Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

A bite of the big apple: What did we learn in NYC?

Krysteana Scribner | The Free Press

Posted on March 21, 2016 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

By Nicholas Beauchesne

This past weekend, nine members of the Free Press staff spent four days and three nights in New York City. Attendees at the College Media Association (CMA) conference, this trip gave us all a chance to sit in on presentations from professionals across the vast spectrum of careers in the fields of media and journalism. As impactful as the conference was though, the experiences that we shared as a staff and as friends will be something that will last twice as long as any of the classes we attended.

The Manhattan in Times Square, a 22 story structure owned and operated by some conglomerate out of Qatar, was our home for the trip. Four blocks from Central Park in one direction and four in the other from the heart of Times Square, we found ourselves in the thick of it, so to speak. Lights flashed and horns honked at every hour; panhandlers hustled our community editor into paying five dollars for a CD and men dressed in diapers with terrifyingly realistic baby-face masks shook rattles for quarters: we were a long way from Gorham…and it was great.

The most memorable of the many highlights of this trip, for me, was the four mile walk we took from the Manhattan down to One World Trade. This excursion led us past the Flatiron and Empire State buildings, through Soho and Greenwich Village, down to the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere, a building that soars a fitting 1,776 feet to the top of the New York skyline, rising from area where the twin towers fell 15 years ago. The building is adjacent to two reflecting pools that rest in the footprints of the two buildings that formerly stood there.

We arrived at One World Trade just as the sun had finished setting. Nightfall enveloped the 9/11 memorial, adding to the weight of the experience. I will never forget the feeling I had upon staring into those pools. Overwhelmed by emotion, our group became quiet, somber and reflective. Some were brought to the point of tears as the impact of the site and the reverberations of that dark day came rushing back.

As heavy as the memorial was, the tower, stretching skyward, reminded me that the worst moments can be overcome with the right resolve. Our country and this city have risen up since 9/11. Yes, things are not the same since that day. Some things have changed for the better, others have changed for the worse; but New York City, and specifically One World Trade, remains the symbol for what makes our country great.

Sharing this experience, as well as many others, with the Free Press team has brought us closer together. By the end of our trip, when we began the six hour ride back to Maine, the nine of us had become so much closer than we were when we first got on the bus in Portland Saturday morning.

I remember veterans of the NYC trip saying that things change after going to the New York conference. “You get to know each other on a different level.” This is certainly true. The group that went down to New York with is no longer just a collection of coworkers. We are now people of a shared experience, and are all far closer as a result.

Much was learned by all of us at the paper during the CMA conference, and we hope that our work from here forward will reflect the knowledge and skills attained there. I think that they will. Something else though that I believe will reflect itself in the Free Press from here on will be the closeness that this trip created.