I realize that I mostly post links to other people's journalism, and my thoughts thereof. I thought I'd do a little update on where I am in the semester, since this thing was also meant to keep my friends and family informed about me without deluging them in email.
We're essentially in a protracted period of finals now, where finals in Journalism school is not so much about exams as about spending time on longer, more enterprising pieces. This is good because it's the really interesting stuff, but it's bad because it means juggling a lot of deadlines and nebulous projects in a suddenly unstructured schedule.
Because of some snafoos, I've switched my master's project from national security and science, and am now working on Hepatitis C, with a focus on the New York area. If you know anyone who knows anything about this topic--liver specialists, public health people, transplant workers, charity workers, activists, etc.--or anyone who has this disease or has lost someone to this disease, who would also be willing to talk to a journalist, please put them in touch with me
I'm working on and finishing up some stories that have to do with City government--institutions and people, how they work, what they do, where they came from, and starting an investigative piece. For perhaps obvious reasons, I'm not going to trumpet here what the investigative piece is about.
I've been having a really great time meeting some fascinating people; half the benefits of going to a school like Columbia. A few weeks ago I met Christiane Amanpour at the Kurt Schork Awards
in International Journalism, and got to talk to one of the recipients, Dr. Asha Krishnakumar, a journalist with India's Frontline Magazine
. Two weeks ago I was at the New York Times main office in Times Square, and last week I got a tour of NYTimes.com 6 blocks south, which was a lot of fun.
The highlight of the semester so far, however, was last monday's visit to the Times Square offices of The New Yorker. It was just as cool as I expected it to be, if a little corporate. (Their owner, Conde Nast, made them move to the Conde Nast building a few years ago.) We got to spend two hours talking to Hendrik Hertzberg, and he was every bit as interesting, insightful, intelligent, clever, articulate, [insert favorite writerly adjective here], etc., as I had hoped--while also managing to be totally nice. I hounded him some more yesterday after a forum we had on Shattered Glass. I think working at the New Yorker would rock, if for no other reason one might get to have have great conversations with people like him. We also got to meet David Remnick and Judith Thurman, and talk to David Denby for a bit, who's a J-school alumnus. They have a gigantic pile of free books in their editorial lounge, and it was all I could not to go rooting through it.
Today I met S. Mitra Kalita
, who's just come out with a book, Suburban Sahibs, following around three Indian families and telling the story of their settling down in America. She's also the president of the South Asian Journalism Association. She struck me as a lovely, charismatic woman with an endearing combination of self-asssertive flare and self-deprecation.
Alright, back to work.