2017-06-07 / Features

Half A Lifetime At The Gazette

I suppose I am a veteran of the Queens Gazette, having been here nearly 19 years. I started at 19 years old. My Father, being a regular reader of his local newspaper, would pick it up every week to read about all the local news in his community. I glanced one day at the help wanted ads looking for a part-time job, as I was a student at the time, and I found one for a telemarketer, part-time, no experience – sounded about right. So

I called, set up an interview and met with the Publisher, Tony Barsamian. Here I was, all of 19, on my first real interview. I was nervous to say the least, but I had a good interview and Tony hired me – not knowing what I was in for. Telemarketing isn’t the easiest job in the world, but I stuck with it and about 6 months later I was ushered into some administrative duties, basically learning on the job. A year or so later I became

Tony’s assistant, even getting my own business card. I was so excited!

I have learned so much on this job – from the basics of answering phone calls to computer skills, from proofreading to writing stories – to name a few things.

Being Tony’s assistant has been interesting to say the least; from watching him juggle three phone calls at a time; knowing what he wants before he even knows he needs it; interpreting his hieroglyphics, when not even he can understand what he wrote; translating what Tony actually means (“Tony-talk”) to new workers or interns. And having office bets on when he will actually come in (“Tony-time”). And where else can you say you get a free workout, climbing up and down 3 flights of stairs all day at a job?

I have overseen going from word processors – yes, even in the year 2000 – to Excel and other computer programs; helping in his social media, which I thoroughly enjoy, to helping with our newer magazine, the Queens Scene.

I get to cover local events, and have even met a celebrity or two, one being my childhood crush Donnie Wahlberg, who now stars in “Blue Bloods.”

Time has flown by. I have gone from an inexperienced teenager to a married publisher’s assistant within those 19 years. Happy Anniversary to the Queens Gazette and Publisher, Tony Barsamian!—Melissa Cipolla-Mennona

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