The New Yorker is a weekly magazine that has been printing since 1925. Today The New Yorker is considered by many to be the most influential magazine in the world, renowned for its in-depth reporting, political and cultural commentary, fiction, poetry, and humor.
I worked at The New Yorker from 2002 to 2008 in the Illustration, Art, Production, and Legal Departments at the main office and the Cartoon Bank in upstate New York.
In 2002, I was a junior at Parsons School of Design and jumped at a chance to take an Illustration Department internship for credit. All I had to do was send in my resume (previous experience being an internship at Tiger Beat Magazine) and show up for one interview. When I visited Condé Nast HR department to get my security clearance they told me I'd never have a future at The New Yorker because I was an illustration major. That was all the motivation I needed to devote myself completely to the position and continue to work for another 6 years.
I made a lot of copies and got to know the ins and outs of the mailroom and Fedex shipping schedule as an intern. After my semester was over I chose to stay on, not having been asked. I volunteered myself in the design department where I helped pick spot illustrations (by Otto Soglow) from the archive and occasionally gave directions to Tom Bachtell for Talk of the Town illustrations. I soaked up every experience and by the end of the summer I was an unofficial (unpaid) member of the design department.
In 2004 I found a job posting on Craigslist for the Cartoon Bank in Dobbs Ferry, 45 minutes north of Manhattan. The president of the Cartoon Bank told me I got the interview out of hundreds because I wrote, "I Can Start Today" in the subject line of my email.
Robert Mankoff and The Cartoon Bank were putting together an anthology of EVERY cartoon the magazine had ever published in its 80 years. It included 30 years+ that had never been digitized. It was my job to review scans of cartoons and make sure the captions, credits, and descriptions were correct from the earliest un-digitized magazines. I sat in a room of every issue of The New Yorker Magazine and checked each issue, page by page. I worked with 8 others, all with similar tasks. I was sent to the archive library back at The New Yorker headquarters to research cartoonists and find missing information with the help of the TNY librarians. It was laborious but amusing because I was reading cartoons all day, everyday. I read almost every cartoon from 1925-1945, at least once. The result was The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker which is still a lovely coffee table book.
I was invited to the book release party where a co-worker threatened that The New Yorker was going to digitize and scan every page of every issue for me to check. It wasn't a joke! I was invited back a year later to provide my same services. This time I had to check all of the Talk of the Town stories from the early issues with their digital files and scans. Again, I had to page through each issue of the magazine from the 1920's to 1950's by hand. This project became available to the public in a book and CD disc set called The Complete New Yorker. It was a monumental and ground breaking achievement that offered a huge amount of information in one place. You can read more about the project's significance in this New York Times article
By the end of 2006 I had a reputation for being able to organize and quickly sort through large amounts of images and information. I was asked to bring the data from the digital archive I helped create off of CDs and onto the internet, making it accessable to everyone. I worked quickly and in my downtime I helped my old friends in the design department to design the first interactive version of the website where the online archive was going.
The New Yorker website has since evolved and morphed into what you see today, but there are still traces of the design we created. Sadly after 2007 the publishing industry faced hard times and The New Yorker wasn't able to continue hiring freelancers like myself. I'm thankful for the learning experiences I gained at The New Yorker and all the talented people I worked with.