Observing in the Workplace

21 04 2009

This past week at the Washingtonpost.com I continued editing more videos for the OnLeadership site. I completed the edits for the Kevin Martin Interview that we did two weeks ago at the Aspen Institute. Kevin Martin is the former FCC chairman under the Bush Administration and played a major role in the switch over to digital cable, that has recently been pushed back. The interview will be published on Wednesday, April 23rd.

This week our Interactivity team also met with the publisher of the Washington Post–she is the person who ultimately makes all of the decisions about what gets published and where to focus for both the printed version of the Post and the online section. The meeting was interesting for me because I got to see how come of my co-workers responded to someone of such high power. Some were very candid about how they thought we should proceed, others were more reserved. I think what was most interesting for me was to see how she reacted to each person. What I learned was that she appreciated the candid advice, and certainly gave him more respect for how he approached her–even though she may not have totally agreed. It is little instances like these, where I see how muc I have learned and will be able to take away from my internship at the Washingtonpost.com. I think that I not only learned a lot of things relative to what I am studying–visual media, but also how people and different matters operate in such a big corporation.

I think that it took me some time to realize that these smaller things, although they seem unimportant, can be beneficial to me in the long run.

I only have two more weeks at the Washingtonpost.com, and I’m really going to try and gain all of the knowledge I can–and take it with me. Looking back at my blog posts, I have also realized that it really helps to write all of your experiences down. Even if it’s not for someone else to read, I’d strongly advise for everyone to keep their own Job or internship journal. I am sure that it will be useful some day.


Intern to the Rescue

14 04 2009

When I left the Washington Post offices this past Friday I felt most accomplished. In all of my time there, I never felt more depended on than this week. It’s a great feeling to be needed, but also a great responsibility.

In a group that is powered by 7 staff members and two intern on a day-to-day basis, we found ourselves, for a majority of the day, only down to two. My co-worker, Andrea and I were left to tend to the everyday tasks that are done to run the Interactivity (blogs/panel sites) section of the Washington Post.com. On Wednesday, I was prepared for what I may be up against, and trained briefly on how some of the home page and section front boxes are updated, but I was still nervous. Knowing that with one html coding error I could blow up the entire front page of the post.com, I feared not only that I would disappoint my co-workers, but that they would lose their faith in what I am capable of doing. However, feeling a little put back after last week, I knew that I had something to prove.

I can honestly say that Friday couldn’t have gone any better. Our managing editor of Interactivity even complemented me on a great day’s work–which he rarely does, especially to any interns!

In all of my time at the Post, I have never felt more challenged, but also never more accomplished. This internship has really taught me a lot– to be accountable, to learn everything that I can while I am there, and to never back down, even when something is challenging. I know now that I will never be able to progress if I’m not willing to put in the time to learn. This is why I would always encourage people to seek out internships that are challenging–don’t ever settle for the easy way out. I know that I will be much more prepared in my future internships and jobs because of my internship at the Post. And to think–I’m only a freshman!

Jealousy in the Workplace

4 04 2009

I have been an intern at the Washingtonpost.com for about 7 months now. During those seven months I have had  countless unforgettable experiences and had the chance to meet a lot of great people. My boss(s) have always responded positively to my work and my work ethic, and they have always guided me in my work, but trusted me just the same. However, for the first time since being there, I felt a little jealous towards our other intern who just started in Januray. I have been working on the video interviews at the Post.com for most of my time there, but this past weekend she was asked to go to NY for a last-minute video shoot.

Jealousy is the worst, non-cathartic emotion to have. And although it made me temporarily feel sorry for myself, it made me determined to work harder. I am only a freshman, and she’s a senior, a friend told me–but that is no excuse I will ever let myself use. I think that is an important thing for anyone to have. No matter how old you are or how experienced you may be, in the end, hard work and determination will always persevere. I will take this experience with me as I continue to endeavor on other internships and jobs.

