Journalism Student Decides New York Times Is Not for Her

Recent newsroom visit sealed the deal.

Hannah Gordon, a journalism and communications student at St. Bonaventure University in upstate New York, recently got a golden ticket of sorts. She was invited to come to New York and have her resume and clips reviewed by Richard Jones, a New York Times editor who directs the paper’s Student Journalism Institute.

Gordon has long dreamed of working at the paper. But as she writes post-visit, the quiet newsroom vibe and other factors changed her mind:

Finally, I met Margaret Sullivan, the public editor. She’s from my hometown, Lackawanna, and offered advice and other contacts for me to network with. Then she asked how I liked the Times – and I was honest.

I told her I was disappointed… I did not find the bustling, comradery-filled newsroom I imagined. My visit made me realize it was sterile journalism. While I longed to have my name and picture on its wall of Pulitzer Prize winners, I knew I wouldn’t fit in to the culture there. I knew I wouldn’t be happy in a place where I couldn’t fully express my creativity and quirkiness while still producing solid copy and respectable work every day. My talk with Ms. Sullivan helped me realize that.

Gordon will not lack for other options. As a profile this week on her school’s website outlines, she has written for The Buffalo News, USA Today and has the kind of initiative required to navigate today’s fractured media horizon:

“Hannah stops in to see me at the start of every semester to tell me what she’s been doing over the break. It is such a delight because she has so much energy, enthusiasm and passion for her work,” said Dr. Pauline Hoffmann, dean of the Jandoli School. “She studied for a semester in the Czech Republic. When she returned, she pitched the idea of telling stories of her time there to The Buffalo News. What a pleasure to open the paper and see stories I know were pitched by her.”

Gordon is set to graduate in December, a semester ahead of her student cycle’s normal schedule. And of course, she could always changed her mind vis-a-vis the NYT.
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