If you could pick one thing every respectable journalist has in common, it’s the state of their car. While the sales people may have the flashiest, newest rides, completely free of crumbs, forgotten French fries, or any kind of character at all, a journalist’s vehicle is more of a mostly reliable workhorse. Appearance is less important than getting you to and from your next assignment, from the cop shop to the country club, plus haul around all the tools of your trade, from spare pens to plenty of pocket-sized notebooks. Here’s a sampling of what else you could discover.

Phone book

Don’t think of it as an archaic waste of paper that usually just travels from the porch to the recycle bin. Let your fingers keep right on walking with your “analog smartphone” that will never conk out, provide wrong directions, refresh or hit dead spots, and the Map app always works. It also makes a lovely shelf/tray for your tablet or lunch.

Random clothes

You may not be able to throw together a whole quick-change secret agent ensemble, but there are plenty of accessories you can have on hand, like an extra shirt or blouse for stains too big to cover up, a tie or a scarf if the assignment turns out to be business formal not business casual, or your crummy shoes if you’re covering spills, crashes or something messy.

Much take-out trash

For the good of any current of future passengers, try at least to remember to toss out any unfinished organic matter, or at least toss it into the back seat where it will be quite easy to ignore for weeks or months. “Oh, I didn’t know the McRib is already back again…. Oh.”


If you ever want an easy raise, cash in all that change. But if you do, you’ll no longer have anything handy for parking, vending machines, hot dogs, nasty coffee, dollar meals or enough gas to to get to work. Though most math still confounds you, at least you can calculate how many pennies you need to unearth until you get enough for a cup of joe. Remember, it’s all about the Lincolns.

Beverage cups

Know why you can’t seem to find a travel mug at home in the morning? Because they’re all somewhere in your car – maybe in the cup holders, maybe rolling around under the seats, maybe all the way back in the hatchback. What’s the true smell of success in the journalism biz? 8-month old forgotten now very iced latte that you’re too busy to track down. Cheers!



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