On Daily Routines, we profile successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists, executives and athletes to explore the routines, schedules, habits and typical day in their life.
“I never wanted to be a reporter,” Maggie Haberman admitted to The Cut in a 2017 profile. Funny how things turned out for the New York Times journalist and CNN analyst, who is considered one of the greatest political reporters working today.
When Donald Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015, Haberman, who had already been reporting on him for a decade, was assigned to cover his campaign. When the 2016 US Presidential campaign was wrapping up, she thought the insanity would end. Hilary Clinton would win the presidency, Donald Trump would go back to being Donald Trump, and life would go back to normal for her.
As we all know, this didn’t happen.
Since Trump became the 45th president of the United States, it’s been a whirlwind of never-ending new stories seemingly popping up daily. As one of the foremost experts in the world about the Trump administration, Haberman has spent the past four years chasing down tips, grilling sources and filing stories at a frantic pace.
In 2017, Haberman spoke to The New Yorker’s David Remnick about the challenges of her relentless coverage of the Trump presidency, “I feel as if I am living one long day. I’ve done campaigns for years now. This is unlike that,” she admitted. “Usually, in a government, things settle down. After the first three months, at the most. This is very different.”
In the 2018 documentary The Fourth Estate, which centres around The New York Times coverage of Donald Trump’s presidency, Haberman plays a key role. Viewers get a detailed look into the life of a White House correspondent; watching her rush around from newsroom to press conference, taking phone calls in her car while hooking up to the local Starbucks wifi.
It’s an inside look at what life is like for a news reporter in the digital age, juggling Twitter and television appearances, while trying to stay up to date with the 24-7 news cycle, covering an unprecedented presidential administration.
In a piece for The New York Times, media columnist Ben Smith recalled what it was like watching Haberman in action during the earlier days:
I sat facing her and every morning watched her routine, which was terrifying. First, she picked up the competing newspaper, The Daily News, and leafed through for stories she wished she’d broken, deducing who had been the source of each one. Then, she called the sources — she already knew them well, of course — and chatted in a friendly way, before telling them she felt genuinely betrayed that they hadn’t gone to her, that she was worried she’d be in trouble with her boss for getting beaten and, honestly, that she was incredibly angry at them.The Trump Presidency Is Ending. So Is Maggie Haberman’s Wild Ride | The New York Times
Living in Brooklyn with her husband, Dareh Gregorian, a politics editor at the New York Daily News, and their children, Haberman commutes to D.C. several times a week on the Amtrak. On a typical day (if there is such a thing in her life), and if she doesn’t have a television appearance, Haberman is up at 6am and is immediately on her phone.
“I grab my phone, check my email, check Twitter. I have push alerts for the president and some other reporters,” she told The Cut. “Then I look at the New York Post, New York Times, Washington Post, Drudge, The Wall Street Journal. I read whatever news digest has been sent to me.”
After driving her kids to school, Haberman will head to a coffee shop or into The New York Times offices in Midtown Manhattan. When she’s not chasing down stories, on the phone or tweeting, Haberman is plugged in and writing her stories. “I put on headphones and I either listen to a TV show that I’m playing on Amazon, or I listen to music,” she told The Cut. “It’s about tuning out the outside noise.”
A 2017 profile by Elle gave people a glimpse into a typical day in Haberman’s life:
She was on her phone. She was also on her laptop. She was texting, taking calls, e-mailing, and Gchatting with colleagues and sources. Her daughter was home sick from school with a fever. She had a story that was about to go live on nytimes.com. CNN, for whom she is a political analyst, called. “I’m wearing a sweatshirt, and my hair is in a bun,” she told the producer. She suggested a colleague to go on TV in her stead. She was thinking aloud about her schedule—she doesn’t keep an actual calendar, not on paper, not on her phone; it’s all in her head.
When she’s chasing down sources, there’s no rhyme or reason to the hours. She told an independent student newspaper, The Spectrum, “There’s a lot of sources in government who want to talk after hours because they can’t talk when they’re at work, so I have lots of conversations at 10 p.m.”
Haberman is asleep by midnight on most nights, getting about 6 hours of sleep every day.
Burnout is when you’re unable to get out of bed. I’m not there yet. But the White House is historically a tough beat. It’s typically a beat with a shelf life. But oh, I love my job. I love my job. I think what reporters do is incredibly important.How I Get It Done: Maggie Haberman, White House Correspondent for the New York Times | The Cut
Before you go…
Check out more daily routines from Barack Obama, Joe Rogan, Jeff Bezos, Michelle Obama, Sheryl Sandberg, Richard Branson, Warren Buffet and plenty others.