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.
When I heard where I was headed for City Sites I was outraged – Harvard News Office – it seemed impossible that I was going to be stuck in an office all week. Especially when I heard other people’s assignments: Jenna was going to Mars Music and Phi was going to the Middle East, along with three others. I said to myself, “This week is going to be so boring.” How wrong was I?
It began to dawn on me that this site might be OK when my math teacher teased me by saying, “You’re at Harvard News? What, do they want that site to stop doing City Sites with us?”
I guess we should start at the beginning. At the Graham and Parks School, seventh-graders go to a specific workplace for a week and act as employees. This is called City Sites. This year, Helen Cowdrey and I were assigned to find out what it is like to work at the Harvard News Office.
Over the course of the first two days things were somewhat slow and there was not a lot to do, but not bad at all. The work was new to me and what I was doing was interesting. We spent time proofreading a section of the Harvard Guide (one of the office’s publications); we proofread an article about Nobel Prize winners who were Harvard professors; we checked dates and other facts but did not find much wrong.
Wednesday (May 15) was different; it was production day at the office and everyone was working hard on the Gazette – except for three lone figures with cameras. Helen, Kris Snibbe, a staff photographer, and I went to Harvard Yard from 11 a.m. to noon to do a photo shoot. Before we went out, Kris had Helen and me draw what we thought we would like to shoot as a lesson in perspective. After a comfortable lunch (which we got everyday) we had to remove a special section by hand from 237 newspapers, which was not as bad as it sounds.
On Thursday (May 16), we went to a story meeting, a meeting where the people from the office talk about the paper that just came out and plan the next week’s paper, Helen and I took photos of the meeting. After the meeting we finished the newspaper-separating job and headed out to take more pictures around Harvard and go to lunch. We brought the film to a photo shop and work was over for the day. On Friday (May 17), we worked on the perfection of the article you are now reading.
I had a fun week and learned a lot. I also found out – even though the idea would not have occurred to me before last week – that there are jobs in an office that can actually be fun. I guess I should not make assumptions about things I am not familiar with. I had a good time and would like to thank my teachers for placing me here and I especially want to thank John Lenger (the assistant director for publications) and his fellow staff for being so hospitable.