In December, the Wire covered The New York Times' felicitous discovery of Brooklyn, with--in the words of NBC's Brian Williams--its "young men and women wearing ironic glass frames" and "open air markets, like trading posts in the early Chippewa tribe."

The venerable paper's urban expedition has since moved down South, with the discovery this week of the striving, dog-eat-dog, information-saturated enclave of Washington, DC.

The Times' Ashley Parker profiles 20-something Beltway aides "who rise before dawn to pore over the news to synthesize it, summarize it and spin it, so their bosses start the day well-prepared." Parker informs us that "who knows what--and when they know it--can be the difference between professional advancement and barely scraping by."

We get a sneak peak into the frenetic, early-morning life of one Bobby Maldonado:

With the help of three alarm clocks, he gets up at 4 a.m., is showered and out the door in less than an hour, and scans his BlackBerry almost constantly as he makes his pretimed 12- to 13-minute trek to the Red Line Metro stop where he catches the first train downtown.

He knows exactly where to stand so he can get into the car that deposits him just steps from the escalator at the Farragut North station. "It's an efficiency thing," he explained, "so I don't get stuck behind people, so I hit the crosswalk at the right minute."

Cutting diagonally across Farragut Square, he arrives at his office at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on H Street just after 5:30 a.m. There, in a darkened cubicle, he scans the Internet for the day's news and condenses it into a two-page memo that he shoots off to Thomas J. Donohue, the Chamber's president, and other top executives before 8 a.m. He is never late.

Sadly, Parker informs us that "no hard data exists on how many people spend the hours before breakfast rounding up news and e-mailing clips and quick summaries." But it's heartening for us at the Wire to know we're not alone.