtle, grounding link to the earth. Coffee keeps reporters honest and grounded among the people. You’ve never heard of a hard-core, battle-tested, tea-drinking reporter have you?
For the time being, I think I’ll keep drinking coffee, even though sometimes I overdo it and feel like my eyes are opened a bit wider than they should be. At the very least, it gives me something to focus on early in the morning when I have to sit down and write something brilliant. Write a little, take a sip of coffee and think about that next sentence…seems useful to me!