Monday, August 27, 2007

The Return...to The Wall Street Journal

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - This morning, as my first day back at The Wall Street Journal began, I began to feel a little awkward. Here I was, returning to the South Brunswick branch, only two or so weeks after nearly everyone at the copy desk had said their goodbyes to both of us interns. It's like, "Oh goodbye and maybe have a nice life" and now "Oh you're back already?" It felt a little weird, I must say.

Of course, the awkwardness only lasted about five minutes, if that. Part of that was because I was situated in a different section of the third floor---though right next to the copy desk---but most of it was probably because the woman who hired me---she's officially considered "Assistant News Editor, News Prepress Operations"---made it clear early on that, when I was there at the monitor desk, I was all hers, and that I wasn't allowed to have much contact with the copy desk unless it was work-related. (She sure means business!)

Also, when I was able to say hello to all the people I had met earlier in the summer on the copy desk, they all seemed to welcome me with open arms, so to speak. It helped that I had cake, which my mom had made ("just to show your appreciation that you're back," she said. I wasn't really asking for the cake, but how can I argue?).

How did my first day go? Well, I'm supposed to keep a journal for the internship coordinator over at Rutgers, so perhaps I'll just rework the brief little summary I wrote tonight to sum up my first day. (I plan to write some kind of entry every day for this internship journal; however, I may not post every single entry on this blog.)

My first day on the job at the Wall Street Journal monitor desk basically consisted of shadowing the woman who currently handles all the monitor duties for The Wall Street Journal Asia. Apparently I am going to be taking over her job in a few weeks, which means I will pretty much be the guy in charge of looking over all — and I mean all — of the articles and pages as they are being laid out in our layout program, Hermes.

No mean feat, and I admit that my first impressions are mainly enthusiastic mixed in with a tinge of apprehension. When it comes to the domestic edition later in the afternoon, there are a few pairs of eyes looking at the various pages in the U.S. paper. But when it comes to Asia and Europe, it’s just one pair of eyes at the monitor desk, with a few of the people over at the pagination (layout) department looking over my shoulder, figuratively speaking.

But I guess that’s okay; that kind of pressure comes with the territory, and I suppose it’s about time I get exposed to some real journalistic pressure of the type that reporters face every day. Compared to what it sounds like I will be doing at the monitor desk, interning at the copy desk in the summer was a relaxed summer walk in the park.

Hopefully I’ll pick it up quickly, especially after shadowing Donna (the name of the woman I watched today), who has developed her own system of keeping track of which articles are on what pages — a system that I’ll be sure to adopt when I start working on my own.

1 comment:

Donna said...

Ran across your blog from a link on another blog I came across called "The House Next Door." Just writing so you know someone is actually reading your stuff (plus I always like it when I see I have comments on my attempt at occasional blogging).
Good luck with school and work.

Donna G.
www.donnatoo.blogspot.com