A Student No Longer — The Moment I Realized I Was No Rookie Reporter

The 1993 Winter/Spring Legislative Gazette internship started off with a bang. My first night in Albany, as my roommate and I tried to return home from our first grocery shopping trip, what was rain when we left our basement apartment, turned to ice. Although we tried to make our way home slowly and safely, we ended up joining a multi-car pile-up. It was a “Cars on Ice” show.

Thankfully my roommate and I were OK and ready to begin what we hoped was an exciting internship to learn to be journalists.

Life at the Gazette was a stark difference from life at SUNY New Paltz. I truly believe I stopped being a student and entered the real world the day I walked through the doors of the Alfred E. Smith State Office Building and met my new boss Glenn Doty.

He didn’t treat us like students, rather real political reporters with serious jobs to do.

Within the first two-weeks of the job, as the rest of the team was leaving for the night, I remember Glenn pulling me aside and telling me he had an assignment for me as the woman’s issues beat reporter. There was an assemblywoman that called the Gazette and said she had a story to tell us and to send a reporter right away. So off I went through the underground passage to meet with Assemblywoman Earlene Hill.

I arrived at her office to a closed door, knocked, heard voices whispering, then a woman answered the door asking what I wanted. I introduced myself and mentioned the assemblywoman had requested I stop by that night. The door closed back on my face, I again heard whispers as I stood in the quiet hallway, then the door finally opened again and I was welcomed in. What happened next is what really made me realize I was no rookie reporter. I was meeting with a politician who had a very important story to tell, one that is sadly still an issue 25 years later – sexual harassment in the workplace.

As I interviewed Ms. Hill, my heart was skipping beats as she told me her story — a story that was an exclusive for The Legislative Gazette. Once the interview was over, I ran back to the office, as Glenn said he would wait for me to get back. I couldn’t wait to tell him what I had learned. Although she would not name names, I learned and broke the story that she had been verbally sexually harassed on three separate occasions by male colleagues. We ran the story first and once published, it took off like wildfire. It was picked up by The New York Times and ran on the front page (if I remember correct) crediting The Legislative Gazette as well as all other major news outlets. I was interviewed by local news media including an Albany radio show about my meeting with Ms. Hill. It was all very surreal.

And this was just the beginning of such an exciting first job in journalism where I was able to learn from the best of the best – Editor Glenn Doty and Professor Alan Chartock – and make friendships that last to this day.