Untypical: A Day at Wall Street Journal
Everyone knows the saying “You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.” This old adage resonated immediately in my mind as my social media class and I, stepped onto the 7th floor of the Wall Street Journal. The receptionist was the first inclination, times had changed. While I expected, a stiff, suited perhaps older woman, we were greeted by a fashion-forward millennial like us, who was just glowing in happiness. It became clear as the glass lobby door that I’d prematurely judged the establishment, and this realization was crystal clear by the end of our tour.
As we sat in the lobby I looked around me. The building was an open-floor plan with the exception of the stairs in the middle surrounded by this beautiful blue glass panel that went from the 7th floor, down to all the other floors of Wall Street Journal. For a film major who has had the importance of aesthetic beat into her head, I immediately said I would love working here. We were greeted by our hosts, I watched the employees of WSJ walk up and down the hallways. I’d envisioned a scene similar to Citizen Kane’s newsroom, suited men working frantically to pitch, write, edit and finally print the newspaper. As we were brought in to the actual news meeting I knew this was nothing like I’d expected.
The editors started to trickle and call in via Skype. It was almost evenly spread between woman and men which I found to be amazing. Some editors preferred pen and paper, others preferred laptops and a few brought nothing at all, which I thought was strange. Even I, the student, brought a notebook lol. As the meeting began I saw the breakdown was going through the stories and figuring out which one were good, a bust, and which ones needed more “juice.” I learned new terminology such as reader behavior, and how important engaging your audience was. Surprisingly the meeting was short and sweet, and we were lead out to speak with the social media/audience engagement team after.
As we walked down a level to the “hub” as our hosts described it, I saw a stark contrast between the editors and the reporters/journalists. First thing I noticed everyone was cheerful even as they worked. The second important thing I noticed was the floor consisted predominately of female millennials and I felt this wave of empowerment wash over me. We continued on and met with the small social media team which consisted of about 5 people. Our hosts hit a few topics such as audio versions of the WSJ and its podcasts could be streamed via Google Home or Alexa. We also learned how WSJ is aiming to engage a younger demographic through the use of social media specifically Snapchat, and then we were done.
I believe the most impacting part of my experience was Erin, who is one of the social media audience engagers, and the person I will never forget. Erin is the statement “I love my job,” in the flesh, literally. It is her kind of happiness, which drives us upcoming creative journalists, producers, directors, screenwriters, filmmakers and so on in this industry to keep fighting for a slot in this media world. Erin’s happiness is the kind that motivates you to keep persisting regardless of what anyone says. I always said I want to work where I’m happy to go into work every single day as long as I know I’m doing something I love. Erin proved that my thought process was true. It was quite obvious that going to work to her everyday was fun, fun and more fun!! Who’d thought a trip to the Wall Street Journal could be so uplifting?