The Times is Blasting Journalists With Typewriter Sound Effects

By Robert Sorokanich on at

Rupert Murdoch must be feeling nostalgic: Reporters in The Times' newsroom are working under a constant soundtrack of (artificial) typewriter clatter. It's an experiment to "increase energy levels," and for a generation of reporters who grew up on word processors, it's probably torture.

Yes, as The Independent tells us, Times journalists walked into the newsroom today to find loudspeakers on podiums broadcasting the long-forgotten sound of newsprint being hammered out on mechanical typewriters. Lucia Adams, deputy head of digital for The Times, told The Independent that it's "a playful idea."

Playful, right up until it turns into an ever-gnawing crescendo of pressure to produce: The Woodward and Bernstein soundtrack starts out with one quiet typewriter, then grows in number and volume as writers' print deadline approaches. Nothing like the cacophony of ten thousand virtual typewriters hammering at your ears to encourage you to wrap up a complex story. Or have a mental breakdown at your desk.

Understandably, Times writers—the youngest of whom have probably never used a typewriter in their professional lives—aren't quite enthralled with the idea:

I have a sneaking suspicion the Times newsroom will soon be filled with another sound: Reporters banging their heads against their desks. [The Independent]

Top image: Wikimedia Commons