MediaDC, the company that owns Washington Examiner, Red Alert Politics and The Weekly Standard and employs “world-class” journalists, has sent out an internal memo telling employees to keep their “workstations” clean. The company, which just moved its office to 15th and L Streets in downtown Washington, will apparently be having visitors tour the space.
In other words, keep your crap, including the area around your desk, tidy.
Or else face the wrath of HR.
When asked for an explanation of the memo, Hugo Gurdon, editor of the Washington Examiner, told The Mirror that the purpose of the cleanliness edict is that they plan to shoot video. “It’s a couple things. We’ve just moved into shiny new offices so I think everyone would like to keep them that way,” he wrote in an email. “But more specifically, we’re going to shoot some video around the news room soon and we want the place looking its best for that.”
There’s even a list of Do’s and Don’ts for the apparent children that work there. (Please don’t misread: The Mirror doesn’t think children work there, but apparently HR believes that treating employees like toddlers is an effective way to treat adults. What’s next? Nap time on fluffy rectangular rugs? Milk and cookies?)
Every newsroom has a few sloppy souls (see soon-to-be ex-Politico Mike Allen‘s formerly hoarder “workstation” here). But the message isn’t always well received.
“I fucking hate getting emails like we’re children,” remarked an insider on condition of anonymity.
For those who are too dumb to use trash bins, there’s even a special how-to section.
A few Do’s an Don’ts from the email from HR:
“Do put all trash (especially food) in designated bins. Most of the built in cabinets have pull out drawers for trash and recycling. Each has two bins so if the first is full just pull the drawer out a bit more for another bin. Do leave your desk or workstation neat at the end of the day. Do not leave personal items on the floor around workstations.”
Another insider seemed rather excited about the prospect of appearing on film (even if it is a corporate video).
“I just want to know when they’re filming it so I can get an IMDB credit as a B-Roll actor.”
On a more sarcastic note, the individual added, “Not sure what the exact purpose of video is. It’s not like people take jobs in journalism because offices are nice and clean.” [RELATED: MICE FOUND IN WAPO’s CAFETERIA]
Still others found the ‘clean up your shit’ memo comical.
“I have a desk?” still another insider asked?
When prompted to expand on that thought, the person replied, “The only think I expand is my waistline.”
(Let’s hope the greasy wrappers from all that food go into those helpful trash bins and not on the floor.)
UPDATE: Tim Cavanaugh, a former news editor at the Washington Examiner, thinks the cleanliness memo is warranted. “This memo is reasonable,” he wrote on The Mirror’s Facebook page. “The Examiner is a dump that mixes a handful of normal people with many social washouts. My gorge still rises when I recall some of the work station behavior at that former newspaper. As a whole the organization needs a memo like this.”