Gail Collins Explains It All

1119collins2.jpgWe just had our bitter, whiskey- and bile- filled heart warmed by an interview by an aspiring high school journalist with New York Times columnist/ex-editorial page editor Gail Collins. Here, Collins explains how she ended up at the helm of the NYT‘s ed board:

How did you get to The New York Times?

My whole game plan was to write what I like and write a lot. I got to New York by starting to write for the Times Connecticut section, which I really enjoyed. They offered me a job as a copy editor there. The woman who had the job called and said not to take it because they never promote copy editors because it’s hard to find them. I called United Press International instead and wound up covering business there for really complicated reasons.

Then I went to the New York Daily News as a business writer, and I got this really weird job to cover the Statue of Liberty’s 100-year birthday. My main job was each week to find someone from a different ethnic group who was doing something for the celebration. By the end, after six months, it was a real challenge. In the process, I found my huge story. There were these workmen fixing the face and crown of the statue, and they had no bathroom so they were peeing over the side. I wrote the story and they put it on the cover.

They offered me a job as a columnist after loving that story. Then they said I could do it for three months (until another woman comes) or write for another section of the paper. The other woman never came, so I got the permanent position. When they had this huge strike that lasted forever, I was hired by New York Newsday, and specialized in state and city politics.

One day the Times called and asked if I wanted to write about New York City. They offered me a column during the election and I took it, figuring they would let me keep it at the end. When the editor moved downstairs, I got the position of editor.

Gotta say, the HS student got a good interview.