Chances are, especially in today’s market, there will continue to be fierce competition. But that is nothing this generation isn’t used to. The only thing we could do is learn from every experience we have and take it with us. I never believed in the term “forgive and forget” because every experience we have makes us the people we are.

Plus>> A link to the latest piece I contributed to, “Twittering CEOs”: http://views.washingtonpost.com/leadership/leadership_playlist/2009/04/twittering-leaders-you-should-follow.html

Never Far Away from the Office

21 03 2009

I was back at the Post.com since spring break–and I can honestly say, it felt like I never left. I find it funny that no matter how far away I am, the wonderful world of web and e-mail always keeps me close. I felt almost guilty for leaving last week to go home for break, because I don’t see my time at the Post like an internship. It is, ultimately, a job to me. And it’s not just on Wednesdays and Fridays. I knew I wanted to be treated like co-worker and not like an intern, so I don’t mind taking the responsibilities that come along with that–even if it does mean waking up early on spring break to respond to e-mails, check in at the office, and continue working on the projects I had been assigned.

This week I worked on something new. I learned how to produce Washington Post’s live online discussions. While it is a very complex and sometimes stressful process, I really liked working at a fast-pace and see something turnover so quickly in return. I also really liked interacting with the users of the site as well as some of the columnists and special guests at the Post. The Washingtonpost.com has an entire section devoted to Live Discussions where a variety of topics are posted each week and then users can send in their questions. After going through the questions, I do a few grammatical edits and then pass them on to the host who  answers them. Sometimes users ask followup questions. Some chats are busier than others. For instance, all of the NCAA basketball chats were very busy this week, whil the chat about fantasy baseball was a little slow (sorry, I have a little sports bias). So far, I really like being involved as a producer of these live discussions. If you have the chance, participate! I’ll keep you updated if there are any good ones coming up.

In addition, here is the link to my John Thompson Sr. video as promised. It was featured on the homepage this week, and may even get the top spot in the player this weekend!

Next week I’ll be visiting the Aspen Institute where we will tape two more guest for our Leadership video series. Stay tuned for links 🙂

Til’ then…Happy Spring!

The Office Meeting: You Can Make a Difference, too!

7 03 2009

One of my favorite parts about working at the Washington Post.com as an intern is that I always feel included. I’m never treated like an intern–always like an employee. This week at the Post, I spent a lot of my time in meetings. They were meetings of all different sizes, with all different people, and on a variety of topics. I often found myself asking, “How does anything get done in the working world when all people do is sit around a desk and talk?” However, at the end of the week I realized how important each one of these meetings were to the overall success of the business.

The meetings ranged from one-on-one conferences about a video segment I was working on. There was also a team meeting where the seven people from my team, Interactivity talked about what we were working on and if we were encountering any “roadblocks.” There was also an “All-editorial” meeting that nearly fifty people that work on the main washingtonpost.com page attended. This meeting was particularly interesting because the managing editor of the Washington Post company was there addressing many of the issues that are going on with the merger. (Currently, the Washington Post (print edition) and the Washingtonpost.com are housed in separate buildings. Dot com is in a very modern office in Arlington while the newspaper offices are downtown. To save money in the economic downturn, the two are now merging into the downtown offices. Many people are fearful of losing their jobs and about the move in general.)

From my experiences this past week, I realized how important these meetings are–not only for the success of the company, but for me as an intern. I think that being a part of these meetings is helping me develop an understanding of how the media world, and any business works and functions. When you’re at your internship don’t be afraid to ask to be involved. Maybe the content doesn’t exactly pertain to you, but it’s a great learning experience. And you never know, you may have something interesting to contribute, too! Oftentimes, the editors and producers will ask my opinion especially when they are talking about our generation or when they are trying to target younger audiences. (And they always want our help when it comes to technology!) So stick your nose in, get involved, and don’t be afraid to contribute!

