As stressful as this semester has been, I am thankful that I’ve had numerous opportunities to get off campus and find an escape from the madness of classes.
On Monday, I visited the concrete jungle of New York City for the first time in my life and got to visit one of the places on my nerdy bucket list: The New York Times headquarters.
A few months ago I learned that the Times was hosting a workshop for student newspaper editors, and I signed up on a whim.
After all, the conference was free for students, so all I had to do was get myself to the Big Apple and find a place to stay for the night.
Luckily I drive a Prius, so for about $40 I could make the journey across the state. And thanks to the amount of traveling my dad does for work, he was able to use that existing hotel relationship to find a room in Long Island that I could afford without selling my kidney.
Even though I’ve known I was attending this event for about two months, the date kind of snuck up on me and that prevented me from getting truly nervous.
Even on Sunday night as I was sitting in the hotel, looking at the NYC skyline, lounging in bed with spaghetti compliments of Uber Eats, it still hadn’t really set in that I’d be visiting the place where some of the writers I idolize create and publish really important pieces of journalism daily.
As I stepped into the Times headquarters on Monday morning, that feeling of calmness disappeared.
My nerves settled down a little after checking in, but they picked right back up after I realized I had no idea how to work the elevator in the lobby (note: there’s a lot of elevators and even more floors in the building).
When I finally made it to the 15th floor, I immediately saw the Pulitzer hall where 119 New York Times articles that have won Pulitzer Prizes are displayed.
Here I am not being able to work a darn elevator, and there’s people bringing light to some of the world’s most important issues with their words. What a strange feeling.
During the day, we had the opportunity to hear from some of the biggest names in modern journalism including Nicholas Confessore, a political and investigative reporter.
Confessore talked about how much power student journalists can have even on small college campuses.
He also discussed the importance of using journalism to check the authority of people and institutions with money and power, a responsibility that I feel is incredibly important in our modern society.
One of the most incredible parts of the day was being able to hear from A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher of the Times.
The Ochs-Sulzberger family has had a legacy at the Times since 1896, so being in the same room as an individual with such a rich history and a passion for promoting journalism “without fear or favor” was a pretty incredible experience.
Although the trip home was exhausting and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to include sleep in my schedule this week while getting caught up on homework, I know the knowledge I’ve gained was well worth the trip.