Posts tagged columbia journalism school

Ten years ago: Voluntary poverty in New York City

This post is part of a series of stories and articles I wrote exactly ten years ago, on this day in 2003. This one’s a feature article based on some time I spent visiting and helping out at the Catholic Worker hospitality house in New York. For more stories in the series, click here. 30th April 2003 A young Japanese woman with purple hair tripped along First Street, clutching to her chest all the books that she couldn’t fit in her fashionably miniscule backpack. A graffiti-covered computer keyboard dangled cryptically from… Read More

Ten years ago: Tom Cornell profile

This post is part of a series in which I publish stories and articles I wrote exactly ten years ago. This one is a profile I wrote at Columbia Journalism School of Catholic peace activist Tom Cornell. For more stories in the series, click here. December 1, 2002 It’s hard to know what gives Tom Cornell more pride – the time the Pope invited him to read the gospel in front of 40,000 people at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, or the time he was arrested in Washington D.C. for trying… Read More

Ten years ago: A Call for Peace

When Terry Rockefeller heard that the World Trade Center had collapsed, she had no idea her younger sister Laura was inside. All she knew was that Laura was working in New York on Tuesday and Wednesday before coming to visit her in Boston on Thursday. As a freelance conference hostess, Laura could have been assigned to any hotel or restaurant in New York. Rockefeller had been leaving angry messages on her sister’s answering machine all day, wanting to find out where Laura was and if her travel plans would be affected. Then a little before 5 p.m., she got the call. Laura had been working at Windows on the World, on the top floor of the north tower.

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Ten years ago: United we Stand?

This is an article I wrote 10 years ago today, when I was just starting my journalism master’s degree at Columbia University. Each of us was assigned a New York neighbourhood as our “beat” – mine was Crown Heights in Brooklyn. I went out there and interviewed people on Eastern Parkway about their reactions to the upcoming one-year anniversary of the September 11th attacks, and discovered that their views were more nuanced than the flag-waving sentiment engulfing much of the nation at the time. It’s an article that means a… Read More

What were you doing ten years ago?

It’s exactly ten years ago that I took the first serious step towards my dream of becoming a writer. I’d written before that, of course – a few short stories, a chapter or two of a novel. But I didn’t really believe that I could be a writer, and so everything was half-done, squeezed in between the other events of my life, a hobby more than a way of life. Ten years ago, I decided to get serious. I quit the high-paid, high-status corporate banking job that had always made… Read More

Media hoaxes and churnalism

Greg Watts just linked to an interesting article in the Financial Times about the recent spate of media hoaxes, like a boy supposedly trapped in a balloon and a fake US Chamber of Commerce press conference on climate change, and the wider questions of media credibility. For me, the hoaxes are definitely a symptom of something wider, and not as worrying as the use of reheated press releases. One of the most revealing exercises we did at journalism school was reading The New York Times from cover to cover and… Read More

New York, New York

I had a wonderful trip to New York. The book-related reasons to go were to sign copies at the Columbia Alumni Book Fair and to give a speech at the Jack Kerouac Literary Group, both of which went very well. Outside of the scheduled events, it was great to spend some time in New York City, where I lived for six years before moving back to the UK in 2006. I managed to catch up with friends from my various incarnations:  a corporate banker at Citigroup, a student at Columbia… Read More