How to Get Ahead at the 'New York Times'

A reporter plays the old-fashioned card—moving up from clerk to Iraq war reporter.

By SHARE

Just when you thought that everything about careers and the workplace in our parents' generation had been obliterated and made obsolete by a trillion job board postings and a mountain of M.B.A.'s, here comes Campbell Robertson.

The New York Times reporter has covered the theater beat—from cast changes to courtroom dramas—and now he's going to Iraq.

I don't even need to spell out the lesson here. From the New York Observer:

Mr. Robertson's Times story is the one that supposedly doesn't happen anymore outside of an Arthur Gelb memoir. He started as a clerk, which depending on whom you ask is either a foot in the door or the first step toward podiatric surgery. But he pitched aggressively and pushed his way into [a] reporting program. His breakthrough job: lead writer for the now-defunct Boldface Names column in the Metro report.

"I just ignored what everybody was saying for so long," Mr. Robertson told The Observer in 2005, when he was promoted to lead the column. "It might have been wildly inadvisable."

Robertson seems to have made his name through elbow grease and unyielding drive. Turns out those things still work.

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