As I write this, I’m sitting in the terminal at Newark Airport preparing to take my first of four flights back to Townsville (by the time you read this, I will be back on Aussie soil). After the sorrows of this morning’s goodbyes, the last two weeks have been a whirlwind (hence why I had to combine these last two weeks into one blog!).
Hello … and Goodbye Politics!
We certainly finished with a bang in our last section, Politics, led by Columbia Journalism Professor, Ari Goldman, who spent 20 years working at the New York Times. Under his guidance, we were tasked with covering the results of the recent mid-term elections, profiling candidates from across the U.S who are about to be sworn into office early next month.
As part of this section, we toured City Hall before heading back to The New York Times headquarters to see the Times’ private museum, which houses artefacts that NYT journalists have used while covering the world (including a copy of the paper that covered the landing on the moon, and went up to space 87 times). We also revisited the Museum of the City of New York to see a new political activism exhibition.
The Final … Everything!
We had our last mentoring session with Steve Eder back in the heart of The New York Times newsroom. For our last session, he stepped us through the investigative process behind his teams’ Pulitzer Prize Winning reporting on Policing in America (I can’t detail how amazing this was!).
As these last two weeks marked the final leg of the program, we tried to cram as many activities together as possible, which included seeing Van Gough’s Starry Night painting at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa), attending our final Broadway show – Some Like It Hot, attending the Saks on Fifth Christmas light show, and visiting The Empire State Building. We also went to an ice hockey game in Madison Square Garden, strolled aimlessly through Central Park, and watched many, many World Cup matches (since we have people in the program from almost every country represented in the World Cup, there was lots of friendly rivalries happening over these past weeks).
Saying goodbye to the program, to New York City, and to the people who I’ve spent every waking moment with for the last three months, was extremely difficult. However, I feel so fortunate to be walking away with so much knowledge, a completely new perspective, and life-long friendships with people from around the globe.
The skills I’ve learnt and the people I’ve encountered – both professional and personally – is something I will truly cherish forever, and I know the gravity of it all won’t fully hit me until I’m settled back home. It may have taken me two years to finally get here, but it was most definitely worth the wait.
Every single day has been a highlight – but there are a few memorable favourites that come to mind, including attending a Life Taping of the Late Late Show with Stephen Colbert and seeing the heart of the New York Times newsroom, where, on occasion, we saw the next day’s paper being edited by the night team. Starting my project, Capital A (which will be released in the next two weeks) where I interviewed some of NYC’s most prominent activists and changemakers. Of course, being mentored by the world’s best journalists, I must say, is a standout. But most of all, simply being 20 years old, living in the heart of New York City with people who have now become some of my closest friends, was such a life-changing experience.
A Huge Thank You to … YOU!
Now, as this chapter draws to a close (oh how time flies!), I really wanted to take this opportunity to thank the BDmag community for supporting me on this journey – both before and during my time in the Big Apple. Since the moment people heard of my plans, I’ve been overwhelmed by support, and I can’t express how much the emails and weekly well-wishes have meant to me whilst I’ve been abroad. It has been so special to have you all along for the ride with me.
In particular, I’d really like to thank Julie, who has always been my key supporter and advocator from day dot. Without her, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. To be able to bring already established skills to this program was a game-changer, and I certainly always jumped at the opportunity to share everything we’ve been working so hard on together back home. It wasn’t just me in New York, but BDmag too. I’d also really like to thank the Philip Leong Youth Programme, whose generous support made this endeavour a reality.
Signing off from New York City for the very last time,
Georgie, over and out!
ONE LAST FUN FACT: Did you know that Times Square got its name when The New York Times moved into the building in 1904? The Mayor at the time renamed it from Longacre Square to Times Square.
Thank you for following Georgie’s adventures in New York – you can read all of her blog posts by clicking here.