Well I’m off to spring break! But look for my next post on March 20th. And on March 18th visit http://views.washingtonpost.com/leadership/ to see my newest video featuring John Thompson Sr. just in time for March Madness!

Until next time…

Fear of the Phone

21 02 2009

This week at the Washington Post, I began working on another OnLeadership video featuring former Georgetown basketball coach, John Thompson Sr. This has been one of my favorite videos in the series thus far, and I’m really excited for it to be featured on the site before March Madness in a few weeks. The most difficult part of editing these interviews is keeping them within a five-minute time limit. I had a particularly hard time cutting this video because Thompson said so many interesting things in the thirty-minute interview and therefore I wanted to keep it all!

I also worked on another project this week for our PostGlobal site. This weekend there will be a special feature on Guantanamo Bay. We were posing an essential question like we do every week that asked, “How should the U.S. handle inmates upon the closure of detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay?” With some suggestions from the managing editor at the Post, we compiled a list of twelve “experts” on the issues surrounding Gitmo. These people included professors who wrote books about Guantanamo, prominent figures in the non-profit sector that are both for and against the closing of the facility, and a family member of a 9/11 victim who is on the board for the World Trade Center memorial. I was able to find contacts for most of these people using my number one tool at work– Google.  While this isn’t always the easiest task, I was able to get enough useful information to begin contacting these people to see if they’d be interested in participating.

I’m always apprehensive about calling people on the phone. I know it’s not one of my best attributes, but in a world with text and e-mail, I think our generation has certainly lost a very useful skill in the professional world—and that is talking to people on the phone. I hate it. I avoid it like the plague. And when my supervisor asked me to help her start calling some of the people on our list, I’m sure my face turned a certain shade of white and green. I was so nervous, but I started dialing my first call and was pleasantly surprised when the woman agreed to participate. It was such a feeling of relief. The next few calls went well, and for the people I didn’t have a phone contact for, I reached out to through e-mail (many of who responded).

Looking back on it now, I’m glad that I had the task of having to call these people. It helped me to start overcoming my fear of the phone in the work setting.

In addition, I also attended another taping for our Leadership show this week. I had the opportunity to meet the CEO of the pharmaceutical giant, Pfizer. The interview went great and he had a lot of interesting things to say. I know that it will be another tough video to edit.


Back at the Post!

14 02 2009

It has been great being back at the Washintonpost.com for my second semester. This semester I will be working on similar projects—mostly video editing for OnLeadership and helping out with web development and editing. I also attend all of the taping of our interview series for OnLeadership where I get to meet a lot of prominent leaders in the United States. Some of the people I have met thus far include, Fred Smith (CEO of Fed EX), Marilyn Carlson Nelson (CEO of Carlson), Steven Fauci (prominent scientist), Ken Duberstein (Chief of Staff in the Reagan administration), Henry Paulson (Former Secretary of the Treasury), Maria Zuber (NASA leader) among others. Video Series.
I get to see the production of these video interviews from start to finish. I help search for new people to schedule, set up the studio for taping, and eventually go through the editing process. It is extremely rewarding to see something you have worked so hard on finally get published on the site with your name tagged under it.
Today I worked on moving some of the contents of “OnFaith” over to new web templates that we will hopefully be launching in early March. Currently, OnFaith and PostGlobal (two of the sites I work on) are hosted on older templates. We are in the process of giving both of these sites a face-lift modeled after our newer sites OnLeadership and TheLeague. This is a very time consuming and tedious task—but it’s a really exciting move for everyone.
One of my favorite parts about working at the Washingtonpost.com is that I have never been treated like an intern. They always include me in team meetings and always value my opinion. When I do give feedback, it is always taken into consideration. I also found that it is important to voice your opinion, even if they don’t take your idea seriously at the beginning, be persistent. My boss has noted once or twice that he admires how I don’t give into them. If I’m passionate about something happening, and I give a good, well-structured argument, more than once my boss has revisited the idea.