BBC BLOGS - The Editors

Tweet, tweet

Rome Hartman | 17:30 UK time, Wednesday, 25 February 2009

I'm not sure I can handle the pressure. Suddenly, Washington has gone crazy for Twitter.

Twitter logoIt seems that to occupy any position at all on the press or political landscape in this town, one must be "all thumbs"; constantly tapping out text messages from the mobile to let everyone you know (and many you don't) exactly what you're doing at any given moment.

Every day there's an article about another media luminary or administration official taking up "tweeting"; just this morning, the Washington Post has a story all about the members of Congress sending text tweets from inside the chamber during Barack Obama's speech to a joint session.

Now, I'm as tech-savvy as the next guy, and I completely get the way in which social networks like Twitter are changing the way information is shared around the world (remember how that great photo of the plane in the Hudson rocketed around the globe via Twitter?).

It's just that I'm not sure I really care to know in real time what the anchor of Meet the Press is having for breakfast, or just what the House chamber podium looks like from the seat of the junior Senator from Arkansas. And I'm sure that no one, not even my wife and kids (perhaps especially my wife and kids), are desperate to know what I'm doing all day long, in bursts 140 characters long.

So, don't look for tweets from me anytime soon. But if you must know, my lemon-poppyseed muffin this morning was delicious.

DC countdown

Rome Hartman | 10:35 UK time, Wednesday, 14 January 2009

A sure sign that we're getting close is the equipment. The hallways of the BBC's Washington News bureau are lined with open shipping cases, coiled wires and bits of electronic gear sticking out, as an extremely small but skilled team of engineers again transforms this newsgathering office into a production centre.

BBC World News America logoWhat is normally a small conference room is becoming a technical control room. The studio from which our World News America programme is broadcast is now being re-fitted to accommodate everything from Hardtalk to Newsnight as well.

And everyone from Huw Edwards and Matt Frei to camera and sound people are digging through their closets trying to find their warmest clothes, because they'll be spending many hours braving the elements on camera platforms and along parade routes. Dress in layers, folks.

The inauguration of an American president is a carefully scripted event, planned down to the minute. The US Constitution requires that Barack Obama be sworn in at precisely noon on 20 January, and so he shall be, like 43 others before him.

Barack ObamaBut there are several ways in which this time will be different from all the rest. The most obvious, of course, is that no one who looks like Barack Obama - and no one with anything like his story - has ever taken the oath.

And many believe that when it's over, more people will have witnessed this inauguration in person than any previous presidential swearing-in. Three million? Five million? Who knows? There will never be a precise count.

Extraordinary measures are being taken to accommodate - and control - the enormous crowds. Most of the bridges into DC will be closed to vehicles. The BBC bureau is located within the "no drive" zone...most of us will be walking here from wherever we live.

I know for sure that most spare bedrooms in most DC area homes are already spoken for. Ours certainly is; the daughter of a good friend asked weeks ago if she and one of her college chums could sleep in our guest room. Of course! That sort of thing is happening all over town.

It will be an exciting day. I just hope I can get to work!

Rome Hartman is executive producer of BBC World News America.

Proud

Rome Hartman | 09:55 UK time, Thursday, 6 November 2008

Are you familiar with the song by Sting, "An Englishman in New York?" This is the refrain: "Oh, I'm an alien, I'm a legal alien, I'm an Englishman in New York." Well, I'm an American in the BBC, and sometimes I do feel a bit like an alien. But yesterday, election day, I felt proud of both parts of that description...American citizen and BBC journalist.

BBC World News America logoI've always been proud to be an American, but never more than last night as I watched the returns come in and the candidates come out. Both John McCain and Barack Obama demonstrated enormous grace and honor, one in defeat and the other in victory, and it's hard not to cling to the hope that their supporters will live up to their calls for unity and common purpose.

There is enormous pride, too, in witnessing the long and still unfinished journey of racial progress in America. One of my earliest and most vivid memories is of my mother pointing out two water fountains side by side at the Dairy Queen in my Florida hometown, one with a sign over it marked "Whites" and the other "Colored." I was about five-years-old. She said something like "You see that, son? That's wrong, and it's going to change one day soon." So it did, and so it has. It's not over...not by a long shot. But still...

