(My Middle East)

77 days with a journalist, Lebanon, and a list of non sequiturs

1st day at the The Daily Star

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Today was my first day at work and as expected and despite apprehension, it was decidedly anti-climactic. I was fortunately surprised to find a kind taxi driver (or ‘servíce‘ because we picked up other passengers) who didn’t try and hustle me for money, and I got to The Daily Star on time.

Offices at The Daily Star (not my picture)

Offices at The Daily Star (not my picture)

The Daily Star itself was almost exactly what I had expected. The offices are slightly dark and run down and maybe a little cramped, but the news room had a great atmosphere and was full of activity. In particular there was Osama, an older man who spoke English French and Arabic who has an interesting sense of humor and looked to be in charge of the news room or something close to that.

After getting a brief tour, I was introduced to Mirella Hodeib who I will be working for for the time being. Mirella is in charge of the themed page, page 6, which runs AP briefs on a different topic each day. Tomorrow’s is science and technology, so I scavenged an aggregator called manslink, which pulled together the latest news wire stories based on search word. After 3 hours I pulled together 5-6 stories for tomorrows page, which included: the largest ever international space station, a 4 million year old sloth found and something about genetics hair-loss and mice. Not exactly thrilling, but its work, and I get the feeling that things will get more exciting as I go on. And hey it’s just the first day. Mirella told me tomorrow I might get a story for the business section which could be good.

I wrote this from a cafe called Spoon right across from The Daily Star. Spoon serves American and Italian cuisine like most of the cafes in Gemayze. Theres much more French spoken over here as well. So today I eat a turkey sandwich and a basket of fries (hows that for middle eastern food?). I’m still trying to figure out the food, but I’ve found in general its difficult to eat really cheap, 12.50 for a turkey sandwich, fries and a coke is pretty much the same as american prices. I’m going to have to start trying more restaurants in Hamra to compare, and find something economical.


Written by stephenddockery

May 26, 2009 at 5:25 pm

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