I’ve just wrapped up my first month at the New York Times. Unlike the first part of the fellowship, I spent most of my time in NYC based in the office, trying to come up with and push out stories that would be interesting for the International Desk (which is where I’m spending the NYT-leg of my fellowship).
Since my time in New York is shorter than my time in Boston, I tried to think of story ideas ahead of time and be able to start working on them immediately after arriving. However, once I had actually arrived I realized that most of my stories would not be interesting for a desk that literally covers news all over the world — how could my story on a super-marginal protest movement be more interesting than a story on a coup in Venezuela, or on the Taliban negotiating with Moscow?
The experience so far has really expanded my horizons. I feel much braver taking on stories that are beyond my usual comfort range. I’m currently planning stories on the female Kurdish fighters coming back home after the end of the conflict in Syria, and a Europe-wide political movement that is teaming up with Bernie Sanders to implement a radical solution to climate change. I never would have considered doing these stories if I hadn’t spent time I have so far at the International Desk, being able to see how stories are selected, written and told to ensure the understanding of the widest possible audience.