It was also a source of great pride to be part of the BBC last evening, and to watch so many people work so hard to get the story of a momentous day right and to tell it well. The BBC played a big part in bringing the sights and sounds and statistics of an historic day in America to people all around the world, and that's just a cool thing to have a chance to participate in.

Commercially funded

Rome Hartman | 09:43 UK time, Friday, 17 October 2008

Almost every time I post to The Editors, no matter what the topic, comments come in along this general line: "Why in the world is the BBC using money from the British licence fee payer to fund a programme aimed at Americans?" Those comments deserve an answer, and it's a very simple one: The entire programme budget for BBC World News America comes from BBC Worldwide, not the licence fee. The programme is made by BBC World News on behalf of Worldwide - and the channels which carry us run commercials to help pay our bills.

BBC World News America logoOf course we benefit tremendously from the global newsgathering apparatus of the BBC, and that apparatus is licence fee-funded. But BBC World News, one of the commercial channels on which our programme runs, also make a very big payment to BBC News each year to support that infrastructure.

And in my short time here, I've been very impressed by how careful the BBC is to make sure that the British licence fee payer is not paying for work that doesn't benefit them. For example, if Karen Allen does a story from Kenya for the News at Ten and we want to re-air that story on our programme, fair enough. More people get to see her great work, with no additional cost to anyone. But if we ask Karen to also do a live interview with Matt Frei to accompany and complement that story, we pay any extra costs (satellite time, etc) from our budget.

This is an important subject, and I hope I've been able to clear up any confusion.

Counting down

Rome Hartman | 16:30 UK time, Wednesday, 15 October 2008

For the entire year since our BBC World News America program was launched, we've been covering the American Presidential campaign.

BBC World News America logoThe first actual votes were cast just after New Year 2008...I'll never forget our desperate search for propane gas heaters to keep Matt Frei from freezing to death in the sub-zero temperatures as he presented the program from the grounds of the state capitol in Des Moines, Iowa.

Winter gave way to spring and then summer, and as you might have seen in Katty Kay's excellent report from New Hampshire this week, the autumn leaves are now turning. All along the way, we've tried to cover the campaign with accent and attitude, focusing less on the polls and the 'horserace' than on the ever-more-serious issues facing America and its citizens.

John McCain and Barack ObamaThe stakes for this election have always seemed incredibly high; both in America and around the world, people have long sensed that this is an historic 'inflection point' for America. But a year ago, many of us thought that the election might turn on the war in Iraq.

Over many months, the condition of the economy steadily crept to the fore, as it almost always does in American elections. But who could have predicted that the final weeks of the campaign would be conducted in the midst of a full-blown global financial crisis?

Both the McCain and Obama campaigns have struggled to keep pace with events, and to formulate serious responses to incredible fiscal and economic challenges. So have the news media...we've done our very best to make sense of confusing and frightening times.

As we count down to 4 November, we'll continue to bring a unique BBC perspective to both the political and economic stories in America. After election day, we'll be taking a serious look at the challenges and opportunities facing the winner. And then, on Inauguration Day, 20 January, we'll probably have propane heaters set up again, this time in Washington, to keep Matt from freezing as he tells the story of the 44th American President's procession to the White House.

First anniversary

Rome Hartman | 09:40 UK time, Wednesday, 1 October 2008

In the summer of 2007 I was hired by the BBC (after a long career at CBS News) to launch a new nightly news broadcast. The idea was fairly simple, and to my mind, elegant:

BBC World News America logo1) At the precise moment when Americans needed to know more and more about events and issues beyond their borders, they were less and less likely to find good coverage of the wider world on US television news networks.

2) The BBC was the perfect organisation to address that shortage with unparalleled global journalistic reach and an unrivalled reputation for smart, sophisticated, impartial coverage of international news.

Matt Frei and Katty Kay from BBC World News America websiteThus was BBC World News America born. Our first broadcast was exactly one year ago, on 1 October 2007, with BBC veteran Matt Frei in the anchor seat in Washington DC, correspondent Katty Kay delivering reports from the field, and a crack production team in DC and in London working night in and out to deliver the best of BBC journalism from around the globe to audiences watching on BBC America here in the US, BBC World News internationally, and the News Channel in the UK.

Our primary mission is to deliver strong international coverage to American viewers, and we're proud of how we've accomplished that in our first year, on stories as varied as the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the earthquake in China, and the global financial crisis.

