2011 May 31
The Assistant Files, Vol. 13: Alainna Lexie Beddie, WSJ.'s Deborah Needleman
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How do you predict WSJ. will continue to evolve?
What could you see Deborah doing as a second (or third.. or fourth..) career down the line?
I wish Deborah would staff and run domino: the sequel, although I don’t think she has any interest in doing that. I hope she doesn’t leave WSJ. because I don’t want to leave WSJ. I can’t imagine being here without her at the helm. So many people adored her before she even became editor; I’m not sure they’d be happy to see her leave.
Is there an “expiration date” on your job?
In my interview, Deborah and I discussed a one- to two-year timeframe for the gig. Since I’ve started, we’ve discussed directions in which I can hopefully grow. She’s also given me a story to work on for Off Duty, which I’m slowly and carefully tackling, and she loves that I’m working on web things for the mag. I’m always looking at my time here as a way for me to grow, not as an hourglass running out of sand.
What do you hope to do next?
Edit something. Anything! Whatever they want to give me, I’ll edit.
Let’s rewind for a moment: What were your childhood career aspirations?
My earliest dream job was teaching. I’d make my little brother sit through fake teaching lessons, and I never gave him an A. By the third grade, I was publishing my own newspaper—typewritten on colored paper poached from my parents, rolled up into a cylinder, and tied with a ribbon to look like a diploma—and delivering it to my parents' friends’ houses via bicycle at dusk. Then, I wanted to be Ernest Hemingway for most of middle and high school.
What would you love to dabble in at the Journal that you haven’t done yet?
I’d love to write little pieces or pitch heads and deks. Those things won’t get me a byline or a bigger paycheck, but it would feel great to eventually contribute something to which Deborah or other editors respond, “That’s great! Let’s run it.” I get to write text for the slideshows we publish on the web, and it’s a first step in the right direction.
And now, the future: What would be your absolute dream gig, 20 years from now?
I want to be in New York working in this industry, but I’m not sure where I fit best. Part of me wants to stick with web, and another part of me wants to get heavy into layout. Another part of me wants to assign and read and edit and cut stories all day. I guess I want to be Deborah and do it all. Or maybe I want to own a food truck. Who knows?
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