I can take traveling to The New York Times off the bucket list.
I was invited to go to a full-day workshop at the New York Times in April. And as you can imagine, it was the most exciting experience I’ve ever had in my life!
As senior members of the Crimson, the university’s student newspaper, students get amazing opportunities to travel to different conferences and workshops and learn all about the industry.
So far, I’ve been to the National ACP/CMA College Media Convention twice, the first time in New Orleans and the second time in Philadelphia. The conventions have different sessions and keynote speakers, and there are always new things to learn at these events. This upcoming November, we’ll be going to Austin, Texas to learn all about how to run student newspapers and train the newbies.
But New York is like the holy grail of news media and all things digital and cool! I’d never been to New York before. It was definitely the most valuable memory that I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life, and I took thousands of pictures so that I’ll always be able to come back to it.
Inside the building on 15th floor was a large conference room with tables set up with freebies (I got an NYT pen, notebook and hat!). I took notes on everything and still refer back to them a lot. We took our seats and chatted with other student editors from other universities for a while, and then the session started off with a talk given by Marc Lacey.
He talked about how he’d read an article on CareerCast.com about the best and worst jobs for the future, and “journalist” was at the very bottom, below even lumberjacks and janitors. He spoke about how untrue this really is, and how he got to travel as a foreign correspondent all over the world and see things firsthand that no one else is able to see.
“I got to travel for years on the Times’ dime,” he said.
He said being a journalist is high stress, low paying and long hours — but that it’s all worth it. He’s now in charge of the weekend reports, which brings in 46 percent of NYT’s revenue.
Richard Jones and Monica Drake spoke next. Jones is an associate editor, and Drake is in charge of the travel edition. They were hilarious, and Jones said there was never a good time to get into journalism, but that it’s a calling.
We heard from Emily Rueb, an editor on interactive storytelling who works on the Metro Desk. She works on breaking news that happens within New York City, and they also create awesome videos about NYC life. She started “Bird Week,” kind of like shark week, which is a live video feed that follows the lives of NYC birds.
My favorite person that we heard from is Andy Rosenthal, the Editorial page editor, and he spoke in a very real, down-to-earth way to us. I learned that opinion journalists actually do a lot of reporting because they have to be able to back their opinions up with valid reasons and evidence. He also said he believes in keeping news free from opinion, and that opinion journalism “should challenge and annoy people.”
He talked about how they had supported Hillary Clinton in the 2008 primary, and President Obama said to Rosenthal on the phone, “When I beat her, and I will, I’m looking forward to your endorsement in the general.” It was funny to hear as well as shocking to finally understand: these people are able to talk to the president on the phone.
The trip, in general, went like this:
My friend Hershlay and I flew into Newark Airport on that Wednesday morning. The first shock of the trip was experiencing the change of weather. We live in a tropical paradise, and that paradise is usually hot, sunny, humid and generally uncomfortable unless you’re at the beach or doing some type of water sports. So to walk out of the plane airport in New Jersey in a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt made the trip exciting enough. It was in the 60s, and it was such a breath of fresh air.
I could take a breath of air and not feel like I’m swimming through a swamp. And the next thing was the trees. There were so many different trees, and no palms in sight!
After that moment of looking around and smelling the air, everything was a fast blur. There were cars everywhere, and they were traveling at fast speed on narrow roads. When on the bus, I thought the driver was going to hit someone because the roads were so narrow. In Florida, we have open roads and they’re pretty spacious, and we have lots of medians so people can calmly and casually make u-turns. In short, Florida is so laid back. In NY, the roads are almost unlawful. It’s just so fast-paced. I took pictures of everything I saw, mouth agape and in awe of everything around me, and I definitely looked like a tourist. But people were kind and smiled at me, and if we looked lost, locals always asked if we needed help or directions. It was definitely not what I expected.
We saw everything. We saw the Rockefeller building, Times Square, Central Park, Bryant Park, Battery Park and the memorials, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Columbia University, New York University, the Supreme Court building and Chinatown.
We visited Park Avenue and marveled at the skyscrapers, we walked the Brooklyn Bridge at night, we rode subways everywhere and walked Broadway Street, and we ate quite an expensive meal at Chipotle (did you know guacamole is outrageously expensive up North? Figures, but still.).
We drank coffee at Pret A Manger and Dean and Deluca, and we ate pizza folded in half while swiftly crossing heavily-trafficked roads. We did New York.
None of that even compared to being able to meet journalists of the New York Times, though. These people cover news on the most important people in the world, and it was fascinating to hear their opinions on things and hear advice from them — because they’re the ones that made it.
Below is a bunch of photos I took. Enjoy!
In short, never ever pass up a chance to do something when you’re in college or here at Florida Tech. There are amazing opportunities and we all need to jump on them because who knows what will come from it? There’s nothing better than an experience.