Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Wall Street Journal, Day 2: Office Space

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Today at the Wall Street Journal office, Tyler, my fellow Wall Street Journal copy editing intern, expressed a measure of amazement at how "corporate" the environment has felt. I think I see what he means. Maybe it's part and parcel of being in a business-related environment like Dow Jones & Co., but the way the copy editing section does things, it does feel almost like you're part of some kind of corporate machine---one that requires more creativity than most, to be sure, but still, one is like a cog in a vast copy editing operation, with a whole set of procedures that comes with editing stories. Not to mention, each editor has his own cubicle. So, while the copy editing section isn't nearly as perfectly lined up and placed-in-a-row as the famous movie offices of, say, King Vidor's The Crowd or Billy Wilder's The Apartment, it still has that faint feel of a large crowd of anonymous faces hard at work. And I mean large---there are a lot of copy editors at work in one section of the Dow Jones office complex over at South Brunswick. Adding to the corporate feel is the decor of the building itself: gray, metallic colors seem to dominate. Serious stuff.

I would be saying all this as criticism if I didn't feel so darn welcome there. The people over there all seem exceedingly nice and helpful; some of the ones we've spotted these past two days have all offered to give us sheets with helpful hints or necessary computer commands or things like that. So far, we haven't noticed any particular egos to avoid or anything; it's been all pleasantries, all the time. I'm actually starting to feel relaxed and even a bit excited about getting down to business next week; all the people we've been working with have been quite approachable when it comes to asking questions. It's good to feel comfortable about asking any kinds of questions in any office environment.

We've also been plunked down into a wee bit of drama at the editing desk: apparently, one of the main copy editors is on her way out---she's going off to one of the overseas copy desks, I think the Wall Street Journal Europe desk in Brussels---and everyone in the office is a bit on edge as far as who's going to succeed her. At least, that's what we've been told; I've hardly felt that edge in the past two days.

Not much to report today, really. Tyler and I are still talking about who's going to be the first to take the 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. shift and who's going to be the first 4:30 p.m. - 11:30 p.m. guy. Turns out both of us kinda want to take the morning shift first. We may end up having to rock-paper-scissor it, hehe. We both spotted some more editors and helped write more headlines (we both finally got a chance to play around with the computers on our own, with supervision of course). We finally got logged into the various programs and stuff on the computer. We finally got photo ID tags. And we found out that the building apparently houses a gym in the basement that charges you $5 a week to be a member. $5 a week---damn! Not bad. If only I was more of a gym person. (I keep telling myself I'll start frequenting the gym more often, but, with one or two exceptions in the past four years, it hasn't yet happened.)

Overall, another pleasant day at the office.

I hope this hasn't gotten too boring for you readers. Have I been eaten up by the corporate machine???

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