Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Wall Street Journal, Day 7: Not Quite Major League, But Something Like It

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - A minor bit of excitement for me today at the Wall Street Journal copy desk.

So in the late morning, I was working on a brief for the Global Business Briefs page of Wall Street Journal Asia (I can't say what it is; don't think I'm allowed to, as an employee). At least, initially it was supposed to a regular old Global Business Brief. Suddenly, at around noon, I discover that it's been turned into a regular article, albeit a short two-column one at the bottom left corner of one of the pages. It's probably the closest I've yet come to working on a major; yes, it was technically wire copy from Dow Jones Newswires, but it's something that actually warranted serious attention from some of the senior editors. "You almost done with that story?" I was asked at one point. For one instant, I almost felt like I was part of the team.

Well, it felt rather special to me, anyway.

Otherwise, it was just another day at the office.

It's kind of weird: I do feel somewhat like I've basically been thrown into the sea to try to figure all this stuff out for myself. In the space of only two days since I started the internship proper, I was already editing stuff by the third day (apparently, some of my fellow interns at the New York Times had to go through a rigorous training process during their first week), and I already feel like I'm starting to blend in with the rest of the copy desk. Perhaps "assimilation" might be an accurate word to describe it. As far as guidance goes, I'm basically either a) getting it from the editors around me whenever I ask them a style question or steal them away from their current work to look over a headline, or b) getting it via written comments from some other editor on the staff on the printed versions of the articles I've edited during the day. Everyone has been really helpful, and the comments have certainly been valuable---but it does feel just a tad...distant.

Still, I think I'm getting the hang of things here, and I certainly don't hate it to the point that I dread getting up early every morning and driving to work. In fact, I'm quite possibly enjoying it so far.


Obviously, one personal drawback with this Wall Street Journal internship is that it's not exactly movie-related (except, maybe, in the pure business-of-Hollywood sense, with the exception of film critic Joe Morgenstern's solid writing every Friday). Yet that hasn't stopped me from injecting my enjoyment of cinema into my job in some way. Here's a bio that the global copy chief asked me to write as an introduction to myself:

Kenji Fujishima was born in Queens, N.Y., on December 4, 1985, where he spent his first six years in Queens before moving to East Brunswick, N.J., in 1991, where he has lived ever since. He is one part-time semester away from completing his undergraduate education at Rutgers University, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Media Studies with a minor in Cinema Studies. Chief among his interests is film: watching movies, thinking and writing about them, discussing them to anyone who will listen. For that reason, he did become the Film Editor for the Inside Beat, the weekly entertainment section of Rutgers’ daily newspaper, the Daily Targum. But he also enjoys listening to good music, reading a good book and, of course, editing interesting stories. As far as his future is concerned, he is still thinking about whether graduate school is in his immediate future, and he is still figuring out how he plans to balance practicality with passion.

Immediately after that, I got an e-mail in which one of the other copy editors told me about how his younger brother's wife had an IMDb page. And later, one of the other editors introduced himself to me and said, "You're the movie guy, right?"

If it's one-dimensional for me to only get excited when most people talk with me about film, then I'm tempted not to beat myself up too much about it at this point. I love what I love.


Anonymous said...

Love the blog, but be careful about putting it all on here. The Journal. may not look favorably at it -- remember the tale of the girl who wrote a balanced internship report that was sliced and diced to look bad?

Kenji Fujishima said...

I remember it. I'm watching myself, believe me. But thanks for watching my back :-).