Tag Archives: Spectator

Closing time

6 May

Instead of saying something sappy—that’ll come later, I promise—I’m just going to narrate the most recent goings on. I know that I’m going to wish I kept a better record of my time here.

Graduation is in 14 days. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • Yesterday, I handed in my thesis. It was my last English paper here. It was one of those ambivalent moments. I was glad to not have to worry about it anymore, but I’m going to miss belaboring over this long-term project.

Easy come, easy go.

  • Last week, Jake and I finished our very long profile of Lee Bollinger. Give it a read if you’re interested.
  • Another Spec-related note: I did my last copy shift with Betsy. That was kind of sad.
  • Also, I published my senior column, which was kind of surreal. I remember reading the senior columns of the people who brought me into the fold. I considered myself a senior column reader, and nothing more. Seeing my own column in print made the whole graduation thing seem very final. It was weird. Also, I’m used to writing sterile third-person accounts of the news, so I didn’t quite know what to say.
  • Last night was my last Spec Dinner. It was so lovely to see that bunch of really great people in the same room at once, perhaps for my very last time.
  • The Wall Street Journal’s Greater New York section launched. Woohoo! I can’t wait to start!
  • Right now, I’m working on what may be my last aesthetic/art/lit theory paper ever (assuming the future holds no Ph.D.’s for me!). Maybe my procrastination stems from the fact that this is kind of upsetting. Here’s what it looks like right now:

As you can see, I have it, um, all figured out.

Life is good because:

1 Mar

Happy belated Purim!

  • After a year of hardcore editing, a return to reporting feels great. To be honest, I was nervous starting out. I read and read and read about the issue, putting off the actual interviews. But the moment I started cold calling, I remembered why I love reporting to begin with. I’m glad I came back to it with this story, since charter schools is a fascinating topic—one I’d like to explore further in the long term. I’m excited for more.
  • I just returned from an epic trip to Barnard’s library. But before that, I met with my advisor/senior seminar professor. We talked for 40 minutes about my paper topic, teaching, and his publishing adventures. I think I arrived at something concrete for Thesis the Second, and I’m really excited. Interactions like that remind me that I really will miss this place. As does my ability to walk outside my door for one minute, enter a library, and return with a bag chock full of Othello. And these eight are only the beginning:
  • This is before the stacks. Gotta make sure to not run out of steam this time.
    Continue reading

At decade’s end, a week full of nothing: It was good.

31 Dec

In which I watch too much TV, see old friends, run towards a suspicious van, and get a Twitter.

The view from here.

My new dorm: a clean, well-lighted place.

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Evidence of the world’s ridiculousness

22 Oct
  • I am supposed to be working on an English paper, but instead I’m drawn to my fiction. Which is to say, I would rather write a short story than a critical essay. WHAT! If someone would have told me I’d feel this way now one week ago, I would have laughed. A lot. But now that the plot is vaguely outlined, bringing characters to life is such a pleasurable enterprise. They are living in my head.
  • An Iranian-American scholar who was supposed to be teaching at Columbia will likely be in prison for 15 years for doing, well, not much of anything.
  • The events of last weekend.
  • I’m not reading enough in general.
  • I am able to be semi-coherent on so few hours of sleep. So few, even for me.
  • Last but not least…A Fox analyst learned he would be fired via a Google Alert. Thank you, Google Alerts, for notifying me.(See second item. I found out via … Google Alert.)

More on search terms

2 Sep

Only because I find it amusing, I will say that the last few days have brought readers eager to learn about “gauchos,” “terminator suit,” “eminem,” and, my personal favorite, “banana peel related injuries.” Awesome.

Just got back from a productive day followed by two matches at the U. S. Open. I love watching tennis—human athleticism in the quantities latent in Sharapova and Andy Murray is a thing to behold. And no matter how far up you sit, that display is always different from any image on your TV screen.

In other news, Spec’s orientation issue came out today! Be sure to check it out if you’re around town, or read it online.

Today was exciting because…

1 Sep

today the Online News Association announced that the the Forward and the St. Louis Beacon are finalists for Online Journalism Awards!!! This is exciting because I’ve worked at these two places. But even more exciting: I was with my boss at the Forward on my last day there when he heard the news. And less than a minute later, my phone buzzed with an e-mail from my boss from last summer at the Beacon, breaking the news of the nomination. Although I am unqualified to judge—and I am obviously biased—based on what I know, these two publications deserve the recognition and much more.

In other news: spent the morning working on Spec’s orientation issue, wrote a blog post for Spec, bumped into several administrators, and finished up work at the Forward. I’m going to miss the people there, and I already miss my job at the Daily News. School is coming soooooon… senior year. Oh boy.

And that’s the way it was

19 Jul

Last week was long, important, and fun. It included petonque, councilmen, Miss New York, Zip cars, editors, Harry Potter, Stendhal, Borders, birthdays, and poetry at Bryant Park.

But, more importantly: Walter Cronkite died on Friday night. He was 92. A huge loss, still. I had the privilege of seeing him in person when he spoke at Columbia’s J-School during my first year at Barnard.

I remember this clearly not only because of Cronkite himself, but because it was it was the first time I asked a professor to make a Spec exception for me. Cronkite was a formidable, self-deprecating man, who, unsurprisingly, attracted a huge crowd. I remember my mother flipping out with excitement when I told her about the assignment. Cronkite—this is a real man. He took to the podium, and, between sips of water—he apologized, as he usually drinks “not water” but he just recovered from surgery—and slapped the media on its behind for its screwy management.

Then he said:

“The young people I see entering the field of journalism today are no less intelligent or dedicated than in my generation. … They are indeed … brave to be entering a profession with far less job security and far greater economic uncertainty … out of a deep sense of commitment to public service.”

What an inspiration, to see a hero laud my choices, despite admitting to their drawbacks.

But as the Times notes, he’s leaving us in a world where “the television news business long ago lost that kind of prestige and importance; the audience for evening newscasts has so dwindled that this year there were more viewers on an average night for “American Idol” than for the programs on CBS, NBC and ABC combined.”