Many people have a romantic vision of what a writer is supposed to look like. Part of this vision includes what someone is doing when they are engaged in the act of writing. --- They see a man alone in a room with a large desk against the wall. They see this man sitting down in his chair––banging away on his computer or typewriter or writing by hand. They
imagine this room to be completely silent––the sort of silence conducive to hours of heavy concentration. I found out on my first day at the Santa Fe Reporter that the environment at a newspaper is very different from what people imagine.
Working at SFR is a collaborative process right from the start––it is not a solitary one. Even as an intern, I have a copy editor checking my work. He’s making sure that the information I’m uploading to the paper is correct, and he’s also checking to see if my sentences are grammatically sound. I am in the same room as the other interns, the arts and culture editor and the copy editor. The sounds of clattering keyboards, phone call conversations, music playing and the consumption of potato chips make up just part of the acoustics of the room that we all share.
My job is to upload current events onto the Internet. I do this while everyone else simultaneously works on their respective parts of the paper. This creates a contrasting experience to my personal vision of the writers’ process. Instead of feeling like I usually do when I sit down to write––which is that it’s a lonesome enterprise. I feel at SFR like I’m part of a team––part of a living organism that is in constant forward motion.
The interesting thing about a newspaper is that it’s a process that never really ends. When an article is finished, work for the next one starts immediately. This week’s issue of SFR comes out, while simultaneously everyone is scurrying to finish their work for the following issue in order to meet the deadline.
After just spending one week in the office, this perpetual output of new material seems like a high pressure but gratifying experience.
Since working at a newspaper is an ongoing process, it allows for the individual writing the articles to evolve and improve their work––so keep an eye out for yours truly and fellow culture intern Padraic O’Neil’s work.