I live in a 10 by 12 dorm room on the east side of the planet, i.e. by the FDR. It is decorated well though, so in real estate language, it would be “cozy.” In any event, I spend a lot of time in my almost literal hole-in-the-wall. (The photo below even shows my take-out bag next to my desk.) Last semester, one of the girls who lived on my floor was writing for the Envoy and instead of just emailing me or calling me, she would always knock on my door for every single question she had.
“Hey Charlotte, when is this article due in by,” or “Who should I send this to, you or the news editor?” and my favorite, “When is the next issue going to come out?” (Really? It comes out the same day every week kids.) There were more than that because she used to come by at least once a week. She eventually got too swamped with school to continue writing for the paper (and I might have also let her know I was irritated with the 1am visits on Monday night).
As a result, the only people that knock on my door now are friends (or the same girl as above asking me to lower my music at 3pm in the afternoon. Oh the irony). But this afternoon there was an unexpected knock at my door, and it was one of my writers.
I had called her earlier to see if she wanted to attend a conference Monday night with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. She told me she wanted to but couldn’t attend. Then she said, “could I get your advice on something?” She has to write a how-to article for her magazine writing class and needed some help coming up with where to get info for a how-to and some fresh ideas. We brainstormed a bit together and came up with “How to Get a Job During a Recession,” a bit of a spin on the classic how-to get a job service piece. The focus would be on networking.
We went over how to get validating quotes, she thanked me a lot and then left. Even though I was putting my resume and clip packets together for tomorrow’s Public Relations Forum at FIT, I enjoyed the interruption. I told her to let me know how it goes.
It might sound silly (or cocky), but the fact that people knock on my door to ask me advice on story ideas and how to go about putting together information once it is gathered makes me feel friggen’ great. Not only did she feel comfortable enough with me to just come a-knockin’, she trusted in what I was going to say.
I often speak to classes (basic reporting, advanced reporting, feature writing, magazine writing, etc) about how to get internships in journalism. I talk about what websites to look at, how to get bylines and who at Hunter can help them out. I got my first success story this week!
To: Charlotte Cusumano
Sent: Tuesday, April 01, 2008 9:33 PM
Subject: RE: Clothesline article
You’re most welcome! And please do keep me posted. By the way, were you the gal who came to Prof. Morris’s class and discussed the Envoy and internships and stuff? Because if so, I owe you a thank you. Your talk was great and I went to ed2010.com (like you said) and got myself an internship at a magazine, even this late in the semester! So thanks again!