In the early spring of 2013 we worked in a building in a borough that looked across the street and the sidewalks into apartments. On the street there were taxis and shuttle vans, gleaming yellow and black in the light, and the trendy pedestrians checked their smartphones as they swiftly moved along the sidewalk. Inside the building on the 5th floor, editors engaged in combat on the Ping-Pong table and the racket they raised echoed down the halls. The halls of the 4th floor too were noisy and the chatty sounds of HuffPost Live fell on nearby ears as those such as Mike Tyson and Michael Moore would emerge from the studio, and the interns, stirred by the scent of celebrity, swarming and the producers marching and afterward the hall bare and quiet except for the lingering cries of failed attempts at an autograph and the stern warnings of a Man Named Roy.
The Huff was rich with talent; there were many verticals of high standing and beyond the site the competition was envious and jealous of our place on the media mountain. There was fighting on the interwebs and at night we could see the flashes of lightly researched scandal from the tabloid artillery. In the dark from the window of the 5th floor kitchen, it was like summer lightning, but the nights were cool, the training sessions were warm and there was not the feeling of a coming comment storm. Though one day the grand last flight of a Space Shuttle could be seen from those very windows. It was marvelous.
Sometimes from the nap rooms we heard editors bustling by the door and clacking MacBook Pros and sloshing coffees going past clutched by newly minted interns rushing after senior editors. There was much foot traffic during the weekday; associate editors in the halls with lifted boxes of Kind Bars in each hand and gray mailroom carts that carried letters to be left on desks and ignored by Danny Shea and Travis Donovan, and other carts with loads of beer covered in ice that moved slowly under the weight but were quickly swarmed and lightened. There were big shot visiting executives that smiled and roamed escorted by their nervous hosts, their immaculate suits accented by gleaming briefcases and scarves wrapped around their necks. To the east we could look across the newsroom and see a forest of editors and behind them Arianna's office. There was fighting for that office too, but it was not successful, and in the fall when the page views came in great waves any doubt from the outside melted away and the Com Score was there for all to see.
There were mists over the newsroom and strange odors in the building from time to time that many believed to emanate from Weird News, and from the carts splashed ice and beer in the halls and the editors were wet in their chinos; their laptops were wet and under their damp coats the two smartphones tucked into pockets, silver chrome cases heavy with the weight of the newest of thin, long iPhone 5 model, bulged forward so that the editors, passing in the hall, marched as though they were six months gone with child.
There were tech team members that passed by going very fast; usually they were carrying large drinks as they hurried to get back to their work as editors called out "MT Features! Features Damn you!" They splashed more liquid than the beer cart pushers even and if one of the tech team members in the back of a wandering gaggle was surrounded so thickly by product leads that you could not see his face but only the top of his head and his back, and if the group went especially fast, it was probably John Pavley. According to rumor he lived in the building and came out in this way nearly every day to see how things were going.
It was an exciting time, one which we'll look back on with fondness and admiration for the men and women who fought the battles and the wars and slogged through the halls, who; responded to emails as they walked, alternately winning Pulitzers and reporting on the latest wardrobe malfunction. The same bunch who waded into hurricanes without fear, into elections while seeking the truth, and onto the streets of America to get the pulse of a nation.