The streets of New York have been a bustling hive of appreciation and activity this week thanks to the United Nations General Assembly which is currently taking place just a few blocks down. While famous politicians and activists from all corners of the globe have been swarming the city, it has meant that the few roads I have finally learnt to navigate without Google Maps have been blocked off…
But, the one thing about getting lost in the city that never sleeps is seeing things you’d never thought you would – like President Joe Biden and his crew of Secret Service agents driving straight past you at 9pm on a Wednesday evening. Typical, right?
Whilst this sighting was short lived, we were soon graced with the presence of another celebrity, this time from the journalism world – New York Times reporter, Sarah Maslin Nir. For over a year, Sarah investigated the workplace conditions in nail salons across New York City; reporting which not only went on to become a finalist for the coveted Pulitzer Prize but also led to regulatory changes within the industry. She spoke to us about the process of investigative journalism, how she broke into the industry and how she deals with criticism of her work.
Reporting in Queens and Meeting my Mentor
Our very own reporting skills were put to test this week with the submission of our final project for the New York section, which required us to profile a business in Queens, following the format of The New York Times’ Neighbourhood Joint column. I had the opportunity to write about the Broadway Silk Store, a family-owned fabric and vintage jewellery store (I couldn’t resist purchasing a pair of earrings – surprise, surprise) that has been nestled in the neighbourhood for over 90 years. Passed down through four generations, the original 1930’s facade is still very much intact, and has been an anchor in the neighbourhood since the Great Depression.
In another week of firsts, we had the first sessions with our mentors via Zoom on Wednesday. I’ve been paired with renowned Music Reporter, Ben Sisario, who has been reporting for The New York Times since 1998. He covered the death of Michael Jackson and has interviewed some of the world’s most famous musicians (he refers to Jay Z as Jay – I think you get the gist). Over the coming weeks, my small group of six will meet weekly with Ben in a group environment, before each getting two one-on-one sessions with him to discuss our career goals.
Yankee Stadium, Coney Island and Next on the Agenda
On Thursday night, we squeezed onto the subway (alongside the rest of New York City) to attend the historic Yankees vs. Red Sox baseball game, accompanied by Sports Reporter, Elizabeth Newman, who will teach the Sports section next month. Despite knowing absolutely nothing about baseball, the energy was contagious.
We ended the week by exploring different parts of Brooklyn and visiting Coney Island. Now, as we bid goodbye to the New York section and our incredible instructor Helene Stapinksi, we’re excited to be diving into the world of Arts & Culture for the next two weeks. And where else in the world would be better than New York City to be looking at issues through this lens?
I managed to navigate the first half of my destination but proceeded to get lost for the latter half of my trip. Still trying to figure out what hole in the ground to walk down, but I’m confident I’ll get there!
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