A Trip to the Tribune
There's plenty of perks to going to journalism school in a major city, even if the media industry is going through some tough times right now.
One such perk is the "field trips." These aren't your typical field trips: Chicago History Museum, Election Night rally at Grant Park, Washington D.C. for the Inauguration, and last week the Chicago Cultural Center and a photography history museum downtown. Not bad.
Being a history buff, I can't get enough of all this. Tonight was another memorable trip.
After touring the Sun-Times newsroom on Jan. 30, tonight I had the opportunity to tour the Chicago Tribune. It's funny, because when I first set foot in this city in September, and walked around the river, the parks, etc., I pointed to those two buildings and said they were two places I'd never get to see. For a kid from a small town, they just seemed so unattainable at the time, so out of reach. And since then, it's been amazing to see what a few connections can do.
Connections can generate a view like this:
That's from the 22nd floor of the Tribune Tower. Taken from my iPhone - still blown away by the quality. Here's what makes the picture really interesting: I'm standing on a balcony, hanging the camera over a ledge, scared out of my mind I'm going to drop it and just being extra careful, with wind swirling in the background. I only had one shot to get the pic; not only did I get it, but it turned out great.
I was at the Tribune for class. One of my instructors works there as a photo editor, so we met there for a tour, as well as the actual class in none other than the 1A Conference Room with historic editions like Nov. 5, 2008, on the walls around us. Pretty cool place.
It was great to be there, but the timing was a bit odd. As reported by United Press International just three days ago, the Tribune Co. announced it is going to cut 20 percent of jobs at the Chicago Tribune to save money as the recession continues. Granted, we went in the evening, and I don't know how busy the place usually is, but there were a lot of empty seats, and some very stressed faces.
I overheard one guy in sports on the phone with someone say, "I'm sorry, so sorry, just absolutely swamped tonight, five calls in a row, can't keep up." He was seated in an isolated area, and the only one on the phone, so I wonder if he was doing two or maybe three people's job.
Tough to see, real tough. But these are tough people too, you could tell, and it was interesting to see how professional they were going about their business. Well, except the guy I saw playing Yahoo Games.
Just, overall, a really fascinating excursion. A fantastic place to be, and history's all around you there, from the bricks outside the building (imported from famous buildings/landmarks around the world) to the walls inside.
Trips like these? Fantastic educational experiences. And they're a big reason why I came to Chicago in the first place. Hopefully, the Tribune Co. get things turned around soon, and the company can start growing again rather than cutting back; it's hard to see any business the way they are right now.