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TV news meets a New York Minute

by Amrita Tripathi
Saturday , October 27, 2012 at 13 : 31

It's hard to stand still in this city, buzzing as it is with a jolt of live adrenaline. And while I aim to be purposeful as the rest of them, it's a tough gig being a reporter slash producer, doing her own camera, while trying to break in. Running around to stay in the same place is what it often feels like for a journalist. The lone ranger nature of the foreign correspondent gig, is possibly its biggest drawback, though at least the title and location make up for it!

This is New York after all though, so take all the pontificating with a massive grain of salt. In fact, being part of an election tour to Hofstra University, to watch the second presidential debate let me see quite clearly, that I'm not alone. Most of the foreign press contingent feel exactly the same way there was in fact just one journalist in our group who had his own office, and he must have been amused at how we all marvelled at that!

It's a sublimation of the ego, I told a friend just today going from a high-profile job to one where you're doing a lot more on the ground, behind the scenes running around to stay in the same place. By which I mean you're doubling down on contacts, trying to gain access in a place where you're a relative unknown (as well as the organisation, unlike the well-established press outlet with, let's face it, more resources). But this is New York, after all! And that does make up for a lot.

The glitz and glamour and adrenaline of TV news are something else altogether it has to be felt to be believed but it's not all fun and games, I feel I must warn the young 'uns lining up for a shot at the big time. A lot of interns have come up to me in the past, because they want to start anchoring. Just like that, from the get go. It's important to be kind but explain how it really works. I should add, they came up to me when I was in India, if they were coming up to me here, I would be asking if they know how to handle a camera or want to help me carry a tripod. Which is to say, it's not all fun and games, kids. It can be a pretty tough gig, breaking into a new beat. And of course re-inventing the wheel, that's for each reporter to do ...start afresh and start reaching out to new contacts, possible sources, and more. This being New York, there's no dearth of people to reach out to, and everyone has stars in their eyes about this city. Gotta love the attitude.

The change in pace of Washington DC hit me acutely this past weekend, and what a sense of relief to know that there are oases of calm (and power!) out there. I had a lovely tour of Capitol Hill, and got to see the rotunda as well as the statue room.

Life on The Hill

I also hit the Newseum, as any self-respecting news junkie must, and checked out a couple of fabulous exhibits, including this one...That's a real piece of the Berlin Wall, right there:

Fall of the Berlin Wall: Concrete History

And there was the Unabomber cabin, that I went up to see in the FBI exhibit, but the cabin gave me goosebumps, very creepy.

Other highlights included the short film on campaign ads through the ages, and the rest of the Election exhibit fabulous stuff. Maybe the best part? Their archives you have original newspapers from the past few hundred years! Protected by glass, so a large number are on display, and some of them in e-archive form. Fascinating stuff! Makes me want to petition for something similar back home.

So DC was good to me how can you not fall in love with a place that boasts foliage and weather like this?

View from the Newseum

The Trees of Happiness

But getting back to New York felt dare I say it like coming home. And I found myself sucked right back into the newscycle, heading to the courtroom on Pearl Street, to hear the Rajat Gupta hearing. Thump! Back to reality.

Day of Judgement: Rajat Gupta Sentenced to Prison


More about Amrita Tripathi

Amrita Tripathi is a news anchor with CNN-IBN, and also doubles up as Health and Books Editor. An MA in Philosophy from St Stephen's College, Delhi University, she has also taught a few undergraduate classes at her alma mater, informally! When she is not tracking health issues, Amrita is busy chasing the literary dream. Her debut novel Broken News was published in 2010. Before joining CNN-IBN, Amrita worked with The Indian Express.

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