We also attempt to offer a fresh and distinctive take on American stories, and we've been fortunate to have a great story to follow in our first 12 months: the US Presidential campaign. Matt and Katty know the election landscape better than most American reporters, and contributing analyst Ted Koppel has given us a fresh take and original insights all along the way.

The unique strengths of this proposition were evident a few days ago in our coverage of the much anticipated first presidential debate. Whereas US networks went straight to the spin room for pre-cooked claims of victory from campaign officials, we had live reaction to the substance of the debate from BBC correspondents in Baghdad, Moscow, Beijing and Kabul. These reporters skilfully conveyed just how engaged the rest of the world is in this election. Substance over spin.

We've also featured sharp and smart interviews with top newsmakers and analysts, developed signature franchises like First Person, in which people tell their own stories in their own words, and nurtured vital partnerships with other BBC programmes such as Newsnight, with whom we shared a prestigious Peabody award this year, for the wonderful "White Horse Village" films from China.

It has been a very rewarding first year. But it's only the beginning of what we intend to accomplish.

BBC on a bus and box road trip

Rome Hartman | 10:12 UK time, Friday, 12 September 2008

This must be the week for the BBC to paint its logo on very large objects and send them off on ambitious journeys. You've already heard from Jeremy Hillman about 'The BBC Box,' a shipping container that will be used as a very creative way of illustrating global commerce over the next twelve months. The box was loaded onto a container ship in Southampton on Monday. It has now left the port of Greenock near Glasgow and is heading for China with Scotch whisky as its first payload.

BBC BoxThe 'BBC Elections Bus' has also been sent on a 38 day journey across America, beginning in Los Angeles and ending in New York's Times Square. The bus is a project spearheaded by the BBC World Service, and includes journalists from every corner of the organisation: radio, language service, TV, and online.

I'm personally most looking forward to following what happens on the bus on the BBC News website. Two online journalists will be full-time bus riders; Jon Kelly will be blogging continuously throughout the journey, while Jennifer Copestake, a member of my World News America team, will be keeping a video diary of the trip.

BBC BusWhat's the point of the BBC Bus? It is NOT to follow the presidential candidates or chronicle the 'who's up, who's down" horserace aspects of the contest for the White House. It IS to find out what's on the minds of Americans in all parts of this huge country during a historic election season; to see what issues matter most to citizens of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico...to gauge the real impact of the economic slump and housing crisis on families in Oxford, Mississippi...to find out how people in the 'oil patch' of Texas are coping with - or profiting from - higher oil prices.

It's going to be a fascinating trip, so jump aboard.

NB. Thanks to those sharp eyes that noticed I spelt whisky the American way - 'whiskey' - mistake now corrected.

Audience engagement

Rome Hartman | 16:40 UK time, Monday, 8 September 2008

Americans have a long-standing reputation for being relatively disengaged from politics compared to citizens of other democracies. Just over half of voting-age Americans have cast ballots in recent presidential elections; that turnout rate is dramatically lower than many other nations.

BBC World News America logoIs there a chance that US citizens will buck that trend in two months' time, when they'll have the opportunity to choose between John McCain and Barack Obama? If the television viewing figures for the Democratic and Republican conventions are any indication, the answer is yes.

A record number of Americans watched the key moments of both conventions... the prime-time speeches of Barack Obama, John McCain, and Sarah Palin were each watched by about 38 million people in the US, across all networks. Our programme, BBC World News America, had a larger audience in America on the night that Sarah Palin addressed the Republican convention in St Paul than for any of our other programmes since we launched last October.

There was also a curious partisan or ideological twist to the audience figures. The Fox News cable network, which is widely - and correctly - perceived as the most 'Republican-friendly' of all the American television news networks, was the big TV ratings winner during last week's GOP convention in Minnesota. During the Democratic convention, on the other hand, Fox lagged well behind its competitors.

Whether these large convention audiences will translate into higher turnout come November remains to be seen; after all, 38 million people watching means that something like three-quarters of voting-age Americans still WEREN'T watching. But it has to be a good thing that America is more 'tuned in' to this campaign than past ones. And we'll do our best to make our coverage over the next eight weeks lively and smart enough to help keep it that way.

