At the Times Union

by Emily Benson

Even now, as I enter the final week in my internship, I find it hard to wrap my head around the notion that I am working at the Times Union.

The newspaper is not nationally known, only a local paper distributed throughout the Albany, Schenectady and Troy areas, but to me, growing up, the Times Union was everything.

As far back as I can remember, the TU was as much a staple in my morning routine as orange juice and cold cereal. I remember reading the comics every day in elementary school and slowly expanding my palate into the local and hard-news stories as I entered high school. I eagerly awaited Editor-in-Chief Rex Smith’s weekend column, and I always grabbed the opinion section first, reading the editorial from start to finish before even looking at the other articles.

Which is why now, as I wrap up my research and finalize the portfolio of work I have done with the editorial board, I feel an extra bit of nostalgia and sadness. The journalists that I grew up reading are now co-workers I see everyday. Jay Jachowitz, whose editorials I read almost daily, is my boss and editor. Rex Smith, whom I both highly admired and fan girled over for having such an unique writing style, attends our daily editorial meetings and is even more eloquent in person.

The opinion section has always held a special place in my heart, and having been given the chance to be a part of it has been an incredible experience. Jay is a great editor and gave wonderful advice and guidance whenever I was writing blog posts–or webviews, as they’re called here. I helped kickstart research for a film project Jay has been trying to get off the ground, and I spent time reaching out to local film groups and individuals who may be interested in participating.

I also worked on a project designed to raise awareness of deadlines for voter registration and absentee ballots, as well as dates of upcoming elections. Not many citizens are aware of these deadlines until it is too late, especially for local elections. I researched the dates, organized them and wrote up a draft of how to present the deadlines in the paper, and I worked with Jay and the arts editor on how to fit the piece into layout in a catchy way that also maintained the normal layout of the paper.

I loved all the work I did during my time at the TU, but my biggest enjoyment from the internship came from the editorial meetings. Each morning at 10:30, the editorial team meets to discuss the day’s top stories, locally and nationally, and to plan out what could be the day’s editorial and what could be used later in the week. Not a single meeting was boring. It felt like I got a special briefing on local news stories, and it’s so interesting to hear how everybody feels on certain topics. Not only were these meetings informative, but they were also a great way to start off the morning, just talking with good people.

Interning at the Times Union was a decision I will never regret. From reading the paper as a child to working with the top editors on stories, it has been an incredible journey. It’s one that I hope doesn’t end with the summer but only marks the beginning of more adventure to come.