“Everyone at Planet Money has a super messy space except for editor Robert Smith,” says the caption on this @NPRInterns Instagram post. “He has all of his customized reporter’s notebooks (36 of them) since May 2005 hanging on the wall of his cube.”
I asked Smith to tell us more about his collection and he wrote back:
I started to put photos on the front of my notebooks because I kept losing track of which one I was using. I would just pick up the closest pad, and the next thing I knew I had 7 different notebooks going. It was crazy. So I started to snip photos out of magazines and review copies of books, and glue them on the front.
I guess I grew sort of fond of each notebook. You know, you carry them around all day and they become symbolic of certain stories. My hurricane Katrina notebook has a fire breathing monster on it. The notebook I used during a difficult week I spent as a host has a falling tree on it.
When I finished each one, I started to pin them to the wall. This was in our old bureau and the walls were pretty ugly. And then we we moved to the new space, I put them all up again. I thought it would be convenient if I ever needed to go back to anything, but of course I never open them again. …
Here’s my current notebook [above]. Symbolic of my two roles as a reporter and editor right now? Maybe.