My summer vacation
Hope is the most important thing
Published: Thursday, August 23, 2012
Updated: Thursday, August 23, 2012 16:08
Less than two weeks before I started my internship at The Times-Picayune this summer, I came across a New York Times article announcing that the paper would lay off 200 staff members and reduce printing to three days a week. From that point, I knew I would have an interesting experience at the paper.
I was the only intern at the West Bank bureau in Gretna. It felt a little intimidating, being surrounded by reporters who have been there for years. That feeling quickly diminished because everyone at the bureau was so welcoming.
Even though they knew their jobs were at stake, no one showed the slightest bit of anxiety. I was in a very productive atmosphere, making it easy for me to average about one story each day. They kept me so busy my first week, I almost forgot about the staff cuts that were happening soon.
On Monday, June 11, the bureau chief told me not to come in the next day because the West Bank staff would be at the main office on Howard Avenue to meet with editors. It made me nervous, despite not being affected. I came in the following Wednesday to two other people in the office—the bureau chief and the community news editor. I felt like I wasn’t in the position to ask what happened the day before, and I didn’t want to ask the wrong person what happened since I had no idea who lost their job. After about noon, reporters and photographers began trickling in.
For me, the impact of the staff cuts surfaced after watching one staff member walk in. It was this person’s birthday and the office was going out for lunch to celebrate. From the hugging and the tears, I knew this person wouldn’t have a place at the Times-Picayune in the fall.
Emotions were high the rest of the week. I can imagine how weird it was for the staff members who got laid off to come into work right after it happened. Almost like getting dumped and still having to see that ex-boyfriend or girlfriend every day.
Throughout the rest of my internship, I would get emails that were sent to every Times-Picayune email address from people saying their goodbyes and thanking co-workers for the time spent together.
All of these emails had a prominent theme - hope. Hope that there’s a better job waiting for them. Hope that this was all for the best. And hope that the Times-Picayune doesn’t screw things up even more.
Precious Esie is a mathematics senior and the editor of the Wolf Magazine. She can be reached at email@example.com