To cover or not to cover

Rome Hartman | 10:25 UK time, Tuesday, 5 August 2008

The programme that I produce - World News America - has as its primary mission to bring smart and sophisticated BBC coverage of international issues and events to an American audience.

bbcwordnewsamerica140x100.jpgBut we also aspire to offer distinctive coverage of stories inside America, and in the ten months since we launched the program, that has mainly meant covering Presidential politics.

Of course there's no shortage of political reporting in the US at the moment; frankly, it's more like a glut. So our effort, as I've said before, is to focus on the quality of our coverage rather than the quantity.

Last week provides an interesting example. We made a deliberate decision to steer clear of the whole flap over the McCain campaign ad comparing Obama to Britney and Paris, and the subsequent back-and-forth about whether Obama had or had not "played the race card."

Barack ObamaIt all struck me as much ado about nothing...campaigns and candidates cynically trying to throw each other off-stride, nothing at all to do with the really important problems facing the country; precisely the kind of stuff that has made so many Americans so fed up with our current politics.

Of course it got a huge amount of play in other US media, and when I picked up the Washington Post on Saturday and saw that it had devoted its entire editorial page to the disputes, I have to confess to wondering whether I had made a bad call, and missed a big story.

Then I read every one of the essays in the Post. All written by extremely knowledgeable and able Washington insiders, they focused exclusively on questions of campaign tactics. Had McCain rattled Obama? Had Obama made an "unforced error?" Had McCain gone too negative too fast? Who had the better week?

Those pieces - and the story in general - were no doubt lapped up by campaign junkies. But there wasn't a single mention of an issue for almost an entire week, and precious little discussion of the actual qualities and characteristics the next American President ought to have.

I absolutely love the story of this election, and I'm proud of our coverage so far. And, despite a few moments of doubt over my Saturday coffee, I'm glad we ignored the nonsense of last week.

US party season

Rome Hartman | 12:02 UK time, Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Much of the BBC is counting down to Beijing these days, and the opening of the Olympic Games. But here in Washington, we're counting down to Denver, and the beginning of the 2008 political convention season.

bbcwordnewsamerica140x100.jpgI covered my first US party convention 20 years ago. As I remember it, the emphasis was very much on that first word: party. It was the Republican Convention in 1988, and New Orleans was the host city.

Nominally, the business at hand was to install Vice President George HW Bush as the nominee, and to say goodbye to the man who even now remains the Republican hero, Ronald Reagan.

The GOP (Grand Old Party) managed that 'baton hand-off' reasonably well...well enough to launch Bush into the White House. But I honestly don't remember much of what happened at the podium that week. Instead, my memories are filled with music (I'm pretty sure I remember my wonderful CBS colleague Ed Bradley 'sitting in' with a band called Buckwheat Zydeco) and with food (shrimp 'po boys' from a place called Messina's...'debris' sandwiches from the legendary Mother's).

Don't get me wrong; we worked hard, but whether it was because of the Louisiana setting or simply being my first time, there has not been a convention since - and I've covered a bunch - that offered quite as much fun as that one.

Ronald ReaganIn less than a month, the BBC News contingent - including our World News America team - will be setting up shop in Denver, and then a week later in Minneapolis. Perhaps it's because the BBC deployment will be much more 'lean and mean' than in my old days at a US network, but I don't expect to do much partying or gourmet eating.

What I do expect is to have one hell of a story to cover - in both cities - and to work very hard to deliver a distinctive take on both party conventions to our audiences in American and around the world.

The media are much more focused on the Democratic convention at the moment, and it will be a fascinating thing to watch Barack Obama officially take the reins of his party.

But Minneapolis also offers a couple of fascinating storylines: what kind of a 'sendoff' will the GOP give to George W Bush?

And what kind of a reception will John McCain get from those in the Republican party who haven't always welcomed his maverick ways?

As always, what the BBC will be able to provide is not the most coverage...we can't compete with the endless hours the American cable news networks will offer...but hopefully the smartest coverage, from the perspective of what I like to call 'the friendly outsider with the slightly arched eyebrow.'

World News America will be led, as always, by Matt Frei and Katty Kay, who have been delivering incomparable political coverage all year long, and they'll be joined in Denver by Ted Koppel, one of the sharpest and most experienced journalists on the American scene.

We'll be working from sunup to well past sundown. But a guy's gotta eat, right? So if anyone knows where I can get a really good shrimp po' boy in Colorado or Minnesota, will you please drop me a line?

