Natoria Carey

“It feels important to be on the front lines of all the action and all the breaking news,” said Natoria Carey a few days after Super Tuesday and the U.S. President’s State of the Union address and just a month into her new job at The New York Times, where she’s an operations manager assigned to the Politics and Metro desks. 

That means anything related to logistics falls on her plate, from budgets and timecards, to making sure the 30-plus journalists on her teams are safe and accounted for, to overseeing the buildout of The Times’ onsite newsrooms for the Republican and Democratic parties’ national conventions in Milwaukee and Chicago this summer. 

“I keep track of where my reporters and writers are,” she said. “They send me updates with their beat notes about what they’re reporting on, what’s going on for the week.” 

“Right now I am planning for the RNC and the DNC. I have to have my staff set up with their press passes, their credentials. I have to make sure the spaces are big enough for the writers and editors to do their work.” 

The aspiring writer and devoted reader joined The Times in 2021 as executive assistant and office manager for the global head of licensing. She saw the opening on the political desk as an opportunity to achieve her next career goal, to “get closer to the writing that The New York Times does.”

The Queens, New York, native, a member of the Class of 2014, said she chose Russell Sage College when she was considering whether to study writing, theater, or science. Sage offered all three plus had a close-knit community of students from New York City. 

While Carey ultimately picked an English, Writing, and Culture major (then known as Writing and Contemporary Thought), she still performed with the Theatre Institute at Sage and was able to take a range of classes that reflected her diverse interests. 

“I took law classes, sociology classes, I took management and leadership classes with Mary Ellen Tedesco, and other great professors,” she said. “And I took horror film and fiction classes, psychology, and colonialism classes. A lot of those classes also helped shape who I am, because the more I read, the more I become aware.”

Sage’s general education program — now called the RSC Thread — was particularly influential. It’s a series of three interdisciplinary classes that every RSC student takes, culminating in a collaborative and substantial service project.

“One semester you had a business professor teaching it, and the next you had a lawyer teaching, and it was different perspectives,” she said. 

Then there was the professional preparation: “It helped me present myself better in interviews and talking to shareholders and writers.” she continued. “You’re gonna work with so many different people’s personalities. What that class really taught me is, know your stuff down to a T, present really well, and collaborate with people, because people are what you need to get the job done.”

Carey doesn’t get a lot of down time, but when she does, she takes classes to continue to build her own writing portfolio. She’s experimented with poetry and personal essays and just finished a playwriting class. “That’s part of my process in in figuring out what kind of writer I want to be.” 

And, like many of us, she also likes to take a break with The New York Times games.

“I love Connections! It makes me feel really smart, and I work with a lot of the people in games. They’re on the same floor. I will walk over sometimes, and I’m like, ‘Today’s puzzle …You made me feel really smart today. I appreciate that!’ I don’t do Wordle, I don’t do Spelling Bee, but Connections keeps me sharp every day!”

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