I had forgotten what being in Paris was like. All of the history is overwhelming. It’s not quite as shocking as when I was here for the first time last fall (when I studied in Avignon and Paris for six months and participated in the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Conference), but I still am amazed when I walk by the Eiffel Tower, or look down the Champs-Elysées to the Arc de Triomphe. It makes me realize how new America is when the building I’m staying in for the summer is as old, if not older than my country.
I’m starting to get the swing of things at work. Towards the end of last week, I was doing most of the tasks on my own; including the intern training me only when I had a problem (like when the copier jammed three minutes before the editors’ meeting). I made it through the meeting, and properly directed the calls, and sent the front page off to New York—all on time!
Here’s just one vignette:
During my daily rounds, I stopped to watch the layout editor as she was putting the stories onto the pages. Her hands were flying around between the keyboard and the mouse, typing in shortcuts to cut, copy, paste, re-size, and move stories around the page. It seemed to me like a really difficult and important game of Tetris: seamlessly piecing together all of these blocks of different sizes and shapes to create the page.
“Here, see this?” she explained, “I’m going to switch these two stories, and make a medium headline… and there, I’m able to add a hundred more words to that story.” I can’t imagine how a paper was put together before computers. News flies around the world through the internet, from reporter, to journalist, to editor in Paris, the back again, and ends up at the layout desk where the program used does everything from collecting the stories, to remapping the paper, to alerting the user if the photograph has not been checked for legal usage.
More to come.