New partnership

Rome Hartman | 14:20 UK time, Thursday, 1 May 2008

For many years, the BBC has had a very important and productive partnership with public television stations in the United States. As you may have read in the last couple of days, that relationship is going to change over the next several months; what will NOT change is the simple fact that millions of Americans will still be able to see the work of BBC journalists around the world on their local public TV stations.

bbcwordnewsamerica140x100.jpgWe will simply have a different, very strong partner station, KCET in Los Angeles, the second-largest public television station in the US KCET will replace WLIW, one of several public stations in the New York area, which has been our partner for the last decade.

PBS, the Public Broadcasting System in America, is not a network in the traditional sense of CBS or NBC or ABC. There is no central network office directing or ordering local stations to run certain programmes at certain times. Each station is free to make its own daily schedule, from a large 'menu' of material. Larger PBS-affiliated stations often act in a 'lead' or 'sponsoring' role for programmes; either programmes they produce themselves, or programmes that they acquire via purchase and/or partnership.

That latter arrangement (a distribution partnership with WLIW) is the way in which BBC News programs have appeared on PBS stations across America since 1998. Beginning this Fall, KCET will be our new partner, and we're confident they'll be a very good one, working hard to see to it that strong daily BBC News bulletins air on strong public stations, in prime time slots. WLIW has decided to attempt to produce its own daily bulletin of international news, though that station doesn't currently have any newsgathering capacity of its own, and has not yet announced who its international partner might be.

Of course, the BBC DOES have an incredibly able and robust international newsgathering operation, AND we already HAVE a US-based nightly news program focusing on international events: BBC World News America, the program that I produce. We've been on the air for seven months now...airing in the US on the BBC America and BBC World News channels...and we're proud of what we've been able to accomplish, including winning a coveted Peabody award in our very early days. I'm convinced that the combination of this flagship US program, AND BBC News bulletins airing on PBS through a new partnership with a very strong station, will help the BBC to continue to grow - both in influence and audience - in America.

Inside the White House

Rome Hartman | 16:16 UK time, Friday, 15 February 2008

Physically, the White House never seems to change. I've been going there for more than 20 years, off and on, and I'm always struck by the constancy of the setting. The formal areas are quite grand, of course, and meticulously maintained.

bbcwordnewsamerica140x100.jpgOur interview with President Bush yesterday was conducted in a room simply called the library, on the lower level; it's one of several rooms on either side of what's called the cross-hallway - a long corridor that runs from one end of the White House to the other. These rooms are often used for interviews and functions. When Matt Frei interviewed Laura Bush a few months ago, it was conducted just across the hall.

The White House has a permanent staff of conservators, and there are always a few on hand during set-up for an interview. They're the only people who are permitted to touch or move any of the furniture or artwork in any of these rooms, and watching them work always reminds me that while presidents come and go, the White House and its contents belong to the people of America.

Of course the atmosphere and feel of the place do change, a lot, depending on who's sitting in the Oval Office. I first covered the White House during Ronald Reagan's presidency, as a young producer for CBS News, and I remember being struck at the time by the formality of the place, and by a sense that it operated at quite a slow pace (perhaps I was just impatient).

When George HW Bush took over from Reagan, the atmosphere changed overnight. It was as if the pulse rate jumped by about 15 beats per minute, even as the sense of focus diminished a bit.

Later, Bill Clinton's White House had an even less formal feel, and if an interview was set for 1pm, you wouldn't be at all surprised if it actually began at 2pm.

frei_bush203.jpgGeorge W Bush, on the other hand, has a well-deserved reputation for punctuality and rigour; for wanting events to happen just when they've been scheduled, and to happen just as they've been designed. Yesterday, he strode into the library ten minutes early, greeted all of us crisply, and was ready for the cameras to roll 30 seconds after sitting down.

I expected him to march right back out as soon as the cameras stopped and the obligatory 'grip and grin' photo had been taken by his official photographer. But he didn't. He lingered, talking to Matt and members of our crew for about five minutes, and then to Matt alone in the map room - another one of those rooms off the cross-hallway - for another 20. (By the way, it had been made clear by the president's staff that any conversations other than when the camera was rolling carried "an expectation of privacy;" that's another way of saying "off the record"). On any president's daily schedule, that extra 25 minutes is an eternity. The fact that George W Bush spent that much unscheduled time with us seemed to surprise even his own staff.

