A Summer Internship at Newsday: My First-Ever Office Job

By Dan Gatta

I’ve had a job since the summer of 2008. I’ve had only that one job since 2008, and where I worked wasn’t an office or professional setting- it was on a golf course. At age 12, I began working as a caddy at Southward Ho Country Club in Bay Shore. I carried members’ bags, and all of the money I made was off the books. This summer, I worked at Newsday for 10 weeks. It was the first time I worked in a cubicle. The first time I had set hours. The first time I was paid an hourly wage. And the first time I worked in a office of professionals. I was nervous, excited, curious and ready for the challenge.

I worked in sports on the web team, and I spent the first few days learning the inner workings of the sports site . I met Nick, Casey and Ryan, the three people in charge. Usually Casey worked the mornings, Ryan worked afternoons, and Nick and I handles the night shift.

During my first two weeks, I learned to use Hermes and Polopoly, two programs that are integral to the website. Toward the end of my second week, I was put in charge of running the site on my own for an entire night. There were a few hiccups here and there, but at the end of the night, the site was up and running and I didn’t screw anything up too badly, so I chalked it up as a win.

From that point forward, I only got more comfortable with my everyday duties. Navigating certain tools in Polopoly and Hermes became second nature. I was starting to post wire stories, alter headlines on certain stories, put together photo lists and photo galleries, add related media to stories that needed it, and add art/top images to stories that were ready to go up on the site. Every day I learned something new, and every new thing I learned built on what I’d learned before, expanding my knowledge at an extremely fast pace.

A couple of weeks into my internship, I had an awesome opportunity. UFC, the top mixed martial arts organization in the U.S., was promoting an event at Madison Square Garden and was allowing Newsday to interview a number of fighters. I was able to schedule a phone interview with MMA fighter Douglas Lima and wrote a story on him and his upcoming MSG fight. My story appeared on Newsday’s website. To see my name next to the article on Newsday’s sports page made me very proud.

During the remaining weeks of my internship, I completed other minor projects for the website: photo galleries on new Yankees players acquired via trade, an article about Mets shortstop Jose Reyes hitting an inside-the-park home run, and countless other photo lists and galleries. Some o projects seemed mundane, but I enjoyed a lot of what I did. Working on different elements of media for a sports website was a dream come true.

To some, 10 weeks may seem like a long time. For me, these past 10 weeks flew by. It seems just last week that I was walking into the newsroom at Newsday for the first time. I learned so much in a short time and enjoyed getting to know the experienced people who work there. I wasn’t sure I would enjoy my first-ever office job, but boy, I sure did. I learned a ton of new skills, met great people and worked with a myriad of sports on a day-to-day basis. Newsday was a great first office job, and I hope to have many more to follow.