Editor’s note: As part of a Graham and Parks School annual project, two seventh-grade students joined the Harvard News Office staff for one week. This is what Jared Hughes and Helen Cowdrey had to say about their experience. Every student in Graham and Parks School, from 4-year-olds to sixth-graders, longs for the day when they will be in seventh grade and get to experience City Sites. For me it was no different. Every year there was at least one person in my class who had an older sibling in seventh grade, and my classmate would inform us about how much fun their brother or sister was having at City Sites.
Getting a good site is always the first issue. We filled out a very general survey about our interests but I suspect that assignments were random. I had always wanted to work at a restaurant, such as the Middle East or Bertucci’s, so when I got my assignment, at the Harvard News Office, I was somewhat disappointed, but mainly confused. “What exactly is Harvard News?” I wondered aloud. None of the teachers really answered my question; all I could get out of them was that it is a newspaper of some sort, and that it is one of the best sites.
When I first arrived at the Harvard News Office, I was really apprehensive. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t have a clear idea what I would be doing, or with whom I would be working. I was extremely nervous, especially while being introduced to everyone.
On the first day we didn’t do much, just some copyediting. On the second day we went on a student-led tour of Harvard Yard. Then we went back to the office and did more copyediting.
Things didn’t really get interesting until Wednesday, our third day at the site. Wednesday is Gazette production day, so everyone was frantically typing away and discussing headlines. We got away from the madness occurring at the office by going on a photo shoot with staff photographer Kris Snibbe. The shoot was a lot of fun. It wasn’t an assignment; we just went to Harvard Yard and took random photos. Then lunch was ordered from Bertucci’s for the entire office. It was an amazing amount of food.
On Thursday, we got to see our photos from Wednesday. At 11 a.m. we went to a “story meeting,” where story ideas are gone over and assignments handed out. Then we went to lunch with Kris and interviewed him. After lunch we took some more photos around Harvard Square.
On Friday, it was time to say goodbye. My week at Harvard News was truly enjoyable. The people, John Lenger, our supervisor, Kris, the photographer, and everyone else at the site were amazing and that was what made the experience fun.
City Sites is even more fun than it is rumored to be, and I hope that it keeps going for a long time. I also hope that Harvard News Office is still a site for as long as City Sites is running, so that many other students will have the chance to experience what I did.