By this time next year, there will be a different feel to the place… a different occupant, atmosphere, and pace. But that staff of careful conservators will be the same.

Week one down...

Rome Hartman | 10:59 UK time, Monday, 8 October 2007

At the end of our first week on the air with a new program - BBC World News America - a few brief observations:

BBC World logo• I'm STILL having trouble with the differences in production lingo and acronyms between the BBC and my previous experience in American TV. My current favourite is a term I find in today's line-up: "FooC." Say it out loud, and it sounds sort of nasty. It's not... it's actually short for 'From Our Own Correspondent'. I've learned that's a venerable BBC radio program, and we're trying a television version of it.

• I've also learned that the confusion over slang runs in both directions. In a meeting earlier this week, I referred to a story as "a pig in a poke." Some of my British colleagues looked at me with the same blank stare they've been seeing from ME. You'll have to go to Google to find the actual derivation, but it basically means "it is what it is," or "there's nothing to be done about it." I guess the same can be said for our occasional linguistic dis-connects.

• A vignette from today: Our program's chief engineer and videotape engineer Charlie Wilson popped his head in and said "the roundtable discussion... it runs eight-and-a-half minutes." "Fine," was my response. Then he and I looked at each other and burst into laughter. That's because until recently, both Charlie and I worked for the same 30 minute-long American news broadcast, and we couldn't have gotten anything that ran even half that length into the broadcast at the point of a gun! Don't get me wrong... I love it, but it does take some getting used to producing a program with a different pace and at a different length.

• An American television critic commenting on our new program asked the following very good question in his column this week: "If 'BBC World News America' is intended to be world news for American audiences, why, we wonder, are metric measurements used? And if this is supposed to be news for American consumption, why does the very-British staff refer to "America" as if it were a distant Colonial outpost?" The answer is that though our program(me) IS aimed at an American audience, it also airs around the planet on BBC World, and we need and value BOTH sets of viewers.

• It's good to have a week under our belt, and I'm really proud of everyone who has worked so hard to make the new program happen, from the big bosses in London down to the pizza deliveryman (the receipts will show up on my next expense report). But as my old boss at CBS used to say, "You're only as good as your next program.

Confessions of a BBC rookie

Rome Hartman | 14:15 UK time, Monday, 24 September 2007

I’ve been working for the BBC for a grand total of three months. The main lesson I’ve learned so far is just how much MORE I have to learn about this place, so no broad conclusions will be found here… just a few observations from a BBC rookie.

Matt FreiI came to the BBC, after 24 years as a producer for CBS News in the US, to launch a new nightly news programme (beginning 1 October) presented from Washington DC by veteran BBC reporter Matt Frei and to air on BBC World, BBC America, and in the wee hours of the morning on News 24. That’s the introduction… here are the random observations:

• The BBC has a different word or phrase than American networks use to describe almost every function of television production, and it may yet drive me crazy. I’ve already used one: Matt’s not an anchorman, he’s a presenter. Fine. I’m good with that. But in the control room – sorry, gallery – when someone yells out OOV or DTL or cotted interview or v-point, they’re so far getting blank stares from me. I know, I don’t get to import my own lingo, and I’m learning, slowly… but it makes my head hurt.

• Somewhere between Peter Horrocks’ office and Peter Barron’s, I got hopelessly lost inside TV centre on my first visit. Had to find an exterior exit (thank God it wasn’t alarmed), walk through an alley to the street and back to the main entrance, and start over. Not a great way to make a first impression.

• I’ve become grateful for little things, like forceful speakers. Because I’m usually in Washington, I’m on a lot of speakerphone conference calls with London. It’s often hard to hear what people are saying, but it’s never hard to hear Jon Williams. Thanks, Jon.

• I don’t know if the BBC has ever put together into one book all of its personnel policies and its rules and regulations about working conditions; if it exists, I’ll bet I can’t lift it.

• I left the comfort of CBS and joined BBC News mainly because I was inspired by its great ambition – it really does aspire to be the best news organization in the world – and because its people from top to bottom work hard to make that aspiration real. I wanted to be part of that and part of them. Nothing in my vast three months’ experience has made me regret that choice. OK, maybe for a minute or two, when I was lost in that hallway.

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