EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Today I started the night shift at the Wall Street Journal copy desk, 4:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. And what a change it was from the usual hustle-and-bustle of the day side---at least for tonight (which I hear is usually pretty slow in general at nights). The deadline for the national paper is 7:30 p.m., and so what's really left for the rest of the night is random stuff, really, only some of it related to the upcoming national paper. So sometimes there might be substories or something that need to be edited for tomorrow's paper. Often editors are looking at stuff that'll be published later in the week. And---this is pretty cool---we may get two pages of proofs to comb over for mistakes.
Overall, though...it looks like the night shift will be a lot slower and more relaxed than it is during the day shift.
Today was pretty dead, even for a supposedly slow shift. So what was I doing as the night dragged on? I was alternating between roaming around aimlessly in the laid-out pages and readied-for-publication articles, and surfing Internet Web sites. Throughout the night, I was a little nervous that I might be giving an impression of laziness by staring at the IMDb page for Die Hard 2 (in remembrance of its cheerfully sadistic, mechanical pleasures after seeing the less sadistic but almost as mechanical Live Free or Die Hard today---neither one being a patch on the justly-celebrated 1988 original) while looking at copy on Hermes. But I wouldn't be surprised if the four other people who were left by the time 9:30 p.m. rolled around weren't doing something similar in their cubicles. In fact, one of the editors warned me early in the shift, "Be prepared to do a lot of Web browsing." Fine by me, as long as I have nothing better to do, haha!